Pop Culture Happy Hour: Our 2016 Summer Movie Preview

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Left to right: Melissa McCarthy in Ghostbusters, Chris Evans in Captain America: Civil War, Ellen DeGeneres in Finding Dory, Will Smith and Jai Courtney in Suicide Squad. (Hopper Stone/Sony Pictures; Zade Rosenthal/Marvel; Courtesy of Pixar; Courtesy of Warner Bros./Raptac-Dune)
Left to right: Melissa McCarthy in Ghostbusters, Chris Evans in Captain America: Civil War, Ellen DeGeneres in Finding Dory, Will Smith and Jai Courtney in Suicide Squad. (Hopper Stone/Sony Pictures; Zade Rosenthal/Marvel; Courtesy of Pixar; Courtesy of Warner Bros./Raptac-Dune)

Just as the winter holiday season seems to arrive sooner and sooner every year, so goes the season for summer movie blockbusters. When Batman V. Superman came out in late March, it felt like the equivalent of picking out your Halloween costumes at a store that's already hawking tinsel. A few years ago, the first weekend in May became the de facto launch of summer-movie season — itself a move up from Memorial Day Weekend a while back — but this year has been different. Between BvS and the Jungle Book remake currently dominating the box office, another crowded blockbuster season is already underway.

Which is why we decided to push our own annual Summer Movie Preview into April, rather than wait until May and miss our window for making such bold predictions as, "Captain America: Civil War seems like it might make some money." So this week's panel — host Linda Holmes, Glen Weldon, producer emeritus Mike Katzif, and me — decided to get cracking on some previews and predictions. We broke our discussion into three categories: the summer movies we're most excited to see, the summer movies we think will make the most money, and the summer movies we think are most likely to become catastrophic boondoggles.

Without giving away too much of what we've picked for each round, I'll just say: Selections up for discussion range from the very obvious (Captain America, Ghostbusters, Finding Dory, Suicide Squad) to the less-obvious (a curiously long-awaited sequel to Independence Day) to the less-promising (Angry Birds, Warcraft) to the even-less-obvious (Swiss Army Man, in which Daniel Radcliffe plays a farting corpse). I've got a bold prediction for my boondoggle, which I justify with unifying theories and metrics and data and whatnot, because I am nothing if not rigorously scientific. And naturally, because you can't discuss summer movies without talking franchises, we reference a past episode of PCHH about recycling old movies; you can find it here.

Finally, we close the show, as always, with What's Making Us Happy this week. I'm excited about joining the leading edge of technology circa 2011 by joining Instagram — visit my dumb feed here — and have kind words for the dozens of hours I've spent watching an animated sitcom with my family in recent weeks. Glen has many thoughts on a new comic book's look at an old superhero. Mike is thrilled about the new album by an old (un)reliable. Linda announces plans for a little bonus episode we're putting together for NPR One (to which we encourage you to subscribe!), and tells you how you can participate in the project. And, inspired by a planned reboot of the website that launched her writing, she encourages you to seek out a very special episode of a podcast by said website's founders.

Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter: me, Linda, Glen, Mike and producer Jessica.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright NPR. View this article on npr.org.