May 11: Avengers: Infinity War
10 years since Iron Man, and the nineteenth movie from the Marvel Studios, Avengers: Infinity War could possibly be the biggest film of the year. Evidently, this is one for the fans, with overseas reviews stating that if you haven't watched any movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it will make zero sense to you. Directed by the Russo brothers, who were also responsible the recent two Captain American films, comedy series Community and Arrested Development, Infinity War takes place four years after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 & 2, and gathers pretty much all the previously introduced heroes to fight against the intergalactic demigod Thanos (played by Josh Brolin) who wants to curb the overpopulation issue with questionable practices. It's also the longest MCU movie to date, with one post-credits scene at the very end -- important to stick around for that, I've heard. Since its opening in the US, Infinity War has been doing really really well, praised highly by fans and critics. Early tickets for opening nights are already available for the China debut.
On the same day, last year's biographical drama Megan Leavey is also going to be released in the theater. It's supposed to be really good. Based on an uplifting and emotional true story that will make you like humans less and love dogs more. Don't overlook.
May 18: A Quiet Place
Totally didn't expect this one to receive a big, theatrical rollout in China. Directed by John Krasinski, and with his wife Emily Blunt playing lead, A Quiet Place is being favorably compared with other low-budget, high-profile thrillers such as Get Out and Don't Breathe. The movie was unexpectedly successful when it opened in the US. So what's it about? I'll borrow what Krasinski said when he pitched the story to his wife: "It's basically about a family who can't make any noise and you have to find out why." Sounds like a scenario I wish would happen at every cinema in Shanghai.
Meanwhile, also around then, the Shanghai Art Film Alliance has released their schedule from May 12 to 20. It features Fargo, Good Will Hunting, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, the Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and No Country for Old Men. All of the tickets are 80rmb, currently on sale at their screening location Shanghai Film Art Center, plus Taobao's Taopiaopiao app and Maoyan Movie.
May 25: Solo: A Star Wars Story
Unlike other recent Star Wars releases, the Han Solo film apparently has received a same-day release in China as it does in North America. The film has a relatively weak main cast, a floppy promotional schedule, and the director Ron Howard had to reshoot most of the movie after Phil Lord and Christopher Miller left the production last June -- because they wanted it to be funnier apparently. I have a bad feeling about this. But we'll find out more about it after its Cannes Film Festival screening on May 15. Before that, watch the trailer here.
Also on May 25, 2016's critically-acclaimed Italian drama Perfect Strangers (Perfetti Sconosciuti) is set to be released as well. Another one rumored to be imported in late May is last year's award-season darling I, Tonya.
June 15: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Looking ahead, another Disney film that will be hitting our cinema is the new Jurassic World, which will be released here one week earlier than in the US. The movie is led by Bryce Dallas Howard and Star Lord, and marks the return of Jeff Goldblum, who also played a Marvel character not so long ago in Thor. The film is said to have the most animatronic dinosaurs among all the Jurassic Park sequels, and it hired the same creative supervisor who has been working on all the new Star Wars movies for Lucasfilm. Following a similar ecological undertone as Infinity War, writer Colin Trevorrow has mentioned that the dinosaurs would be "a parable of the treatment animals receive today". From the trailer, Rexy seems to be in danger, her fate unknown; and Chris Pratt continues to be the alpha of the velociraptor pack, not sure what other things he's capable of doing this time to save the dinosaur island.
Bonus good news for movie fans: in June, we might also expect to see Sicario: Day of the Soldado; the Shanghai International Film Festival, which kicks off on May 16, is already announcing titles from their program, including one of the best documentaries of last year, Faces Places, and the attendance of its director, the "grandmother of French New Wave" Agnès Varda.