For many moviegoers, the selection of summer movies has been one of the most mixed in recent memory. Some films have proven to be dreadful misfires (ahem, Independence Day: Resurgence) and some of the most satisfying releases have turned out to be smaller ones that audiences need to track down to see. Sure, the year’s highest-grossing film is the rare exception of a mega-hit that actually works (Finding Dory), but by and large, it’s been rough out there at the local multiplex.
In our due diligence to report our pop cultural findings, we’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of the weakest, least entertaining films to hit theaters in summer 2016. Again, it’s not that there aren’t great movies out there, it’s simply that none of these are even remotely close to qualifying as must-see films. Apologies in advance to any defenders of the following titles.
1. The Darkness (released May 13)
Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of this horror film, as it only grossed a paltry $10 million domestically. Despite the presence of actors like Kevin Bacon and Radha Mitchell, terrible reviews and an even more dreadful script crippled the film’s chances at the box office. Luckily, those searching for a scare this summer were subsequently rewarded by The Shallows, The Conjuring 2, and Lights Out. At least The Darkness provides fuel for Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. That’s a silver lining.
2. The Angry Birds Movie (released May 20)
Even though the film Warcraft may have its defenders, we still say that this year has been rough on video game movies in general. This one — based on that app everyone was obsessed with years ago — has finally been given the big-screen treatment, and it’s just as light on plot as you might think. A gifted cast of comedy stars is squandered on terrible pun after terrible pun in this mind-numbing mess masquerading as an adventure for the whole family. Can one of those irritable birds put us out of our misery already and toss us out of the theater?
3. Alice Through the Looking Glass (released May 27)
Even though Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland doesn’t have the strongest reputation among cinephiles, it still managed to bring in more than $1 billion worldwide. Thus, this Burton-less sequel was born. In the six years since its predecessor, any bit of charm and whimsy that might have existed in this world has slipped away, and the returning cast are left trying to keep a sinking ship afloat. Apparently, audiences thought Wonderland was so 2010, as this film was among the more surprising box office disappointments to hit theaters this year. Speaking of disappointments…
4. Independence Day: Resurgence (released on June 24)
1990s nostalgia is all the rage right now. After Jurassic World shocked the world with its monstrous $1.6 billion worldwide take, all eyes turned to this follow-up to the biggest hit of 1996 as the next big franchise return. Alas, the film was essentially dead on arrival, even with Jeff Goldblum doing his charming Jeff Goldblum thing. In hindsight, we bet that the team behind the film are wishing that they were able to convince Will Smith to return. As for Smith, he definitely dodged a bullet. We expect that Suicide Squad will outgross this one in its opening weekend alone.
5. The Secret Life of Pets (released on July 8)
We know, we know — this is one of the biggest hits of the year and a charming adventure for kids of all ages. It can’t be all that bad, right? Yes and no. While The Secret Life of Pets won audiences over with its fun premise and hysterical teaser trailer, the film is about as derivative as a family film can be. In fact, it reeks of studio product and quite blatantly rips off the far, far, far superior Toy Story trilogy in the process. Cute animals were done better in Zootopia earlier this year, leaving this Universal release with nothing to offer. Something more original please.
6. Ice Age: Collision Course (released on July 22)
While we’re on the subject of fresh ideas, can someone explain how five Ice Age films have happened? Now would normally be when we would explicate why this latest entry is worth avoiding, but considering how hard this film flopped domestically, it appears that the message has already been received loud and clear.
Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @CrookedTable
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