Summer Movie Recap

Summer Movie Recap

As the school year begins and the excitement of summer fades into the distance, it might be enjoyable to look back on the films and popular culture that made the past couple of months so great.

A Timeline Showing the Major Movie Releases of Summer 2023, Starting on May 24th.

When summer began for WKHS on May 24th, there was already a lot to be excited about that had already been released. The newest installment of The Fast & Furious Saga, Fast X, released to theaters on May 19th, and John Wick: Chapter 4 released just before summer began on the 23rd.

The first few weeks of summer were moderately tame, with many projects coming out that were receiving moderate success. The Little Mermaid, for example, released on May 26th, welcomed by good reviews and viewership, but became overshadowed by other releases as the summer went on.

One of the first major blockbuster film releases of the summer was Sony Animation’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse on June 2nd. The highly anticipated sequel blew away many audience members with its unique art style and color usage. When asked about what he thought of the movie, WKHS junior Landon Wilson said that, “the film was beautifully animated… when one person was sad and another was happy, you would have blue on one side and red on the other. It seems simple but they executed it so well.”

A still from Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, where main characters Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy share a tender moment. Courtesy of Sony Animation

At the time of writing this article, Box Office Mojo has reported that Spider-Man has brought in over $381 million in the domestic box office and $688 million worldwide, making it one of the highest preforming animated films of all time. It also currently holds a 95% freshness score on Rotten Tomatoes.

As the month of June went on, more and more blockbuster films were released. June 19th saw the release of Pixar’s Elemental and Warner Bros.’ The Flash, both to less than spectacular profits and viewership. This trend of under-performance continued to the 30th with Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, which made $60 million on its opening weekend. For reference, the movie cost $294.7 million to make according to Box Office Mojo analytics.

As the world entered the month of July, the film industry died down for a short while. Less high profile films were released in that time, leaving more room for smaller movies to step into the spotlight, including A24’s Talk to Me.

The month did see the release of the 7th installment of the Mission Impossible franchise, Dead Reckoning Part One. The film, which is currently one of producer and leading man Tom Cruise’s highest rated films on Rotten Tomatoes and Meta-critic, earned just under double their budget, currently resting at $560 million, according to analytics by Box Office Mojo.

The Poster of Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One. Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Possibly one of the biggest pop culture moments this summer came on July 21st, with the release of the twin blockbusters Barbie and Oppenheimer. Commonly referred to as “Barbinheimer” on social media platforms, both films amassed a large following online, with both parties debating which film should be viewed first, as well as which movie would be better.

Part of the popularity of this trend came from the fact that both movies were very different from each other, with Barbie being a comedic social commentary focusing on a Barbie doll going through an existential crisis about life and womanhood, and Oppenheimer being a dramatic thriller focusing on the trials and tribulations of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man who made the atomic bomb.

On their dual release date of July 21st, both films opened to spectacular success. Barbie opened to a whopping $162 million and an 88% freshness score on Rotten TomatoesOppenheimer, on the other hand, opened to $82.45 million and currently holds a freshness score of 93%.

A still from Barbie, where Barbie and Ken leave Barbie land to go to the real world. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

While both films showed great success after the public got their hands on them, the differences between them became ever more clear as time went on. Viewers have commented that Barbie is an overall more enjoyable experience, Oppenheimer leaves you with more of an impact.

Barbie [was] a great social commentary,” WKHS social studies teacher John Patch explained, “but Oppenheimer leaves you with deep ruminations… I spent an hour and a half talking with my friends right after Oppenheimer [because] we need[ed to] discuss this movie.”

A still from Oppenheimer, where the titular Robert Oppenheimer is shown sitting deep in thought. Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

After the massive success that was “Barbinheimer,” the summer’s film began to come to a close. All of the films released afterwards received mild to moderate success, but the big movies had all been released, and there was not much left to come out.

Now, as we enter the school year, we have even more projects on the horizon. Movies like The CreatorThe Hunger Games: A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, and The Marvels all release this Fall. If this summer was any indication, the rest of the year should be something to look forward to.

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About the Contributor
Micah Fenner
Micah Fenner, Writer
Hi! I'm Micah, and I'm a writer for the Ravine. Outside of school, I spend most of my time working at my local movie theater, playing games with friends, and spending time with my parents. This year's my first on the Ravine, and I hope you all enjoy the stories we share with you!

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