The Biggest Movies to Look Forward to Seeing in Summer 2021

Get ready for the return of the summer blockbuster. Photo-illustration: Eric Vilas-Boas/Observer

For both film fanatics and casual enthusiasts, going to the movie theater represents a mixture of comfort and excitement—both a commonplace pastime and a standout occasion. Knee deep in pandemic isolation, it became a relic of social days past. But this summer, with vaccinations on the rise and the the country inching back toward recovery, we’re finally getting our moviegoing marathons back and on a greater scale than before.

With a wave of 2020 blockbuster films finally getting their day in the sun after numerous delays, audiences can anticipate seeing their favorite performers again on the big screen in 2021. There are more releases than you may know what to do with coming up, so here’s a summer calendar to help you sift through them, complete with this season’s biggest release dates and how to watch them.*

May

The Killing of Two LoversMay 14

Spiral: From the Book of Saw  – In theaters May 14

Those Who Wish Me DeadIn theaters and on HBO Max May 14

The Woman in the Window On Netflix May 14

Army of the DeadIn theaters and on Netflix May 21

CruellaIn theaters and on Disney+ May 28

A Quiet Place Part 2In theaters May 28
Starring Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, John Krasinski and Cillian Murphy, A Quiet Place Part 2 follows the Abbott family as they fight for survival against noise-driven monsters in silence. In the sequel, the Abbotts venture out of their home in search for survivors in the broader post-apocalyptic world. John Krasinksi directs the film as well. 

June 

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do ItIn theaters and on HBO Max June 4

SamaritanIn theaters June 4

Spirit UntamedIn theaters June 4

VivoOn Netflix June 4

In the HeightsIn theaters and on HBO Max June 11

The Hitman’s Wife’s BodyguardIn theaters June 16
The action-comedy The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard features a star-studded cast of Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek and Samuel L. Jackson as well as new appearances from Frank Grillo, Morgan Freeman and Antonio Banderas. The film portrays Michael Bruce’s reluctant return to his bodyguard role as he teams up with a hitman and his infamous con artist wife to challenge a dangerous mad man. 

LucaOn Disney+ June 18

Fatherhood – On Netflix June 18

Peter Rabbit 2: The RunawayIn theaters June 18

The Sparks BrothersIn theaters June 18

F9In theaters June 25
Hitting theaters this June, the ninth installment of Fast and Furious elevates the action-packed intensity of the franchise’s earlier films. Complete with a rocket-car hybrid and a magnet plane (courtesy of director Justin Lin’s 9-year-old son), the film follows Dominic Toretto and crew as they battle Toretto’s little brother—a deadly assassin and high-performance driver. The film stars Vin Diesel, John Cena and Michelle Rodriguez. 

False Positive – On Hulu June 25

ZolaIn theaters June 30

America: The Motion Picture – on Netflix June 30

July 

Summer of SoulIn theaters and on Hulu July 2

The Forever PurgeIn theaters July 2

Black WidowIn theaters and on Disney Plus July 9
After a year-long delay, Black Widow is finally getting star treatment in a solo film arriving on the big screen and Disney+ in July. From director Cate Shortland, the prequel features Scarlett Johansson as Natasha and explores the character’s dark past while providing new insight into her sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame. Florence Pugh and Robert Downey Jr. also star in the film. 

Escape Room 2In theaters July 16

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony BourdainIn theaters July 16

Space Jam: A New LegacyIn theaters and on HBO Max July 16

OldIn theaters July 23

Snake Eyes In theaters July 23

Hotel Transylvania: TransformaniaIn theaters July 23

The Green KnightIn theaters July 30
Adapted from the 14th century medieval poem “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” director David Lowery’s latest film offers another glimpse into the epic world of King Arthur and the knights of the round table. Starring Dev Patel as Sir Gawain, the film follows Gawain’s journey to confront the Green Knight in addition to a horde of ghosts, giants and thieves. The film also stars Ralph Ineson, Sean Harris and Katie Dickie.

Jungle CruiseIn theaters and on Disney Plus July 30

Stillwater In theaters July 30

August

The Suicide Squad In theaters and on HBO Max August 6

Free GuyIn theaters August 13

Respect In theaters August 13

Don’t Breathe 2In theaters August 13

CODAIn theaters and on Apple TV August 13

BiosIn theaters August 13

The Protege In theaters August 20

Paw PatrolIn theaters August 20

The Night House – In theaters August 20

ReminiscenceIn theaters and on HBO Max August 27

The Beatles: Get Back –  In theaters August 27

CandymanIn theaters August 27
Candyman is a must-see summer horror film produced by Jordan Peele. Drawing inspiration from the original 1992 film, Candyman portrays a Chicago artist’s insanity-inducing obsession with a hook-handed ghost killer. The artist’s obsession leads him down a dangerous path into conflict with the infamous Candyman himself. The film stars Yahya Abdul Mateen II, Teyonah Paris and Colman Domingo.


Keeping Watch is a regular endorsement of TV and movies worth your time.

* Eds. note: Some of these dates may be subject to change—we are still in a pandemic, after all. We’ll do our best to keep this list updated in the event that the releases play musical chairs with each other. The Biggest Movies to Look Forward to Seeing in Summer 2021