Writer Joseph J. Airdo // Photo Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Listen to the podcast version of this story, featuring interview soundbites and audio clips from this weekend’s new releases.

With Phoenix temperatures forecasted to reach triple digits for the first time this year, it is the perfect weekend to spend in air-conditioned comfort with a bag of luscious, buttery popcorn and an ice-cold beverage. Whether you prefer to take in the first of this summer’s many blockbusters on the big screen or to kick back and relax on your own couch, there are three new releases that are certain to entertain.

The summer movie season officially kicks off this weekend with the release of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” — the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Aspiring to push the superhero genre’s boundaries further than ever before, the film invites audiences to journey into the unknown with Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange, who, with the help of mystical allies both old and new, traverses the mind-bending and dangerous alternate realities of the Multiverse to confront a mysterious new adversary.

Elizabeth Olsen returns as Wanda Maximoff a.k.a the Scarlet Witch while the movie also features a number of surprises — such as a long-rumored cameo by Patrick Stewart, returning to one of the most memorable roles of his storied career. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is playing exclusively in theaters.

Moving to the small screen, HBO Max has debuted the first three installments of its eight-episode limited series “The Staircase,” which explores the life of Michael Peterson, his sprawling North Carolina family and the suspicious death of his wife, Kathleen Peterson.

Inspired by a true story, the series’ cast is led by Colin Firth and Toni Collette. Other stars include Juliette Binoche, Dane DeHaan, Rosemarie DeWitt, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Sophie Turner and Parker Posey. New episodes will debut weekly through June 9, exclusively on HBO Max.

Meanwhile, Mike Myers debuts a six-episode comedy series titled “The Pentaverate,” about a fictional secret society that was first mentioned in the actor’s 1993 film “So I Married an Axe Murderer.” The series comedically theorizes that five men have been working together to influence world events for the greater good since the Black Plague of 1347.

Myers plays an unlikely journalist who finds himself embroiled in a mission to uncover the truth and save the world. True to form, he also plays a number of other characters in the series, which is streaming exclusively on Netflix.

Whether you opt to unlock the mysteries of the Multiverse, the secrets of the staircase or the puzzles of the Pentaverate, buckle up because cinema’s most supreme season is just beginning. It is only the first weekend in what is sure to be a summer of on-screen spectacles.