13 movies Bostonians should know about this summer

From Amy Poehler's Netflix comedy to a big-budget creature feature partially set in Boston.

Paula Pell, Amy Poehler, and Rachel Dratch in "Wine Country." –Netflix

Much like the first day of spring in Boston, the first day of summer movie season is a tough one to nail down. The broad rule of thumb used to be that summer movie season lasted from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend, but now that Marvel movies seemingly come out year-round and new “Star Wars” movies drop in December with regularity, the rules are out the window.

With Chris Evans and the rest of the Marvel gang’s “Avengers: Endgame” breaking so many box office records that Wikipedia created a lengthy page to catalogue them all, it’s safe to say that summer movie season has finally arrived. And so, here are all of the films with local connections coming out from May through the end of summer.

“Wine Country” (May 10)


Burlington native Amy Poehler’s directorial debut centers around a group of old friends gathering to celebrate the 50th birthday of one of the pals, Rebecca (Lexington native and Poehler’s former “Saturday Night Live” colleague Rachel Dratch), in Napa Valley. The rest of the group has “SNL” ties as well, with other former cast members Maya Rudolph and Ana Gasteyer and former “SNL” writers Paula Pell and Emily Spivey along for the madcap trip with Poehler and Dratch. The film also features “SNL” vet Tina Fey in a smaller role, and will debut on Netflix on May 10.

“American Exit” (May 14)

Arlington native and comedian Dane Cook (“Good Luck Chuck”) plays a father on the run, headed toward Mexico with his son (Levi Miller, “A Wrinkle in Time”) riding shotgun and a stolen painting in the trunk. While a theatrical release is not in the cards for “American Exit,” the film is expected to be available on May 14.

“John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” (May 17)

Ultra-efficient assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves, “The Matrix”) is on the run after a $14 million bounty on his head puts him in the crosshairs of his fellow contract killers. Joining the film’s hefty supporting cast are Halle Berry (“X-Men”) and Nahant native Jason Mantzoukas (“The Dictator”), who plays a character known as “Tick Tock Man,” which sounds both hilarious and ominous at the same time. “John Wick: Chapter 3” will arrive in theaters on May 17.

“Brightburn” (May 24)


In a twisted version of the “Superman” origin story, an alien child crash-lands on Earth, where adoptive parents played by Pittsfield native Elizabeth Banks (“The Hunger Games”) and David Denman (“The Office”) must come to grips with the fact that they are raising an extraterrestrial psychopath. What little hope you may have for the boy’s redemption seems to be dashed in the film’s red-band trailer, which is too gruesome for us to embed here. “Brightburn” will fly into theaters on May 24.

“Rim of the World” (May 24)

“Rim of the World” centers around four kids whose summer camp stay is interrupted by an alien invasion, and they’re forced to save the day. Directed by McG (“Terminator Salvation”) and featuring Roxbury native Michael Beach (“Aquaman,” “If Beale Street Could Talk”) as a member of the adult supporting cast, “Rim of the World” will debut on Netflix on May 24.

“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (May 31)

It seems like every new trailer for “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” shows more and more of Boston getting utterly destroyed. At least a small amount of filming for “King of the Monsters” happened in the city, though based on how thoroughly Godzilla and his three-headed nemesis King Ghidorah wreck Fenway Park in the movie’s recent trailers, we suspect special effects were heavily involved. The film is scheduled to smash its way into theaters on May 31.

“Late Night” (June 7)

Written by and co-starring Cambridge native Mindy Kaling (“Ocean’s Eight”), “Late Night” chronicles a late-night talk show host (Emma Thompson, “Love Actually”) whose “world is turned upside down” when she hires her show’s first female staff writer (Kaling) to appease diversity concerns, according to Sundance. The film debuted to positive reviews at Sundance in January, and will hit theaters nationwide on June 7.

“The Secret Life of Pets 2” (June 7)


After the runaway success of the first “Secret Life of Pets,” Illumination already put on an all-out marketing blitz for its sequel, releasing specific trailers for several of the film’s furry characters. Among the returning voice cast are Kevin Hart (“Ride Along”), Eric Stonestreet (“Modern Family”), and Milton native Jenny Slate (“Gifted”), while Lexington native Pete Holmes (“Crashing”) is among the new names providing their vocal talents for the film. Notably absent from the cast is Newton native Louis C.K., whose protagonist role as Max the dog from the first film will be played by Patton Oswalt (“Ratatouille”). “The Secret Life of Pets 2” will sniff its way into theaters on June 7.

“American Woman” (June 14)

“American Woman” tells the story of a working-class mom (Sienna Miller, “American Sniper”) who takes care of her granddaughter once her daughter goes missing. While the film is set in Pennsylvania, it was shot in nearly a dozen Massachusetts towns in 2017, with filming taking place in Abington, Ashland, Avon, Brockton, Canton, Dover, Framingham, Norfolk, Stoughton, West Bridgewater, and Westwood. Also featuring Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”) and Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”), the movie will open in select theaters on June 14.

“The Dead Don’t Die” (June 14)

This horror-comedy chronicles a small town called Centerville as its citizens fend off hordes of flesh-eating zombies. The citizens are led in part by a team of police officers that includes Bill Murray (“Ghostbusters”), Adam Driver (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”), and Springfield native Chloe Sevigny (“Boys Don’t Cry”). “The Dead Don’t Die” will shamble into theaters on June 14.

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (July 26)

Quentin Tarantino brings back two of his former stars in Leonardo DiCaprio (“Django Unchained”) and Brad Pitt (“Inglourious Basterds”) for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which centers around a ’60s TV star (DiCaprio) and his stunt double (Pitt) trying to make sense of a rapidly changing industry. The film also features Margot Robbie (“I, Tonya”) as Sharon Tate, an actress who was murdered by followers of Charles Manson, and a large ensemble cast that includes Springfield native Kurt Russell (“The Hateful Eight”) and Boston native James Remar (“Dexter”). “Once Upon a Time” will hit theaters on July 26.

“Dora and the Lost City of Gold” (Aug. 9)

Believe it or not, there is yet another member of the Wahlberg clan entering the acting profession. Jeffrey Wahlberg (“Don’t Come Back from the Moon”), son of Jim Wahlberg and nephew of Mark, Donnie, and the rest of the Wahlberg clan, plays Diego, who is the cousin of the titular Dora (Isabela Moner, “Instant Family”). Unlike in the animated Nickelodeon show “Dora the Explorer,” Dora is a teenager in the film, which sees her try to assimilate into a big-city high school before jungle adventures come calling again. “Dora” will hit theaters on Aug. 9.

“It: Chapter Two” (Sept. 6)

While we would usually consider the summer movie season over after Labor Day weekend, we’re including “It: Chapter Two” because its first trailer has already been released, and true to author Stephen King’s legacy, it’s too creepy and unsettling to pass up. Decades after the events of 2017’s “It,” grown-up versions of the cast of children from the first film return to the fictional Derry, Maine, to once again be terrorized by the demonic Pennywise. Starring James McAvoy (“Split”), Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”), and Bill Hader (“Saturday Night Live”), “Chapter Two” will float into theaters on Sept. 6.