How original are 2017’s summer blockbuster movies?

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Updated on December 10, 2021

It’s time for my annual look at what blockbuster movies are coming out this summer, and seeing how original they are.


Oriental Theater
Oriental Theater in Milwaukee. Photo by Anthony Dean.

My criteria for “originality” is taken from an episode of the 90s animated TV series “The Critic.” In that episode, series star Jay Sherman stated one should skip seeing a film if it’s:

  1. Based on a TV show.
  2. After Roman numeral II.
  3. A remake of a classic.

While a lot of 90s films were sequels or based on TV shows, films these days can be based on video games, superhero comics, and more. There’s also a lot more reboots.

The film information below is taken from Box Office Mojo; the films listed are major releases opening between the first weekend of May and final weekend of August. I assume superhero movies are based on the original comics, versus reboots of a previous series of comic films. (Granted, as far as the public’s concerned, superheroes are mainly movie/TV/video game characters, and not comic book ones.) I also assume films based on public domain material (like King Arthur) are OK for as many revamps and versions as desired.


  • Guardians of the Galaxy, vol. 2
  • King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
  • Lowriders
  • Snatched
  • Everything, Everything
  • Captain Underpants
  • Wonder Woman
  • It Comes at Night
  • 47 Meters Down. Figure it’d be named “154 Feet Down” or “51 Yards Down” for metric-system-phobic American audiences, but apparently not.
  • All Eyez On Me
  • Rough Night
  • The House
  • Wish Upon
  • Baby Driver
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming. There’s other Spidey films, but this one’s the first in a series of films that’re part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so I’ll count it as a “pass.”
  • Dunkirk
  • Girls Trip
  • Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
  • Atomic Blonde
  • The Emoji Movie
  • An Inconvenient Sequel
  • The Dark Tower
  • Midnight Sun
  • Annabelle: Creation. It seems to be a spin-off of “The Conjuring” films, so I’ll let it pass.
  • The Hitman’s Bodyguard
  • The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature
  • All Saints
  • Polaroid
  • Tulip Fever
  • Villa Capri


  • Alien: Covenant. It’s a second prequel (and “Alien” film number eight by this point).
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul. It’s a part 4.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. It’s a part five.
  • Baywatch. Based on the TV show.
  • The Mummy. A “Mummy” reboot.
  • Cars 3. It’s a part three.
  • Transformers: The Last Knight. It’s a part six.
  • Amityville: The Awakening. It’s a sequel to a remake/the fifth film in the whole series.
  • Despicable Me 3. It’s a part three.
  • War for the Planet of the Apes. It’s the second sequel to a remake of the original film.


That’s 30 films out of 40 that pass, or 75%, down from last year‘s 79%. A lot of sequels (and prequels) this year.

What films do you plan on watching this summer?

Anthony Dean

Anthony Dean is the owner of Diverse Tech Geek and Diverse Media Notes.

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