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This Summer’s Must-See Movies and Film Events

Being in Toronto, we’re lucky to be surrounded by such a deeply embedded and diverse film culture. You can always cure a rainy day by seeing what’s on at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, or by catching a flick at your local historical cinema. Lucky for Toronto, this summer is full of a ton of film events, including festivals, outdoor cinemas, and upcoming films that are sure to be a hit. Many of these events are also free to attend.

Checkout our complete list of summer film entertainment below.

This Indie88 feature is presented with Thornbury Village Craft Apple Cider.


Wonder Woman

Release: June 2nd

DC is back with a promising new flick. When Diana, Princess of the Amazons, leaves Themyscira, she takes on the task of ending all wars while also discovering herself as Wonder Woman. Word on the street (aka Twitter) is that this movie is actually pretty good, leading us to believe that all hope might not have been lost after Suicide Squad.


Spider-Man: Homecoming

Release: July 7th

Wishing to become one of the Avengers, Peter Parker returns as Spider-Man under the mentorship of Tony Stark aka Iron Man.



Atomic Blonde

Release: July 28th

Charlize Theron returns to the big screen as yet another kick-ass character in Atomic Blonde. This time around she’s a spy, and judging by the trailer, the movie will be stacked with heavy action sequences that will leave you clinging to your popcorn bag.



Release: August 4th

If you’re in the mood for a real American crime drama, this film is based on Detroit’s 1967 12th Street Riot, which happens to be coming into its 50th anniversary this year.


Wind River

Release: August 4th

Two agents have to fight against the elements when a body is discovered at the Wind River Indian Reservation.


Band Aid

Release: June 2nd

This comedy is about a couple that turns their fights into music. It debuted earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival and promises to be quite the comedic directorial debut for director Zoe Lister-Jones.


Ingrid Goes West

Release: August 11th

Another anticipated film with Elizabeth Olsen (she’s also in Wind River) this drama-comedy was directed by Matt Spicer and tells the story of a young woman who moves to Los Angeles to become friends with a social media influencer that she follows. She kind of loses herself in the process.


The Bad Batch

Release: June 23rd

This film’s Wikipedia description reads: A dystopian love story in a Texas wasteland and set in a community of cannibals. If that doesn’t convince you to watch this movie I don’t know what will.


The Big Sick

Release: June 23rd

This autobiographical film was written by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, who tell the story in the film of their own courtship, which wasn’t immediately accepted by Nanjiani’s family. Unhappy parents and the power of love make for a solid rom-com recipe.


The Mummy

Release: June 9th

The Mummy is back, this time with Tom Cruise instead of Brendan Fraser. When a pissed off princess is accidentally awakened from her tomb, hell on Earth is taken in a more literal sense.


Cars 3

Release: June 16th

Your favourite Pixar-mobiles are back for a third film. Take a break from serious indie flicks this summer and let Disney remind you what it was like to be a kid.


Baby Driver

Release: June 28th

After a childhood accident, a getaway driver named Baby listens to music to heighten his performance. Alas, love interrupts his professional streak and Baby decides he wants a normal life, which means betraying his hard-ass boss (Kevin Spacey).


War for the Planet of the Apes

Release: July 14th

Judging by the war-to-end-all-wars plot, we’re thinking this might be the last. Money talks, though.



Release: July 21st

Set during WWII, this film explores the Dunkirk evacuation, which was the real life evacuation of allied soldiers that took place from Dunkirk, France. The film apparently contains little dialogue, and tells the story through the perspectives of the air, the land, and the sea.



Release: September 8th

Pennywise is back in this remake of the Stephen King based 1990 mini-series IT. Filmed in Oshawa and Toronto, this classic horror story is perfect for a little end-of-summer scare.



Dark Tower

Release: August 4th

This film is a continuation of the Stephen King novel by the same name and tells the story of Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), a gunslinger who is charged with the responsibility of protecting the mythical and omnipresent Dark Tower


Book of Henry

Release: June 16th

Starring Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher, Jacob Tremblay, Sarah Silverman, Lee Pace, Maddie Ziegler and Dean Norris, Book of Henry is a film about a young boy who devises a plan to save a girl he likes from her stepfather.


Brigsby Bear

Release: July 28th

This comedy-drama is about the bizarre story of a child who was taken and raised by kidnapper parents who only ever exposed him to a fictional kid’s show character named Brigsby Bear. Brigsby Bear is literally the only thing the child grows up knowing, so when he’s finally rescued and brought into the real world, he creates a film about Brigsby Bear to tell his story.


Toronto LGBT film festival

When: May 25th – June 4th

Inside Out’s LGBT Film Festival has been running since 1991 and takes place over a span of 11 days at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. The festival’s main objective is to bring a series of films created by the LGBT community to Toronto, and it currently sits as one of the top five LGBT film festivals in the world. This year’s highlight films include Sebastian, Hooked, and God’s Own Country. Take a look at this year’s schedule here.


Italian Contemporary Film Fest

When: June 8th – 16th

Coming into its sixth year running, the Italian Contemporary Film Fest celebrates the best in contemporary Italian cinema. This year, the festival will be taking place in six Canadian cities, including Toronto, Vaughan, Hamilton, Montreal, Québec City and Vancouver. Toronto’s screenings will take place at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Click here to see the full schedule.

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Christie Pits Film Festival

When: Every Sunday from June 25th – August 20th

The Christie Pits Film Festival offers a unique experience for Torontonians to experience cinema in the great outdoors. Every Sunday beginning in late June, Christie Pits Park will be playing a film outside. Admission is free, and this year’s theme is “films about competition and beating the odds.” See here for this year’s summer schedule.


Toronto Beaches Film Festival

When: September 7th – 9th

Finish the summer off with an outdoor film festival at our very own Beaches. This unique festival is fairly new to the city but is quickly gaining popularity, because who doesn’t enjoy hanging out and watching a flick by the lake? This year’s submissions are still open, so the film lineup has yet to be announced.


Scarborough Worldwide Film Festival

When: June 6th – 11th

This year’s SWFF will feature 20 films from multiple countries, including Canada, USA, Iran, Chile, Croatia, India, Spain, Egypt, China, Denmark, and Georgia. Events will take place at University of Toronto Scarborough, Albert Campbell Square, Scarborough Arts, Fox Theatre, and Scarborough Bluffer’s Park, and five out of 11 public screenings will be offered for free. Click here to see this year’s lineup.


Canadian Sport Film Fest

When: June 9th – 11th

This one is for the sports fans. The CSFF offers a unique lineup of films that wouldn’t normally be available elsewhere and uses the world of sport to “inspire social change.” Click here to view this year’s schedule.


Harbourfront’s Free Flicks

When: TBA

Enjoy a film by the lake this year at Harbourfront’s Free Flicks. Throughout the summer, films are screened at Harbourfront for the free enjoyment of anyone in the city. This year’s schedule is still under construction, but you can stay up-to-date by registering with your email here.


Open Roof Festival

When: Starting June 27th

This cinema event occurs weekly throughout the summer and takes place at 99 Sudbury St. Although it’s not a free outdoor cinema, this event is volunteer-driven and profits are donated towards Canadian film and music initiatives. Open Roof opens every film with a live band, as well as games, snacks, and beer. This year’s event will return June 27, although the schedule is still TBA.


Sail-In Cinema

When: TBA

Every August Sugar Beach is transformed into an outdoor cinema, hosting a two-sided screen mounted in the water in Toronto Harbour to provide a view for both the audience on shore and the boats in the harbour. This event is free to attend, and this year’s dates have not been announced.

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City Cinema

When: Every Wednesday from June 28th – August 30th

Every Wednesday evening Yonge-Dundas Square will be transformed into an outdoor cinema courtesy of City Cinema. The films tend to be popular Hollywood favourites and movies begin at sundown. Click here for this year’s schedule.

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Under the Stars

When: Every Wednesday from July 12th to August 16th (rain date: August 23)

Grab a blanket and some snacks and relax at Regent Park every Wednesday night this summer beginning July 12. This event is completely free, and also provides activities such as yoga and pickup games before sundown. The schedule is TBA but click here for more information.

Stay tuned to Indie88.com over the next few weeks for our entire Guide to Summer series.
Up next: Toronto’s Best Patios (Monday, June 5)

Your cider for the summer: Thornbury Premium Cider is a truly original Canadian cider that tastes like a traditional English cider: dry, crisp and premium.


Lead image via Diana Maclean Photography

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