Avengers: Infinity War heroically smashed through several box-office records to begin the summer movie season. The Marvel Cinematic Universe's third "team-up" movie had the biggest opening weekend domestically and internationally — and was the fastest movie to make $1 billion, narrowly edging Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Black Panther also exceeded $1 billion this year, despite debuting in February, usually considered a rough month for movie releases.
Last summer was a noticeably slow season for the box office. Earlier this year, I looked into why that was, finding mostly that streaming services are cheaper and preferable, especially for college students. Plus, studios weren't putting out movies that people really wanted to see.
This year, that's clearly not the case. Avengers: Infinity War is likely the biggest name in a long line of anticipated movies hitting theaters in the next months.
Superhero fans won't need to wait long for another hit — Deadpool 2 is set to come out on May 18, just a few weeks after Infinity War. The first movie arrived in February 2016 and destroyed expectations, becoming the second-highest grossing R-rated movie of all time. And Solo: A Star Wars Story flies into theaters on May 25th, the 41st anniversary of the original Star Wars' release.
If you're not keeping track, that's a Marvel movie, an X-Men movie and a Star Wars movie, all released within 30 days of each other. Most schools won't even be out at that point, but it'll be a strong lead into the warm months.
The summer will also see releases of Ocean's 8, Incredibles 2, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, Mama Mia: Here We Go Again! and Mission Impossible: Fallout, to name a few.
The one major drawback of that list is that every major movie is a sequel, prequel or spinoff. That said, perhaps a movie like American Animals or the star-studded Hotel Artemis could draw a big enough audience to keep alive hope for original movies.
Even though Hollywood milks series until fans beg them to stop, each of these movies is sure to draw a substantial crowd. More people going to the theater means more people seeing trailers and teasers, which is still one of the best ways to get the word out about other new films.
It's tough to predict exactly how any movie will do, especially after Black Panther and Deadpool surprised everybody with their big draws. But the bar set by last summer is extremely low, and this year has the movies to beat it.