2020 Summer Movies You Can Enjoy From Home

While you can’t go outside to the movie theater there is still a summer movie season waiting. We’ve gathered a list of films to view week by week to give yourself a summer movie season that can be enjoyed at home.

Many of the highly anticipated summer movies such as Wonder Woman 1984, In the Heights, and Black Widow just to name a few were pushed back to later in the year or even next year. For all intents and purposes, it appears the summer movie season has been canceled.

Yet just because everyone needs to stay inside, and all the movie theaters are closed, that doesn’t mean there still can’t be a summer movie season. Universal, Disney, Warner Bros., and Paramount have all decided to release a film to various different streaming sites. Combining that with original films from HBO, Netflix, and Amazon there are plenty of new films to enjoy.

We have curated a summer movie season film festival featuring the newest films being offered by the major streaming services and studios. One that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your home. The idea would be one new film a week on a Friday (the day a traditional new release would open) to give you the sense of a summer movie season. You can watch with your friends through Skype, Zoom, Netflix Parties, or Discord so you can have the communal experience of sharing a film with your friends and loved ones. Movies have the power to unite us, and even apart we can still enjoy a makeshift summer movie season.

As of this writing, it appears that the studios are hoping the theaters will open back up in July, with Warner Bros. Tenet being the first major release on July 17th, 2020. So this list of stay-at-home summer movies will through May and June, covering 9 weeks worth of films.

May 1- Extraction (Netflix)

Ever since 2007, a movie based on a Marvel superhero has kicked off the summer movie season. The last time a non-superhero movie kicked off the summer was 2006 in Mission: Impossible 3. Black Widow was supposed to open on May 1, but now that film is pushed to November 6. How about kicking off the summer with an action movie that is made by a lot of people with connections to the MCU. Extraction, which hit Netflix on April 24, is produced by the Russo Bros who directed Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame (Joe Russo also wrote the script for Extraction). It features Thor himself – Chris Hemsworth – in the starring role, and has David Harbour (who will join the MCU as Red Guardian in Black Widow) and is the directorial debut of Sam Hargrave, who was the stunt coordinator on Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.

It is a hard R-rated film so not your typical summer blockbuster, but it is an old fashion type of action film that feels like a throwback to the 1980’s action movies. It’s a simple, to-the-point shoot ’em up that could be the adrenaline rush to start your summer watch with a bang.

May 1 – All Day and a Night (Netflix)

If you’ve already seen Extraction, and in keeping with the ‘creators connected to Marvel Studios’ theme to kick start the summer, Black Panther co-writer Joe Robert Cole makes his directorial feature debut with All Day and a Night. It is a crime drama film that chronicles Jahkor (Moonlight’s Ashton Sanders), a young criminal who arrives in prison, as he looks back on the days preceding his arrest and the circumstances of his childhood to find clues to his way forward in life and his survival.

Summer movie season is often defined by big action blockbusters, but this is a summer movie season that can start off with a character-focused drama that typically is seen during the awards season run. This is a summer movie season where you can set the pace.

May 8 – Bad Education (HBO)

Bad Education will have been out for two weeks by this date, but if you haven’t watched it I would highly recommend it. A movie that takes place at a school during what would be the traditional school year is fitting, but also serves as a nice counter to Extraction. Extraction is a hard-R rated action film, where this is more a dark comedy in the vein of Election. Starring Hugh Jackman and Alison Janney, it’s about the largest public school embezzlement in American history.

It premiered last year at the Toronto International Film Festival and many critics lauded Jackman’s performance, but when HBO bought the film it appeared the potential awards chances were dashed. Yet with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science changing their rule about a film having to play in one theater for a week in LA or New York to qualify for nominations this year due to the COVID-19 shutdown of most theaters, there is a good chance Hugh Jackman could score an Oscar nomination.

May 8 – The Half Of It (Netflix)

There is a chance you might have already seen Bad Education when it premiered on HBO, so if you need something different check out The Half Of It.

This is a coming of age dramedy that is about Ellie Chu, a shy straight-A student who feels isolated in her backwater town. Ellie decides to help school jock Paul Munsky write love letters to Aster Flores, the girl they both secretly love. The three embark on an unexpected journey of discovery and form a complicated triangle of friendship as they come to terms with their own unexpected feelings.

The Half Of It premieres on Netflix on May 1st but I suggest holding it off till the second week of May. It is lighter than the other films previously mentioned and keeps the theme of Bad Education of being set in a high school.

May 15-SCOOB! (VOD)

Scoob! was originally supposed to open in theaters on May 15th, but was taken off the release schedule when theaters shut down. Unlike Wonder Woman 1984 or In the Heights which got postponed to later dates, SCOOB! is getting the Video on Demand treatment that worked out so financially well for Universal and Trolls: World Tour. It makes a certain amount of sense. Families are stuck at home and can’t go out so for either $20 to rent or $25 to purchase the whole family can gather together for a fun new film no one has seen, based on a character that has delighted people for generations.

Scoob! is supposed to be the first installment in a series of films set within a Hanna-Barbera shared cinematic universe, as the film features appearances from other Hanna-Barbera cartoons like Wacky Racers, Captain Caveman, and Dynomutt, Dog Wonder. Obviously, the studio planned to see how this would perform at the box-office to see about launching any other films in the franchise, but now with the status as a VOD film, it will need a lot of purchases and rentals to justify moving forward.

The third weekend in May is also historically a good weekend for family films. All four Shrek films opened on the third weekend of May. This marks the first official ‘new’ release by a studio for the summer movie season, and after the previous two films on this list, it would be a good break from the more serious adult fare.

May 22 – The Lovebirds (Netflix)

The Lovebirds was originally supposed to open in theaters on April 3, 2020, but when theaters were closed it was one of the first major motion pictures to move from theatrical release to streaming. Given their past relationship releasing previous Paramount films like Cloverfield Paradox, Netflix seemed like the natural home.

A fun romantic comedy from Michael Showalter (The Big Sick) starring Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae featuring the two of them on the run after being framed for a murder sounds like a pretty fun distraction from the problems of the real world right now.

May 29 – Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Siege of Mandalore (Disney+)

Not technically a movie, but the final four episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars are meant to flow together and tell an over-arcing storyline that covers the Siege of Mandalore, one of the final battles in the Clone Wars. It deals with Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice Ashoka Tano fighting former sith apprentice and wanted fugitive, Maul (no longer Darth) in a storyline that takes place before, congruent, and maybe after the events of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars began life as a theatrically released animated film (released in theaters of August 2008) so it makes sense to end the series in a little mini-movie. The higher-quality nature of the animation (Ray Park even returns to do the motion performance for Darth Maul’s fight scenes), the fact that it opens with the old fashion Lucasfilm Ltd. logo, and the stronger use of Star Wars music hints that maybe this at one point was planned as a movie.

The four episodes are:

  • Old Friends Not Forgotten
  • The Phantom Apprentice
  • Shattered
  • Victory and Death

May used to be the month to see Star Wars films, as all six of the pre-Disney live-action films opened in May (and one Disney era film, Solo: A Star Wars Story). That makes Star Wars the perfect post-Memorial Day viewing experience. One does not need to have seen the rest of the series to enjoy these final four episodes, which very much work as a companion to Episode III.

June 5 – The Vast of Night (Amazon Prime)

The Vast of Night hits Amazon Prime on May 29. This sci-fi thriller from newcomer Andrew Patterson takes place over the course of one night in the 1950s as two teenagers from Cayuga, New Mexico investigate a strange audio frequency coming through the radio.

The film was a big hit on the festival circuit last year, where it premiered at the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival. It later screened at the  2019 Toronto International Film Festival and the 2019 Overlook Film Festival (where it won the Jury Award). It won a Special Cinematography Award at the 2019 Hamptons International Film Festival, and won Best International Feature film at the 2019 Edinburgh International Film Festival. It also received a nomination for Best First Screenplay at the Independent Spirit Awards. While it may not seem like the traditional ‘summer movie,’ this is not the normal summer anyone was expecting, so why not try something different. Make this summer unique by making the lineup a little different.

June 12 – Artemis Fowl (Disney+)

Artemis Fowl was supposed to open in theaters on May 29, yet when theaters started closing Disney decided that instead of delaying the film like they did other high profile projects, they would release this one straight to their new streaming service site, Disney+.

This makes a certain amount of sense. The film was most likely to disappoint at the box office given the poor reaction to the film’s trailer. Regardless of the time of year, it would most likely not entice people to go out and see it. Yet releasing it on their streaming service, which needs exciting content, means that it is a high profile movie that many people already have access to because of their Disney+ subscription. That means that people looking for something new to watch will likely give the big-budget adaptation of the popular book series a view since they are already paying for the service. That means that more people may actually see the film now than if it was released in theaters.

June 19 – The King of Staten Island (VOD)

Univeral’s second big film to skip theaters entirely and go straight to video on demand is The King of Staten Island, starring SNL alum Pete Davidson and directed by Judd Apatow. The film hits VOD on June 12th, but I say hold off on one week. Watch Artemis Fowl first since it will be easier/cheaper through Disney+, and this would have been the original theatrical release date of the film.

A Judd Apatow comedy is always a wise fit for a summer viewing schedule. Knocked Up opened on June 1, 2007. Funny People hit theaters on July 31, 2009. Trainwreck proved to be a hit when it opened on July 17, 2015. So having this film to watch in the middle of June gives you the big summer comedy fix, but also has its own throwback flair to a filmmaker who defined a comedy genre for an entire generation.

June 26 – Justice League Dark: Apokolips War (VOD)

The delay of Wonder Woman 1984 leaves a DC gap in the release schedule. The last DC film released in theaters was February’s Birds of Prey (if you haven’t seen that consider renting that instead), and a summer movie season does need a superhero film. So why not try this animated Justice League adventure.

This epic event features the Justice League, the Teen Titans, the Justice League Dark, and the Suicide Squad teaming up to stop Darkseid’s upcoming invasion. This is the fifteenth and final film in a series of interconnected animated films that began in 2014. So it may seem like an odd choice, particularly if this is your first time watching a film in this series. The idea of coming into this is like jumping into Avengers: Endgame without seeing any previous Marvel films. Yet the fact that it is an animated film, most likely with a younger audience in mind, means it should relatively simple to follow. Plus if you have a general idea about who characters like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman are then you have some basic groundwork covered.

 

We hope you enjoy our recommendations, and maybe this list and roster of films can give you a sense of routine and a sense of normal in this uncertain time. Stay safe and try to find some comfort in this summer.