January, February, March — those were the dog days, when studios would dump the bad films onto audiences.
But this isn’t the case anymore.
The rules have changed. Blockbusters, like last weekend’s record-breaking “Deadpool,” can come out anytime. Even those supposed slow months at the cinema have something to look forward to.
Here’s a look at what the spring season has to offer, from the end of February to end of May.
THE HIGHLIGHT: “Triple 9.” John Hillcoat (“The Proposition,” “The Road”) directs this hard-boiled heist thriller starring Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Anthony Mackie and Kate Winslet. Hillcoat hasn’t disappointed yet, and this cast looks great. Early reviews have compared this to crime dramas like “Se7en” and “The French Connection.”
ALSO SHOWING: The Hugh Jackman drama “Eddie the Eagle,” and the aggressively white “Gods of Egypt.”
ON NETFLIX: Michelle Yeoh returns for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny,” the sequel to the Oscar winner from 2000.
THE HIGHLIGHT: “Zootopia.” A new comedy from Disney, this computer-animated effort features the voices of Jason Bateman, Ginnifer Goodwin and J.K. Simmons. Early trailers have been a hoot, and this could be the studio’s next biggest hit.
ALSO SHOWING: Praise be, it’s a sequel to the awful “Olympus Has Fallen”! — “London Has Fallen” stars Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart; Tina Fey’s war dramedy “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”; the action film “Desiertio,” starring Gael García Bernal; and Terrence Malick’s latest mumble-fest “Knight of Cups,” starring Christian Bale.
THE HIGHLIGHT: “10 Cloverfield Lane.” A mysterious spin-off of the cult hit monster movie “Cloverfield,” this one stars John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who is trapped in Goodman’s basement after a chemical attack has left the outside world uninhabitable. If it’s anything like it’s predecessor, this will be spooky good.
ALSO SHOWING: Sacha Baron Cohen (“Borat,” “Brüno”) returns in “The Brothers Grimsby”; Sean Bean (“Game of Thrones”) gets religious in “The Young Messiah,” a story about Jesus Christ.
THE HIGHLIGHT: “Midnight Special.” Director Jeff Nichols (“Mud,” “Take Shelter”) has carved quite the niche for Gothic, original, southern stories. His new sci-fi adventure stars Adam Driver (Kylo Ren in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”), Kirsten Dunst (“Fargo: Season Two”), and Michael Shannon (“Man of Steel”). The film is already getting comparisons to Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Count me in.ALSO SHOWING: “The Divergent Series: Allegiant,” which makes me wonder, “Is anyone actually seeing these films?”; Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah star in the drama “Miracles from Heaven”; the foul-mouthed comedy “The Bronze,” starring Melissa Rauch (“The Big Bang Theory”) and Gary Cole (“Office Space,” “Talladega Nights”); and the Lance Armstrong biopic “The Program,” starring Ben Foster (“The Finest Hours,” “Lone Survivor”).
THE HIGHLIGHT: “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” There’s no doubt that this movie will be ridiculous. But if it can be fun, then it could be good. Of course, this all depends on whether you can tolerate director Zack Snyder’s (“Watchmen,” “Man of Steel”) ludicrous style.
ALSO SHOWING: Oh, hey, Nina Vardalos, we kind of forgot about you … Oh, you’ve made “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2”? Well, OK! Tom Hiddleston stars as Hank Williams in the delayed biopic “I Saw the Light.”
THE HIGHLIGHT: “Green Room.” Director Jeremy Saulnier’s follow-up to the sleeper hit “Blue Ruin” follows a young punk rock band. While on the road, the band (filled out by Alia Shawkat and Anton Yelchin) get trapped in a venue after witnessing a horrifically violent act. File this under future cult classic.
ALSO SHOWING: Candidate for worst title ever, “God’s Not Dead 2,” (“God’s Still Not Dead” was obviously taken?); Mike Epps’ new comedy “Meet the Blacks”; Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis biopic “Miles Ahead”; Horror reboot “Amityville”; the action thriller “Collide,” starring Felicity Jones and Nicholas Hoult.
ALL RIGHT … ALL RIGHT … NO, SERIOUSLY, ALL RIGHT! “Everybody Wants Some” is director Richard Linklater’s follow-up to the 1993 ensemble comedy “Dazed and Confused.”
THE HIGHLIGHT: “The Boss.” Melissa McCarthy, of last year’s pretty funny “Spy,” has consistently proved she can lead a comedy. Here, she stars as Michelle Darnell, a once-powerful businesswoman who comes out of jail to help a slew of school girls. Hopefully, this is funny, but, please God, I don’t have the patience for another two-hour comedy.
ALSO SHOWING: Jake Gyllenhaal teams with director Jean-Marc Vallée (“Dallas Buyers Club”) for “Demolition”; Child-actor Jacob Tremblay follows “Room” with the horror film “Before I Wake,” co-starring Thomas Jane (!!!); “Hardcore Henry” is a first-person shooter video game, basically, starring Sharlto Copley and Tim Roth.
THE HIGHLIGHT: “The Jungle Book.” This one won’t win originality points. Director Jon Favreau ( “Iron Man,” “Chef”) is bringing Rudyard Kipling’s classic back to the silver screen with a live-action adaptation that’s full of CGI animals. Bill Murray voices Baloo, and Idris Elba voices Shere Khan.
ALSO SHOWING: Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer and Nicki Minaj star in “Barbershop: The Next Cut”; Ryan Reynolds (“Deadpool”) and Kevin Costner (“Field of Dreams,” son!) star in the action thriller with such an original title “Criminal.”
THE HIGHLIGHT: “Keanu.” Shot in New Orleans, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele’s comedy follows two friends trying to retrieve a stolen cat. If this is as hilarious as the duo’s sketch show “Key & Peele,” this will be a good time, indeed.
ALSO SHOWING: Did anyone really see that latest “Snow White and the Huntsman?” If you answered “yes,” then you’ll probably be first in line to see “The Huntsman Winter’s War,” which promises to be the most unnecessary sequel since “God’s Not Dead 2.”
NOT EVEN YOUR MOTHER WILL WANT TO SEE THIS: “Mother’s Day” is Garry Marshall’s latest holiday ensemble film, starring Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and Julia Roberts. It makes you wonder what these people did to Marshall to have to star in such drivel.
NOBODY WANTS TO COMPETE WITH THIS: “Captain America: Civil War.” Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) battle it out in this latest Marvel movie. If this were a DC movie, everyone would hate it.
THE HIGHLIGHT: “Snowden.” Joseph Gordon-Levitt (previously seen in “The Walk”) stars in Oliver Stone’s latest biopic about Edward Snowden. Hopefully, this is more “JFK”-era Stone, rather than “Alexander”-era.
HORROR HAS RUN OUT OF IDEAS, SO: Let’s do another “Friday the 13th” reboot!
THE HIGHLIGHT: “The Nice Guys.” What do you get when you mix writer/director Shane Black (“Lethal Weapon,” “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”) with Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling? My most anticipated film of the season. This action-comedy-noir looks amazing. Take my money, now.
ALSO SHOWING: “The Angry Birds Movie” will force parents to waste money; “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” will try to squeeze more money out of a college comedy that was so-so at best on its first go-round.
THE HIGHLIGHT: “X Men: Apocalypse.” It took seven tries, but the “X-Men” franchise finally got it right on “Days of Future Past.” Can they repeat the success? My bet is on “probably.” Oscar Isaac stars as the titular villain Apocalypse, and that’s a pretty good start for getting me in theaters.
ALSO SHOWING: Johnny Depp goes back to makeup and not really acting in the sequel “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” which also stars Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter.