Summer is coming so is nostalgia

We are in the throes of the summer movie season and if you’re feeling a sense of déjà vu, you aren’t wrong.

Familiar characters, from Woody and Buzz, Spider-Man, John Wick, Aladdin, Jasmine, and the Genie, Simba and Nala and Godzilla are returning to the big screen, all vying for the summer box office prize.

Summer movies usually are released from May through August but in the last few years, with Marvel superheroes assembling in April, the hot movie season starts earlier than usual.

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Many sportsbooks online are offering odds on which movie will earn the most on select weekends and/or the movie season, which means if you buy into summer beginning in April, the big winner is “Avengers: Endgame.”

If the sportsbook of your choice sticks with the traditional calendar, other movies have a chance to rise to the top.

The consensus is that film studios, facing pressure from streaming services, such as Netflix, are turning to proven characters or titles to boost their bottom lines.

Movies, such as “Toy Story,” “Fast & The Furious,” and “The Lion King” have a faithful and reliable audience. The characters are known quantities, so the industry is happy to tap into that nostalgia and its built-in audience. But that’s not to say studios have thrown in the towel on fresh ideas, for example, Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” and the Elton John biopic “Rocketman,” but they’ve made a choice to balance the two.

So will a familiar face or fresh one “win” or claim “we’re No. 2! we’re No. 2!”

“Aladdin” starring Will Smith made a strong case exceeding expectations over the Memorial Day weekend. The live-action remake of the Disney classic made more than $105 million domestically over the four-day weekend busting IMDB predictions. With Disney having more than a half-dozen movies in release during the summer, it is many times competing with itself.

Others making a run at the box office prize:

  • “The Lion King” (July 19 premiere; IMDB projected total box office: $720 million) – The photorealistic CGI remake of this Disney blockbuster with it star-power voice cast will again roar at the box office, likely finishing No. 2 behind “Endgame.” The heartfelt story of love, betrayal, and friendship has wide appeal and Disney already scored with the photorealistic retelling of “The Jungle Book,” so this is going to be a big winner.
  • “Toy Story 4” (June 21; $600 million) – This movie was unexpected since it wrapped so nicely with the toys finding a new home in “Toy Story 3.” Color us skeptical, but it’s Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz (Tim Allen) and the absolute last one, so we’re in. Hanks suggests you bring Kleenex.
  • “Spider-Man: Far From Home” (July 2, $415 million) – The success of “Avengers: Endgame” and Spidey coming back from dust could make this movie BIG or uncover moviegoers’ superhero fatigue.
  • “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” (August 2, $295 million) – A familiar franchise without Disney ties (finally!) that’s trailer actually shows star Dwayne Johnson lassoing a helicopter and Jason Statham being, well, Jason Statham.
  • “Men in Black International” (June 14, $210 million) Chris Hemsworth dumps Thor’s cape for a black suit, teams with Tessa Thompson to fight aliens.
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (May 30, $200 million) – The lizard rises from the sea to take on other monsters. Hooray!
  • “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” (opened May 17, $180 million so far) – Keanu Reeves continues to kick butt on screen and at the box office to become the highest grossing movie in the action franchise.

So, familiar faces are expected to bring box office boom this summer and summers to come. Other movies that have proven themselves in the past and now in the production pipeline for future release are “Roadhouse,” “Gremlins,” “The Thomas Crown Affair,” and “White Men Can’t Jump.” Everything old is new again.