Summer Blockbusted 2020: A Week-By-Week “Best Of Summer” Movie Marathon

For 2020, the Summer Movie Season is now playing on a TV screen very near you.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, movie theaters will be closed for at least the first two months of Summer 2020 and possibly beyond.

Yes, some major titles are still scheduled to open from mid-July through August, but that could easily change depending on how our country’s state-by-state reopening efforts go. More shifts and delays to the release schedule could happen. Even in a best-case scenario, we’ll see only a handful of blockbuster titles between now and Labor Day.

Our Summer Movie Season has been blockbusted.

Now, in a world of social distancing, one critic will risk an Indiana Jones style gamble and make this up as he goes.

Starting on Friday May 1, I will kick off Summer Blockbusted 2020: A “Best of Summer” Movie Marathon.

Every Friday from May through August, week-by-week, I will curate a list of classic summer movies that are “now playing” on TV screens at domestic multiplex.

The weekly lists will follow these guidelines:

  • The movies have to be summer movies, meaning they opened in the summer
  • More specifically, each week’s list will pull from summer movie titles that opened on that specific weekend (or, at least, in the weekend’s ballpark). For example, the only options for the third weekend of June will be movies that opened during or around the third weekend of June.
  • The archive of options will go back to 1975 but no further. That was the summer that marked the first true Summer Blockbuster as we know it: Jaws.
    • As a consequence, most of May’s pre-Memorial Day choices will favor films released in the year 1999 and after. Prior to this millennium, the summer movie season didn’t kick off until Memorial Day. That all started to change, however, on May 7, 1999 when Brendan Fraser’s The Mummy opened to huge success. A year later on May 5, 2000, Gladiator solidified that one-time anomaly, proving that the summer movie season could indeed begin sooner and thrive while doing it.
    • From Memorial Day onward, a greater mix of late 20th Century titles will emerge in the weekly offerings.
  • Your average Summer Movie weekend sees anywhere from 3 to 5 new movies open. I had initially planned to limit my weekly options to that range, but there’s just so many to choose from that I’ll cheat with occasional double (or triple) feature recommendations, or just expand to 6 or 7 as I see fit. The main goal is to provide variety and history.
  • Movies of all kinds will be listed, whether big budget classics or small counter-programming indies, or drama and comedy gems somewhere in-between.
  • I plan to highlight key movie anniversaries (20th, 25th, 50th, etc.), but also ping your radars with films that you may not have heard of (or just barely), or always thought about getting around to but never have. Now you can.

I will also include video clips of Siskel & Ebert reviews (or by Ebert & Roeper) when possible, even if I disagree with either of their takes. It’s fun to look back and hear first impressions on movies before they became whatever they became.

While it won’t be a challenge for me to come up with 3 to 5 movies each week, if you have suggestions that you’d like me to consider please send them my way. You can email your requests to: icantunseethatmovie@gmail.com

2 thoughts on “Summer Blockbusted 2020: A Week-By-Week “Best Of Summer” Movie Marathon

  1. Didn’t the move to the first week of May begin in 1999, with The Mummy? I remember the fact that it opened a few weeks before The Phantom Menace, and was a huge success in doing so, was a big deal at the time.

    1. It was the first Friday but not the first full weekend. May 1 & 2 of 1999 were the prior weekend’s Saturday/Sunday. That said, it feels like a bit of a technicality to deny that of THE MUMMY, particularly given its success. Will add it to the article. (Thank you, Peter!)

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