Planning your summer movie schedule

Navigating the summer box office schedule

Jason Fraley | November 14, 2014 8:06 am

Jason Fraley, WTOP Film Critic

WASHINGTON – Ridley Scott’s “Alien” prequel hits theaters Friday, and it’s so top secret, the only preview screenings this week were studio-only invites.

I’ll have a full review of “Prometheus” on Monday.

In the meantime, here’s a look at the upcoming summer movie schedule, from animated animals to comic book superheroes.

Madagascar 3

If you’ve got little ones at home who can’t stomach “Prometheus,” you can take them to see “Madagascar 3,” which opens Friday. The animated favorite returns with characters voiced by Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer, Sacha Baron Cohen, Martin Short and Chris Rock.

Rock of Ages

“Rock of Ages” opens next week, taking the “Moulin Rouge” approach of applying modern songs to a rock musical. Starring Julianne Hough, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Paul Giamatti and Tom Cruise, the film features the music of ’80s acts like Def Leppard, Journey, Foreigner, Poison, Twisted Sister and Jefferson Starship.

Moonrise Kingdom

My offbeat pick is “Moonrise Kingdom,” the latest from writer/director Wes Anderson. It’s about two kids who run away together — a sort of “What if?” story of Margot and Richie from “The Royal Tenenbaums” (2001). Like “Tenenbaums,” Anderson compiles a deep cast: Bill Murray, Ed Norton, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman and Harvey Keitel.

The Amazing Spider-Man

Next month brings two powerhouse superhero flicks. On July 3, we get “The Amazing Spider-Man,” replacing Tobey Maguire with Andrew Garfield (“The Social Network”) and replacing director Sam Raimi with “(500) Days of Summer” director Marc Webb.

The Dark Knight Rises

Then, on July 20, it’s the one we’ve all been waiting for: “The Dark Knight Rises.” Christopher Nolan wraps up his Batman trilogy with Christian Bale returning as the dark title hero and Tom Hardy as the villain Bane. It will undoubtedly be the biggest blockbuster of the summer, after the success of “Batman Begins” (8.3 on IMDB) and “The Dark Knight” (8.9 on IMDB).

Once again, I’ll have a complete look at “Prometheus” on Monday. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to go have an “Alien” marathon over the weekend.

Read more from WTOP Film Critic Jason Fraley by clicking “Fraley on Film” under the “Living” tab above, following @JasonFraleyWTOP on Twitter and checking out his blog, The Film Spectrum.

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