We are just weeks away from the summer blockbuster season, where hot days mean cool afternoons spent in an air-conditioned theaters. This year, there are quite a few women-centric films to get us running to the ticket booth — so if an ensemble heist film isn’t for you, there are plenty of options to choose from.
This year, the focus on women is even more important after #MeToo and the Time’s Up movement emerged in Hollywood. Women reclaimed their power and took steps to rectify decades of sexual harassment, pay inequality and lack of representation and diversity. We’ve seen women’s marches at the Sundance Film Festival, we’ve seen protests on the red carpet led by Cate Blanchett and Kristen Stewart at the Cannes Film Festival, and hopefully, we will see women lining up to buy tickets to some of the hottest films starring women on the big screen.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most recognizable faces and new emerging female stars to look out for this summer at the movies.
The female stars of Ocean’s 8
If you haven’t heard about this heist film yet, get ready, because it’s about to become one of the biggest box office films of the summer. Ocean’s 8 is an ensemble film featuring some of Hollywood’s best and brightest stars: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna and Awkwafina. We aren’t the only ones who are overwhelmed by this fangirl-worthy cast, either; Paulson was also completely giddy working with Rihanna every day.
“It was sort of a daily struggle not to embarrass myself because every time I looked at her, I was like, ‘Work, work, work, work, work, work,’” she told Ellen DeGeneres recently. “It’s just deeply nerdy, and [Bullock] would just constantly look at me like, ‘Hey, dial it down. Just stop.’ And I’d be like, ‘What? I gotta just do it.’”
Ocean’s 8 will be released on June 8.
We don’t think we need to say much more: Cher is back on the big screen! This time it’s Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! We don’t know if this movie will be a train wreck or a delicious distraction from the summer heat. We don’t really care. It’s Cher and ABBA — that’s epic. And, oh yeah, Meryl Streep. See? It’s worth buying a ticket.
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! opens on July 20.
The women of Crazy Rich Asians
This 2013 best-selling novel by Kevin Kwan focuses on a Chinese American professor who travels with her boyfriend to Singapore for a wedding. Her fish-out-of-water experience humorously showcases the lives of a wealthy family, a boyfriend with a playboy past and a few dark family secrets.
Every Asian actor in the entertainment industry was clamoring for a role in this film because of the sharp writing and that fact that an all-Asian cast is so rare in Hollywood. Look for Constance Wu, Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, Michelle Yeoh and Awkwafina (again!) to light up the box office when Crazy Rich Asians is released on Aug. 17.
The women are also ready for all of America to finally know their names because they’ve all been working hard in less visible roles.
“You hear the words representation and diversity,” Wu explained at CinemaCon in April. “People want to see that. But what’s special about this film is it differentiates Asians from the Asian-American experience. A lot of times, they think putting in a face of color and filling a quota. Our culture is more than skin deep. When you talk about representation, it can seem really serious, but our film is really fun.”
You probably weren’t expecting an actor playing an animated character to make this list, but Pixar’s long-awaited sequel to the Incredibles is here and it’s all about Elastigirl/Helen, voiced by Holly Hunter. It’s hard for any mom to balance work and life at home with a husband and kids, and that’s exactly what Elastigirl/Helen is struggling with — she’s just like us!
Hunter told EW that her character explores a side that audiences haven’t seen before. She says Elastigirl/Helen has discovered “a real incredible sense of competitiveness and ambition. She throws down the gauntlet in this one. It’s so much fun to see a woman luxuriating in those two arenas, because women have for so many generations been brought up to not be ambitious or to not be competitive, and it’s fun to see Helen basking in those two arenas in much the same way that we give men license to do.”
Incredibles 2 will be released on June 15.
We tragically lost Whitney Houston in 2012 to an accidental drowning, but she’s still going to be a hot topic at the box office this summer. The rise of this incredible talent and her dark fall from grace is chronicled in a new documentary, Whitney, which premiered this month at the Cannes Film Festival.
The film is going to tackle all of the questions we still have about Whitney and her life, from her rumored relationship with Robyn Crawford to her toxic relationship with husband Bobby Brown.
“There were always a lot of secrets,” Whitney’s friend says in the trailer. “If you don’t resolve and deal with things, they never go away.”
The film has the cooperation and blessing of the Houston family, and it’s still a wonder to hear her incredible voice. What a talent we lost.
Whitney will be released on July 6.
Mila Kunis & Kate McKinnon
There’s nothing better than a female buddy comedy. That’s what Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon will deliver in The Spy Who Dumped Me this summer. They are amateur — really amateur — spies, thanks to an ex-boyfriend of Kunis’ character who is in the CIA and drags the dynamic duo into an international conspiracy.
From the trailer alone, this is the comedic team we didn’t know we needed. From failing miserably at driving a stick shift to swallowing a flash drive, these ladies are delivering a hilarious action adventure. Get ready for the film when it’s released on Aug. 3.
It’s hard to keep up with all of the superhero movies coming our way, but when women are headlining a Marvel movie, count us in! Ant-Man and the Wasp gives more female strength and power to the Marvel universe, and if you’ve seen Avengers: Infinity War, the universe could use some help. Let’s go support Evangeline at the box office so we see more female standalone movies — it can’t just be Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel.
So, get out there this summer, sip a cool drink in the theater and buy a ticket to see your favorite female star. It’s good to let Hollywood know we appreciate inclusive and diverse stories.