The clocks have gone forward and people are once again leaving the warmth of London's pubs to stand outside on the pavement with their alcoholic beverages. It would also usually mean that we're getting close to summer blockbuster season but this year it's already well under way, with the release of Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice in late-March. As it closes in on £40million it has set a big benchmark, but what coming over the next few months is going to challenge it? Here are the biggest films we can look forward to over the warmer months.
When it was announced that Batman V Superman and Captain America: Civil War were going to be released in such close proximity, the comic book community nearly went into meltdown. Not only were we going to find out who would win out of Batman and Superman and Captain America and Iron Man, Marvel and DC were put in direct competition too. Whatever happens in Civil War it should comfortably be the biggest Captain America film of all time, as Steve Rogers is joined by a whole host of other Avengers, including first appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for Black Panther and Spider-Man.
If the members of the Justice League and the Avengers aren't enough for you, the X-Men are back in May, and this time they're facing the threat of Apocalypse. Thankfully, lightening all the doom and gloom, is the fact that Apocalypse is played by the ultra-dashing, Oscar Isaac, who can make us swoon even when he's buried deep beneath blue make up. The last X-Men film was the biggest to date, expect this one to perform similarly.
Alice Through The Looking Glass has a strong May half term release date and after Alice in Wonderland banked a mighty £42million in the UK in 2010, it has a tough act to follow. Thankfully, the choice of James Bobin (The Muppets) as director looks to be a sound one and the top notch cast, including Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp and Anne Hathaway, has returned.
Independence Day was the biggest film of 1996. I remember losing sleep with excitement over seeing it. It may not have lived up to my impossibly high expectations, but it was one of the first films to deliver the citywide destruction that is the standard for most modern summer blockbusters. The best news about this sequel is that Jeff Goldblum is back on the big screen, and anyone who has seen the recent Curry's ads will know how overdue his return is.
The year's big new animation looks likely to come from the people who brought us the not-in-any-way annoyingly ubiquitous Minions. The trailers for The Secret Life of Pets have been a knockout, easily communicating the concept and delivering big laughs along the way. A prime late-June release date means this could rival the much-vaunted bigger animated titles later in the summer.
There are two types of people posting on the internet about the brand new all-female Ghostbusters. Those who are super-psyched about a brilliantly cast action comedy from the best US comedy director currently working. And those who are wrong. Paul Feig is the man behind Freaks and Geeks, Bridesmaids, The Heat and Spy - the best comedy of 2015. Any new film from him is cause for celebration.
With J.J. Abrams delivering a squillion dollars to Disney with Star Wars, the rejuvenated Star Trek series has been left for someone else to steer to uncharted sections of the galaxy. Justin Lin is the man who has taken up the challenge and he turned a franchise about muscle-cars starring Vin Diesel into a billion dollar-plus property, so he must know what he's doing.
A good bet for the biggest live-action film of the summer, is The BFG. If you're making a big budget fantasy adventure of a much loved novel that appeals to all ages, your number one choice of director should be Steven Spielberg. Add in the screenwriter of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, the most iconic film composer of all time and a first-rate cast and you have a blockbuster package that can't be rivalled this summer.
Hands down the front-runner for the best straight up action film of the year is Jason Bourne. Forget The Bourne Legacy, admittedly not that hard, this is Matt Damon back as Bourne, with Paul Greengrass, the director of Supremacy and Ultimatum back directing. Add Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel and Tommy Lee Jones to the cast and it's quite frankly unmissable.
A rule that I live my life by that has served me well since the release of Finding Nemo in 2003 is, if you ever meet someone who doesn't like Finding Nemo, don't be friends with them. I re-watched it a couple of months ago and it's just as charming, funny and beautiful to look at as it was when it was first released. Also, Dory is the most liked Pixar character on Facebook, which I find is a great ice-breaker in awkward conversations.
August is deep into summer school holidays and although another superhero film has filled the slot occupied by Fantastic Four last year, the casting and trailers for DC Comics' Suicide Squad makes it clear that another Fantastic Four-style disappointment is not on the cards, and it could easily eclipse Batman V Superman to become the DC film 2016 is remembered for.
The stand-out superhero film of the summer though is something bit closer to home. Berkshire, in fact. David Brent is one of the greatest comic creations of all time and still Ricky Gervais's crowning achievement. He gets his own feature in David Brent: Life On The Road and while Gervais's output has varied wildly since the release of The Office, his Brent work has remained remarkably high quality and I have dreamed of a day when David Brent makes a triumphant return. This summer, Ricky Gervais can make that dream come true, to, AKA, for you (and me).
I think that's a pretty decent selection of films to watch on the big screen this summer. When the sun is out, the lure of parks and beer gardens is strong but once again cinema has the tools to fight it.