15 blockbuster movies for summer 2024 ranked: the movies we can't wait for

Martin Lawrence and Will Smith, Chris Hemsworth, Ryan Reynolds, Scarlett Johansson, Cailee Spaeny and Gru
(Image credit: Future)

Though the movie release schedule nowadays sees plenty of big blockbuster movies sprinkled all throughout the year, there is still something special about the summer blockbuster movie season. Hollywood looks for that to be the case again with a slew of big, funny and action-packed movies for audiences to enjoy. Let us help you ID the ones to be the look out for with our picks for the most anticipated movies of the 2024 summer blockbuster season.

2024 has already seen plenty of big movies come out this year, including Dune: Part Two, Godzilla x Kong and Kung Fu Panda 4. We've also gotten some late spring blockbusters that are helping jumpstart the summer slate, including The Fall Guy and Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. But for this list we're looking at movies that are releasing in the heart of the summer movie season, which kicks off May 24 (Memorial Day weekend in the US) and goes through August.

Here is the ranked list of 15 blockbuster movies we are most excited about.

15. Despicable Me 4 (July 3)

(L-R) Gru standing next to his wife, Lucy, who's holding baby Gru Jr. in Despicable Me 4

(Image credit: Illumination Entertainment/Universal Studios)

After years of the Minions being the center of attention with their own spinoff movies, Gru and his family return as the stars of Despicable Me 4 (though of course the Minions are set to have a big part in the story as well). The Despicable Me/Minions movies have become one of the biggest animated franchises in history, and they are always at least entertaining for families to enjoy, as well as the young at heart.

14. The Watchers (June 14)

Dakota Fanning in The Watchers

Dakota Fanning in The Watchers (Image credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

Get ready to welcome another Shyamalan to the world of movies, as M. Night's daughter Ishana Shyamalan makes her feature directing debut with the horror movie The Watchers. Dakota Fanning stars as a woman who gets trapped in a strange shelter where she and a group of others are looked upon by mysterious creatures each night. But what are the creatures and what do they want with this group? It'll be enticing to see what the young Shyamalan picked up from her father, including if she shares his penchant for twist endings.

FYI, if you're in the UK and Ireland, the movie is called The Watched and is opening on June 7.

13. Borderlands (August 9)

Cate Blanchett, Ariana Greenblatt, Kevin Hart, Florian Munteanu and Jamie Lee Curtis in Borderlands

Cate Blanchett, Ariana Greenblatt, Kevin Hart, Florian Munteanu and Jamie Lee Curtis in Borderlands (Image credit: Courtesy of Lionsgate)

There have been a recent string of hit video game adaptations on TV in The Last of Us and Fallout, but movies still have a hard time with bringing popular games to life. Eli Roth, Cate Blanchett, Kevin Hart and more will look to change that with Borderlands. I personally have never played this game (though that didn't stop my enjoyment of Fallout), but it seems like it could be a lot of fun with its roster of characters and big, bold action. 

Channing Tatum in Blink Twice

Channing Tatum in Blink Twice (Image credit: Amazon/MGM Studios)

Zoe Kravitz has starred in her share of blockbuster movies, like The Batman, Mad Max: Fury Road and X-Men: First Class, but now she is stepping behind the camera and making her directorial debut with the summer thriller Blink Twice. Naomi Ackie stars a cocktail waitress who catches the eye of a tech billionaire (played by Channing Tatum) and is invited to his private island for a fun weekend. However, once there, strange things start to happen in paradise. A summer psychological blockbuster can be a lot of fun, so here's hoping Kravitz delivers on that promise. 

11. Alien: Romulus (August 16)

Cailee Spaeny in Alien: Romulus

Cailee Spaeny in Alien: Romulus (Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

As horror veteran Fede Alvarez takes over the Alien franchise, he is going back to basics with Alien: Romulus. Featuring a cast of young stars as entirely new characters (led by Cailee Spaeny, Isabela Merced and David Johnson), the story centers on a group of space colonizers that have to go up against the Xenomorph on their ship. But is a return to the formula that has proved so successful enough to entertain audiences yet again? That is the big question Alien: Romulus is going to have to answer. 

10. Bad Boys: Ride or Die (June 7)

Martin Lawrence and Will Smith as Marcus and Mike bumping fists in Bad Boys: Ride or Die

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Personal anecdote, Bad Boys for Life was one of the last movies I saw in a packed movie theater before COVID hit and shut movie theaters (and any kind of social event) down for a long time. So there's definitely a nostalgia factor at play for me as Martin Lawrence and Will Smith return for another Bad Boys movie. In Bad Boys: Ride or Die, the two cops are now the ones on the run as they're framed for a crime they did not commit. But you bet you're not going to be able to keep a Bad Boy down for long.

9. A Quiet Place: Day One (June 28)

Djimon Honsou and Lupita Nyong'o in A Quiet Place: Day One

Djimon Honsou and Lupita Nyong'o in A Quiet Place: Day One (Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

The first A Quiet Place movie not to be directed by John Krasinski or star Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place: Day One explores what happened when the franchise's alien creatures first landed on Earth and started wreaking havoc on humanity. The tension of needing to be silent in order to survive is a great construct that has consistently allowed A Quiet Place movies to deliver thrills, which we expect to continue this time. Add in the potential for new world building and a cast that includes Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn and Djimon Honsou, and we're very interested. 

8. Twisters (July 19)

Twisters poster

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

We are big fans of Glen Powell here at WTW, as evideny by Twisters being the first of two movies he stars in this summer to make this list. A modern day update to the 1996 movie Twister, Powell serves as one half of the new leading duo alongside Where the Crawdads Sing star Daisy Edgar-Jones, with the pair playing storm chasers who attempt to test an experimental weather system during a never-before-seen outbreak of tornadoes. That "s" at the end of the title promises more of everything in this new movie, we'll see if it can deliver.  

7. Trap (August 9)

Josh Hartnett in Trap

Josh Hartnett in Trap (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

In addition to getting a double dose of Glen Powell, moviegoers are also getting two Shyamalan movies this summer, as M. Night Shyamalan releases his new movie Trap just two months after his daughter's movie. What gives the elder Shyamalan's movie the edge for us is the intriguing casting of Josh Hartnett as a supposed serial killer that finds himself surrounded by police while he attends a pop concert with his daughter. While the trailer seemingly gave away the big twist, we have to think there's more up Shyalaman's sleeve for this one, and we're excited to see what that is.

6. Inside Out 2 (June 14)

Inside Out 2 emotions looking scared as they meet a new character

(Image credit: Disney)

While we always love when Pixar comes up with original ideas, we're definitely eager for Inside Out 2, as it brings back the colorful emotions Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Tony Hale) and Disgust (Liza Lapira) as they help now teenage Riley try and navigate high school. However, some new emotions are going to make that an even bigger challenge. Inside Out is one of the standout features from Pixar in the last decade, so it will be great to see what the Pixar team does to expand the story here. 

5. Fly Me to the Moon (July 12)

Channing Tatum and Ray Romano in Fly Me to the Moon

Channing Tatum and Ray Romano in Fly Me to the Moon (Image credit: Dan McFadden/Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Romantic comedies are fewer and farther between on the big screen these days, but they can still be big hits when they do arrive (see Anyone But You last year). Fly Me to the Moon has the necessary star power to be just that, with Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum leading the way as the potential couple at the center of the story. Throw in a Space Race subplot of an alternative plan to stage a moon landing in case Apollo 11 is not successful, and this is a high-concept rom-com that could win over a lot of people this summer.

4. Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (May 24)

Anya Taylor-Joy in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Anya Taylor-Joy in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (Image credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

Mad Max: Fury Road is a near perfect action movie and its character of Furiosa a sensation. That's why (despite taking nine years) we are stoked for Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, which serves as a prequel to the titular character. Anya Taylor-Joy takes over the role originated by Charlize Theron, while Chris Hemsworth joins the Mad Max universe in a villainous turn. But the most important person with the movie is writer/director George Miller, who knows how to make an epic movie like few other directors. There may not be a better movie to splurge on an IMAX screening for that Furiosa

3. Deadpool 3 (July 26)

Deadpool laying on the ground with a shadow of Wolverine on top of him in Deadpool & Wolverine

Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool & Wolverine (Image credit: Disney)

Marvel fatigue is real (at least for me), but an exception should be made as Ryan Reynolds returns as the wise-cracking merc Deadpool to go up against Marvel stalwart Hugh Jackman, returning to the role of Wolverine for the first time since 2017's brilliant Logan. The first official MCU Deadpool entry, a world of possibility is now open for the character. If you're worried that may neuter Deadpool at all, take solace in the fact that it has been reported Deadpool & Wolverine will be rated R, the first MCU movie to earn that rating. 

2. Hit Man (May 24)

Adria Arjona and Glen Powell in Hit Man

Adria Arjona and Glen Powell in Hit Man (Image credit: Courtesy of Netflix)

Glen Powell and Richard Linklater team up for the action comedy Hit Man, where Powell stars as a professor who moonlights as a fake hit man for the police. The based-on-a-true-story movie, which first screened at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival, is already a critically-acclaimed movie with a "Certified Fresh" score of 96% (as of publication) on Rotten Tomatoes, so we know it has the goods. 

There's a double-edged sword with Hit Man though. While it has all the makings of a potential blockbuster, it likely won't earn the box office haul of one. The reason, it is getting a limited release in movie theaters on May 24 before it premieres on Netflix a few weeks later. We urge everyone who can to see it on the big screen, but if you can't then just be patient as it has the chance to be one of the best movies on Netflix very soon. 

1. Horizon: An American Saga (June 28 & August 16)

Kevin Costner in Horizon: An American Saga

Kevin Costner in Horizon: An American Saga (Image credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

There is so much intrigue in Horizon: An American Saga before we even get to what the movie is about. It is a true, epic western, something we don't get very often anymore. The movie was reportedly a contributing factor to the hit TV show Yellowstone ending with season 5. And the movie is being told in two parts, but with only six weeks between the release of each; a very rare strategy. All of that is just a bonus to what looks like a massive story about the westward expansion in the late 19th century that would define what America would become. Kevin Costner directs and stars in the movie, alongside a massive cast that harkens back to classic Hollywood but also uses today's technology and perspective to tell a grand story. 

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.