Lessons have been learnt. Back in 2014, some weeks after Brazil were thoroughly spanked by the Germans, Hollywood's summer sputtered to a halt after taking in $3.77 billion at the box office, down a full 22 percent from the previous year. It was the lowest-grossing summer since 2005; adjusting for inflation, it was the worst since 1992.
This year half the world is expected to tune in for the opening World Cup encounter between Russia and Saudi Arabia, on June 14th, so most of the season's big hitters have either been and gone or are biding their time. The big-splash counterprogrammers of 2014 – 22 Jump Street, say, or The Fault In Our Stars – have given way to smaller, opportunistic movies, including the hotly tipped horror Hereditary, the trippy temporal sci-fi of The Endless, and the Irish hopefuls Kissing Candice and Lost & Found.
There are quite a few women-led projects – Whitney, Maquia, In the Fade, Ocean's 8 – over the coming months. But the two biggest women-led summer movies, Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again and The Spy Who Dumped Me, don't come out until after the World Cup final, on July 15th. Have the studios realised that soccer isn't an exclusively male interest?
The only tent-pole film due during the football is the Purge prequel, The First Purge, and that won't hit cinemas until July 4th, two days before the first quarter-finals, with only a week and a half of the tournament left to play. Come mid-July and normal franchise service will resume with Incredibles 2 (July 13th), Mission: Impossible – Fallout (July 26th) and Ant-Man and the Wasp (August 3rd).
Directed by Bill Holderman. Starring Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen
In this grey-dollar movie various American icons get overexcited when the titular literary-themed circle read Fifty Shades of Grey. Pretend you haven't seen Barbarella.
My Friend Dahmer
Directed by Marc Meyers. Starring Ross Lynch, Alex Wolff, Dallas Roberts, Anne Heche
A portrait of a serial killer as a desperate, lonely young man. Based on John Backderf's autobiographical graphic novel, Meyers's former Black List screenplay is as saddening as it is disturbing.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Directed by JA Bayona. Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, James Cromwell, Jeff Goldblum
Having been left to potter around their island home since the events of the first Jurassic World movie, the dinosaurs face extinction. Again. A pending volcanic eruption sends Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and her boyfriend (Chris Pratt) to the rescue.
Directed by Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui. Featuring Alexander McQueen
Drawing on archive material and the late fashion designer's home movies, this documentary chronicles how a self-described "unremarkable" working-class boy from east London overcame adversity and became the celebrity costumier of the Cool Britannia era.
The Boy Downstairs
Directed by Sophie Brooks. Starring Zosia Mamet, Matthew Shear, Deirdre O'Connell
Returning to New York after several years abroad, Diana (Zosia Mamet) finds the perfect, affordable Brooklyn apartment. Except that her ex-boyfriend turns out to be her downstairs neighbour. Tart mumblecore romcom.
Directed by Ari Aster. Starring Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd, Gabriel Byrne
When her mother dies, Annie (Toni Collette) struggles to keep her dysfunctional family together, but there are far more bloodcurdling traumas to come in the most talked-about horror movie since The Exorcist.
Super Troopers 2
Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar. Starring Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Rob Lowe, Brian Cox
The incompetent cops of the modestly successful 2001 comedy are dispatched to Canada, where they become frenemies with a group of Mounties. One-upmanship ensues.
Directed by Jonas Carpignano. Starring Pio Amato, Koudous Seihon, Damiano Amato
Martin Scorsese presents this contemporary Italian neorealist drama. Fourteen-year-old Pio (Pio Amato) idolises his older brother. When the latter goes missing from their small community in Calabria, Pio is determined to take his place. A winner at Directors' Fortnight at Cannes.
The Happy Prince
Directed by Rupert Everett. Starring Rupert Everett, Colin Morgan, Emily Watson, Colin Firth
Rupert Everett has written, directed and starred in this account of Oscar Wilde's sad final years, including his exile to Naples and Paris, where he is often recognised and harassed. Includes his reconciliation with the untrustworthy Alfred Bosie Douglas (Colin Morgan) and its tragic fallout.
Directed by Gary Ross. Starring Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter
You know the way Superman has a Supergirl cousin? Here Danny Ocean's estranged sister, Debbie (Sandra Bullock), plots a most glamorous jewellery heist at the Met Gala in New York City. Yes, Anna Wintour will cameo, as will Kim Kardashian and Matt Damon and everyone but George Clooney, who didn't want to risk sullying his Ocean's legacy. Ahem.
Directed by Aoife McArdle. Starring Ann Skelly, Ryan Lincoln, Conall Keating
The Omagh director Aoife McArdle makes her debut with this coming-of-age drama about a volatile young woman (Ann Skelly) who falls in with a bad crowd, much to the chagrin of her policeman father.
In the Fade
Directed by Fatih Akin. Starring Diane Kruger, Denis Moschitto, Numan Acar, Samia Muriel Chancrin
When Katja's Kurdish husband and her five-year-old son, Rocco, are killed by a bomb, the subsequent investigation and trial uncover a neo-Nazi network. Diane Kruger was named best actress at Cannes for her impressive turn as the unfortunate heroine.
Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms
Directed by Mari Okada. Featuring Manaka Iwami, Miyu Irino, Ai Kayano
In a fantastical medieval world of dragons and immortals, the long-living Maquia learns about motherhood and loss, as her adopted son Erial grows into adulthood and beyond, while she doesn't age. An imaginative directorial debut from the anime veteran Mari Okada.
Directed by Dave Tynan. Starring Seána Kerslake, Sarah Greene, Emmet Kirwan, Mark O'Halloran, Ian Lloyd Anderson
Over a drug-hazed weekend in Dublin an aspiring DJ, Jason (Emmet Kirwan), reconnects with his estranged homeless brother, Daniel (Ian Lloyd Anderson). Adapted from Kirwan's hugely successful play.
Leave No Trace
Directed by Debra Granik. Starring Ben Foster, Thomasin McKenzie, Jeff Kober, Dale Dickey
A father (Ben Foster) and daughter (Thomasin McKenzie) are living happily off the grid in the forests of Oregon until social services come calling.
Directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. Starring Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Callie Hernandez, Tate Ellington
Two brothers receive a mysterious video message that brings them to the UFO death cult they escaped a decade earlier. The brilliant minds behind the 2013 creature feature Spring return with the best temporally twisted sci-fi since Shane Carruth's Primer.
Sicario 2: Soldado
Directed by Stefano Sollima. Starring Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner, Catherine Keener
When Mexican drug cartels start smuggling jihadi terrorists across the US border the CIA sends Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) and the former shady government operative Alejandro Gillick (Benicio del Toro) to take care of it. The Suburra director Sollima steps in for Denis Villeneuve. No Emily Blunt. Boo.
The First Purge
Directed by Gerard McMurray. Starring Y'Lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Luna Lauren Vélez, Marisa Tomei
The shadowy New Founding Fathers of America have a plan to keep the overall crime rate down by allowing free-for-all violence over one night in an isolated community. As this is a prequel to the wildly successful Purge sequence, expect mayhem.
Directed by Haifaa al-Mansour. Starring Elle Fanning, Douglas Booth, Bel Powley, Ben Hardy, Tom Sturridge, Maisie Williams
Elle Fanning plays the English creator of Frankenstein and teenage lover of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in Haifaa al-Mansour's Irish-shot biopic.
Directed by Kevin Macdonald. Featuring Whitney Houston
Arriving more than a year after Nick Broomfield's thorough portrait of Whitney Houston, Whitney: Can I Be Me, Kevin Macdonald's film doesn't contain the extraordinary backstage footage of its predecessor, but it does feature the Houston family and new revelations of childhood molestation.
Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber. Starring Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell
Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson), former FBI agent and amputee, lives in the tallest and safest skyscraper in Hong Kong with his wife (Neve Campbell) and children. Whoops. Scratch that. It's not the safest skyscraper in Hong Kong, after all. Here come the terrorists.
Ex-Libris: The New York Public Library
Directed by Frederick Wiseman. Featuring Ta-Nehisi Coates, Elvis Costello, Richard Dawkins
Frederick Wiseman's latest organisational study is this warm, patient, prize-winning portrait of New York Public Library.
Directed by Brad Bird. Starring Holly Hunter, Craig T Nelson, Samuel L Jackson, Isabella Rossellini
Elastigirl (voiced by Holly Hunter) takes on the Underminer (John Ratzenberger), a new supervillain, while Mr Incredible (Craig T Nelson) struggles as a stay-at-home dad in this sequel to Pixar's 2004 hit.
The Secret of Marrowbone
Directed by Sergio G Sánchez. Starring George MacKay, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Mia Goth
Following the death of their mother, four orphaned children attempt to contain the evil, supernatural presence that is terrorising their dilapidated home.
Lost & Found
Directed by Liam O Mochain. Starring Norma Sheahan, Liam Carney, Aoibhín Garrihy, Anthony Morris, Seamus Hughes
Shot over five years, the third feature from the enterprising director of The Book That Wrote Itself and WC brings together seven interconnected stories set around the lost-and-found office of an Irish train station. The comedy recently won best foreign film at Arizona International Film Festival.
Directed by Drew Pearce. Starring Jodie Foster, Sterling K Brown, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum, Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto, Charlie Day, Dave Bautista
In the near future, Jean Thomas (Jodie Foster) runs a secret hospital for criminals in Los Angeles. Star-studded sci-fi from the cowriter of Iron Man 3.
Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again
Directed by Ol Parker. Starring Christine Baranski, Pierce Brosnan, Dominic Cooper, Colin Firth, Andy García, Lily James, Amanda Seyfried, Stellan Skarsgård, Julie Walters, Cher, Meryl Streep
The gang return for this sequel to the 2008 screen adaptation of the Abba jukebox musical. Has Pierce Brosnan's singing improved in the intervening years? Will a new Abba song play over the end credits? And how are we supposed to believe that Cher is Meryl Streep's mother? They're Silkwood roomies!
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie. Starring Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Michelle Monaghan
Remember when the makers of this, the sixth film in the Mission: Impossible sequence, point-blank refused to let Henry Cavill shave his moustache for Justice League reshoots, leaving Warner Bros to digitally remove the facial hair? Now you can finally see the movie that ruined Superman's face.
Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation
Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky. Starring Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, Keegan-Michael Key, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, Fran Drescher, Mel Brooks
Dracula (Adam Sandler), his daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez), and her dorky husband, Johnny (Andy Samberg) wind up on a cruise ship with the great-great-granddaughter of Drac's arch-enemy, Abraham Van Helsing. Expect wordplay around the theme of monsters. Also flatulence gags.
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Directed by Peyton Reed. Starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Michael Douglas, Laurence Fishburne, Michelle Pfeiffer
Okay. So this is set between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. We can buy that. But it still doesn't explain why Ant-Man and Hawkeye were no-shows for Infinity Wars. More importantly, why is Marvel killing time when we just want to know who is really dead and who isn't?
Teen Titans Go! To the Cinema
Directed by Peter Rida Michail and Aaron Horvath. Starring Greg Cipes, Scott Menville, Khary Payton, Tara Strong, Hynden Walch, Will Arnett, Kristen Bell, Nicolas Cage
In common with Lego Batman, Cartoon Network's Teen Titans Go! has maintained a winning, irreverent distance from the rest of the rather po-faced DC universe. The Titans' first big-screen adventure features Lego Batman's Will Arnett as the villain and Jimmy Kimmel as Batman. And Nicolas Cage gets to realise his lifelong dream to play Superman. Has to be fun.
The Darkest Minds
Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson. Starring Amandla Stenberg, Mandy Moore, Gwendoline Christie
A plague wipes out almost all of the United States' children, leaving the survivors with special powers. A fearful government places them in an internment camp. The latest attempt to spawn a franchise from a hit young-adult novel.
Directed by Jon Turteltaub. Starring Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao
What do you mean you haven't seen the trailer for The Meg? It's got Jason Statham in a submarine battling a prehistoric Jaws. A trillion YouTube users can't be wrong.
Under the Tree
Directed by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson. Starring Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson, Edda Björgvinsdóttir
A mean-spirited elderly couple, Inga and Baldvin, fall out with their neighbour Konrad and his younger wife, Agnes, over a tree. You will not believe how dark things get as the tensions escalate in this deliciously black Icelandic comedy.
Crazy Rich Asians
Directed by Jon M Chu. Starring Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, Michelle Yeoh
An American-born Chinese economics professor, Rachel Chu, travels to Singapore with her boyfriend, Nick, for his best friend's wedding, only to discover that, at home, Nick's a super-rich heart-throb.
Directed by Marc Forster. Starring Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Chris O'Dowd, Brad Garrett, Toby Jones, Nick Mohammed, Peter Capaldi, Sophie Okonedo
Christopher Robin has grown up to become grumpy Ewan McGregor, so Pooh and the Hundred Acre Wood crew pay him a visit. Alex Ross Perry's involvement in the script gives us some hope that this isn't another Hook. Even though it has exactly the same plot.
The Equalizer 2
Directed by Antoine Fuqua. Starring Denzel Washington, Ashton Sanders, Pedro Pascal, Melissa Leo, Bill Pullman
Somebody has foolishly killed one of the Equalizer's chums, so the Equalizer sets out to avenge – or, if you will, equalise, matters. A Denzel actioner with Antoine Fuqua, director of Training Day and Southpaw, at the helm. Worst-case scenario: entertaining.
The Spy Who Dumped Me
Directed by Susanna Fogel. Starring Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Sam Heughan, Justin Theroux, Hasan Minhaj, Fred Melamed
Audrey (Mila Kunis) and Morgan (Kate McKinnon), are best friends who unwittingly become entangled in an international conspiracy when Audrey discovers the boyfriend who dumped her (Justin Theroux) was actually a CIA operative. You may think the spy parody is all played out, but the trailer is promisingly silly.
Directed by Spike Lee. Starring John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace
An African-American detective infiltrates the Colorado chapter of the Ku Klux Klan and eventually becomes the chapter's head. Hell, yeah. Spike's back, and he's packing not just one but two awards from Cannes.
Directed by Sylvain White. Starring Joey King, Julia Goldani Telles, Jaz Sinclair, Annalise Basso, Javier Botet
Following on from a 2013 drama of the same name and from the 2016 documentary Beware the Slenderman, the world's scariest creepypasta gets a widely released movie. This hasn't gone down well with relatives of Payton Leutner, who in 2014 was lured into woods and stabbed 19 times by her friends and fellow 12-year-olds Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser, in Wisconsin, in an attempt to impress the titular urban legend.
The Children's Act
Directed by Richard Eyre. Starring Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, Fionn Whitehead
A British high-court judge is asked to rule in the case of a teenager with leukaemia who is refusing to undergo a life-saving blood transfusion because he is a Jehovah's Witness. The second Ian McEwan adaptation of 2018.
The Happytime Murders
Directed by Brian Henson. Starring Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, Elizabeth Banks
In a world where puppets are second-class citizens a disgraced puppet cop (Bill Barretta) must team up with his former partner (Melissa McCarthy) to stop a serial killer targeting former cast members of a 1980s TV show. Brian, the son of the renowned puppeteers Jim and Jane Henson, directs.