The pandemic is slowly winding down as vaccines roll out, and it’s time for us to look ahead to the movies of Spring and Summer 2021!
For some of you, movies never really went away. Congratulations! But for the rest of us, local theaters have been sitting empty for more than a year and going to the movies is a long-forgotten privilege that we’re excited to do once more soon. Thankfully, the big-name films are starting to roll out, and it’s time for us to decide what our first post-vaccination film is gonna be.
As a reminder, ‘fully vaccinated’ means two weeks have passed since your second dose for Moderna or Pfizer, and two weeks after a single dose of J&J. For me, that means I’ll be comfortable heading back to the theaters in June, but a lot of you are ahead of schedule, so I’m going to start this list with May! Which movies will be heading our way just in time for the fully vaccinated to get out and live a little bit again? Let’s look at our choices!
Spiral: From the Book of Saw
Are you a Saw fanatic? Congratulations! One of the first post-vaccination movies is going to be the next installment in the franchise. This movie has been delayed an entire year for the pandemic to lighten up enough for a theatrical opening. This will be an exclusive big-screen debut, so if you won’t be ready to venture out in the world yet, this may be a tricky one to go see.
A sadistic mastermind unleashes a twisted form of justice in SPIRAL, the terrifying new chapter from the book of SAW. Working in the shadow of an esteemed police veteran (Samuel L. Jackson), brash Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks (Chris Rock) and his rookie partner (Max Minghella) take charge of a grisly investigation into murders that are eerily reminiscent of the city’s gruesome past. Unwittingly entrapped in a deepening mystery, Zeke finds himself at the center of the killer’s morbid game.
Those Who Wish Me Dead
If you’ll be fully vaccinated by mid-May and want your first film to be an Angelina Jolie in a survival-action-thriller film, this is the one you should choose. This title will also be released on HBO Max, so if you aren’t quite ready to step out in the world, you have some options with this one.
A smoke jumper and a 12-year-old boy fight for their lives as two assassins pursue them through the wilderness.
Army of the Dead
If you’re vaxxed mid-March and want to get out, but the offerings so far aren’t your thing, may I offer you some zombies instead? A zombie film… with a HEIST?! This premise is absolutely off the wall, so if you’re up for a post-apocalyptic heist adventure to take your mind off of our own post-apocalyptic world, this is an excellent choice. Army of the Dead will also be released on Netflix, however, so those who aren’t quite fully vaxed can enjoy it from home. That would be me, actually. I’ll only be one week post 2nd dose of Moderna, so I won’t be ready to head out to the movies just yet.
After a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries takes the ultimate gamble by venturing into the quarantine zone for the greatest heist ever.
A Quiet Place Part II
The first A Quiet Place was an absolutely phenomenal film so I’m excited to see where this goes. May 28th will be exactly two weeks after my second vaccine, so there’s a chance this could be my first film in theaters. I haven’t decided which film will get that honor yet, but this is the first one that could be it! This movie will also stream on Paramount+ 45 days later, so if you can’t get out at the end of May, you’ll need to wait, but you will have the option of seeing it from home quicker than normal.
Following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.
Like Raya and the Last Dragon and Mulan, this film will be released simultaneously on Disney+ with Premiere Access. That means you’ll need to pay about $30 to access the film at home, but if you’re just one or two people and you’re all vaxed up, head on out to a theater!
The Conjuring III
Another franchise that’s been waiting for the pandemic to lift so that they could release their next installment, The Conjuring III will come out right at the start of June. If you’ve been a fan of this horror franchise and will be vaccinated by early June, this is an excellent choice for you!
The Devil Made Me Do It reveals a chilling story of terror, murder and unknown evil that shocked even experienced real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. One of the most sensational cases from their files, it starts with a fight for the soul of a young boy, then takes them beyond anything they’d ever seen before, to mark the first time in U.S. history that a murder suspect would claim demonic possession as a defense.
Wow. There’s been a lot of horror films on this list. How about something for the kids? Spirit Untamed may be the best choice for you.
A girl and her new friends must save a herd of wild mustangs from rustlers.
June 4th is going to be an incredibly busy weekend! We get this interesting superhero film on this date as well.
A young boy comes to the realization that a famed superhero, who was thought to have gone missing after an epic battle twenty years ago, may in fact still be around.
Dylan O’Brien fans, where you at? He’s got a mystery film coming out on June 4th so go get vaxed ASAP so you don’t miss out!
In The Heights
This will likely be my first film back in theaters if I don’t head out for A Quiet Place Part II. This is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first hit musical before his Hamilton days. It’s very exciting! This one will also be available on HBO Max on the same day, but I’m heading out to the theater to support it if I can.
Lights up on Washington Heights… The scent of a cafecito caliente hangs in the air just outside of the 181st Street subway stop, where a kaleidoscope of dreams rallies this vibrant and tight-knit community. At the intersection of it all is the likeable, magnetic bodega owner Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), who saves every penny from his daily grind as he hopes, imagines and sings about a better life.
F9/Fast & Furious 9
Fast & Furious stans get to join in the ‘returning of my favorite franchise’ fun with another installment in the saga. Congrats!
Dominic Toretto and his crew join forces to battle the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they’ve ever encountered — his forsaken brother.
The Tomorrow War
In the mood for militaristic science fiction? The Tomorrow War might be your best choice! Be advised that this stars Chris Pratt, though, so if you’re like me, that might be a bit iffy. The rest of y’all have fun though.
The fate of a futuristic war rests upon one man’s abilities to confront the ghosts of his past. Humanity is losing to an alien invasion, so to fight back, scientists develop a way to draft soldiers from the past to fight the war.
The Forever Purge
If you want some science fiction without the Chris Pratt issue, or you’d rather lean more dystopian than militaristic, try this film instead! It has also been sitting on a shelf for a year, like a lot of others, due to the pandemic.
Following the presidential elections from the last year and abolition of the Purge, a Mexican couple escaping from a drug cartel is stranded on a Texas ranch. There, they will be at the mercy of a group of outsiders who plan to unlawfully continue their own Purge, and turn against the couple to eliminate them.
I’m definitely going to be seeing this one in theaters even though it’ll also be available on Disney+ Premiere Access the same day. I’ve waited too long for a Black Widow film. Whether this is my first film back in theaters, or I get out for A Quiet Place II or In The Heights remains to be seen.
Following the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016), Natasha Romanoff finds herself alone and forced to confront a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Romanoff must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.
Space Jam: A New Legacy
We’ve been waiting for this film for 25 years, guys. Twenty-five years!!
When basketball champion and global icon LeBron James and his young son Dom (Cedric Joe) – who dreams of being a video game developer rather than follow his father’s footsteps as a basketball player – are find themselves trapped in Serververse, a virtual space that is ruled by a rogue A.I. named Al-G Rhythm (Don Cheadle), LeBron must save his son and get them home safe by leading Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Lola Bunny and the whole gang of notoriously undisciplined Looney Tunes to win a basketball match against Al-G’s digitized champions on the court, the Goon Squad: a powered-up roster of professional basketball stars as you’ve never seen them before. It’s Tunes versus Goons in the highest-stakes challenge of his life, that will redefine LeBron’s bond with his son and shine a light on the power of being yourself.
The Jungle Cruise
Since movie theaters are back, it’s only right that Disney starts getting back to their ‘turning popular rides into movies’ thing they’ve got going on. For better or worse, this is happening.
Set during the early 20th century, a riverboat captain named Frank takes a scientist and her brother on a mission into a jungle to find the Tree of Life which is believed to possess healing powers. All the while, the trio must fight against dangerous wild animals and a competing German expedition.
Movie Theater Safety Tips
So you’re headed to the movies and you’re fully vaccinated, but you aren’t sure if you should be taking additional precautions. Don’t fear! I’ve got some for you. The following guidelines are based on the CDC Guideline as they are posted on April 26th, 2021, and could change by the time May, June, or July rolls around, so check out the website yourself for updates.
Wait Until You Are Fully Vaccinated
Please wait until two weeks after your final dose (second dose for Moderna and Pfizer, single-dose for J&J) before heading out to a crowded place like a movie theater.
Wear A Mask
At this time, the common rule is to continue wearing a mask while indoors with other people. If everyone in the room is vaccinated, you can visit without them, but movie theaters are usually packed with strangers so unless you’ve rented out one for just you and your fully vaccinated friends, please continue to wear a mask. Yes, this will hinder your casual eating and drinking during the flick, but that’s just our reality right now.
Please check with the theater you’re going to to see what their specific guidelines are. Some may allow for temporarily removing masks to eat or drink, but some might not let you remove them at all. Their rules are also likely to become more laxed as more people get vaccinated.
Be Socially Distant
Right now, most theaters are forcing one or two spaces between groups when reserving seats. Honestly, I hope this trend continues after the pandemic is over! But right now, just try to stay a little bit apart from others both in the theater and when you’re in line for concessions.
If You Don’t Feel Well, Stay Home
If you’re vaccinated, your chances of getting COVID-19 are incredibly low, but none of the vaccines are 100% effective. That means if you aren’t feeling well, just stay home. Besides, it might be something else other than COVID, so let’s just be nice to our fellow moviegoers and try our best to not get them sick with anything.
What will your first movie be when theaters open back up? Tell us in the comments.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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