Article by: Josh Bradley
January means new beginnings. A fresh set of 12 months on the Gregorian calendar. A new slate of upcoming movies to look forward to.
In the spirit of new beginnings and the anticipation brought on by a new year, Fandango recently released a user poll of the most anticipated movies of 2016. Here’s a breakdown of their list.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Release Date: December 16, 2016
Remember in the first moments of Star Wars (1977), when Princess Leia puts secret Death Star plans in R2-D2 to send them to Obi-wan Kenobi? Ever wonder where she got those plans, the last hope for the Rebels?
Me neither. But on December 16, we’ll find out. This is (now) the most-anticipated movie of 2016 according to Fandango, because the public’s opinion of future Star Wars movies went from “cautiously optimistic” to “overwhelmingly optimistic” after The Force Awakens. Gareth Edwards (director of Rogue One) should buy J.J. Abrams a beer. Maybe even a sixer.
Release Date: June 17, 2016
One of the most memorable and beloved characters in Pixar’s catalog gets her own movie. In this new story, taking place six months after the events of Finding Nemo (2003), Dory recalls a childhood memory and leaves in search of her family off the coast of California.
Part of me is a little disappointed that Pixar is (for the time being) leaving the well of original ideas and instead returning to the bank for sequels. That said, original Pixar movies can give you Wall-E, Inside Out…or The Good Dinosaur. And Pixar sequels can give you Cars 2, Monsters University…or Toy Story 3. One is not always better than the other. With writer/director Andrew Stanton returning, along with most of the original voice cast (save for Alexander Gould, the OG voice of Nemo, who selfishly went through puberty), I think I’m on board for this.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Release Date: March 25, 2016
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) took a five-movie running start before assembling the team in The Avengers (2012). The DC Cinematic Universe (DCCU?) dipped its toes into the shallow end with Man of Steel (2013) and is now diving in headfirst putting Superman, Batman, and Wonderwoman (and more?) into a movie together.
Personally, I think the trailer looks great (a lot of people complained about the alleged spoilers in the trailer, but I certainly didn’t). However, the trailer for every Zack Snyder movie looks great. He’s perfected the art of making decent movies with awesome trailers. All of his movies have promise and seem like they could be great, but they always have problems. I’m waiting for him to make a great movie, and maybe this is it.
Untitled fifth Jason Bourne film
Release Date: July 29, 2016
The first four Bourne movies were penned (at least in part) by Tony Gilroy, and the second and third were directed by Paul Greengrass. For the fourth installment, the franchise went in a new direction, focusing on a new lead character and handing the keys to writer Tony Gilroy to direct. The result: Paul Greengrass gets the keys back. Sorry, Tony. Greengrass is back to direct and now Gilroy isn’t even writing on Bourne 5, but Greengrass and (Academy-award winning screenwriter) Matt Damon are.
Not many details are known (not even a title). All that’s known is that the studio is hoping to pull a Fast Five, and not a Rocky V. Adding Alicia Vikander (Ex-Machina, The Danish Girl) to the cast should help.
Captain America: Civil War
Release Date: May 6, 2016
In keeping with the in-fighting precedent set by Batman v Superman, Marvel heroes are also having trouble getting along, notably Iron Man and Captain America. Funnily enough, Batman v Superman was scheduled to be released the same weekend as Civil War, but backed out to a less-crowded March weekend.
One criticism I can make about the Marvel movies (or, really, most superhero movies in general) is that they have lacked any moral ambiguity. You’re always given Clear Good Guy and Clear Bad Guy. I appreciate that, with Civil War, there’s not an obvious good-guy/bad-guy (likely just a good-guy and a misguided good-guy, but…baby steps).
It’s helmed by brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, who won Emmys for directing Arrested Development, but from a feature standpoint, literally went from directing You, Me, & Dupree (2006) to directing Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014). Now they’re helming not only Civil War, but they’re also the new Joss Whedon, directing the third and fourth Avengers movies (or, both parts of the third Avengers movie, if you’re a stickler).
Star Trek Beyond
Release Date: July 22, 2016
This is the third installment in the recently-rebooted Star Trek world. After helming the first two, some dude named J.J. Abrams is leaving the director’s chair for Justin Lin, who directed the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth Fast & Furious movies.
Simon Pegg (who gets a screenwriting credit after doing a rewrite) feared that the original script was “too Star Trek-y”. He said that the solution was to “make a western or a thriller or a heist movie, then populate that with Star Trek characters so it’s more inclusive to an audience that might be a little bit reticent.” After I looked up what ‘reticent’ meant, I thought that was a good idea.
Independence Day: Resurgence
Release Date: June 24, 2016 (…really? Not July 3?)
Another long-awaited (I guess?) sequel for the adults who were once 90s kids, Independence Day: Resurgence (“IDR”) follows Independence Day (“ID4”) of 1996. The aliens who we (spoiler alert) defeated in Independence Day return to try to kill us all again.
Roland Emmerich returns to direct (someone please tell Roland that his IMDb picture should not be taken with a selfie stick; c’mon, guy), but Will Smith does not return to star. Instead, it seems Independence Day is going the route of Jurassic Park, in that they’re promoting Jeff Goldblum from quirky supporting character to serious (sexy?) lead actor in the second installment.
Release Date: May 27, 2016
Apocalypse seems to be going for a “Second Coming of Mutant Christ” kind of thing, as the first and most powerful mutant (aptly named Apocalypse) returns after thousands of years, unhappy with the world he finds and bent on destroying it.
The eighth-installment of the X-Men franchise, but also kind of the second one after Days of Future Past did some odd time-travel event-erasing stuff, X-Men: Apocalypse brings back director Bryan Singer (who directed what are considered the best X-Men movies: X-Men, X2, Days of Future Past).
Zoolander No. 2
Release Date: February 12, 2016
Once-great male model Derek Zoolander is pulled out of retirement and obscurity to help Interpol stop a wave of high-profile celebrity assassinations. Writer, director, and star Ben Stiller returns to write, direct, and star.
Making sequels 10+ years later is so hot right now. I’m looking at you, Dumb and Dumber To, Jurassic World, Mad Max: Fury Road, the Spongebob sequel, Vacation, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Finding Dory, Independence Day: Resurgence… Is that enough examples?
The Jungle Book
Release Date: April 15, 2016
Tim Burton’s live-action remake of Alice in Wonderland (2010) was a massive financial hit (for better or for worse). The live-action Sleeping Beauty spinoff Malificent (2014) and Kenneth Brannaugh’s live-action Cinderella (2015) followed, and those three movies combined for $2.3 billion in worldwide box office. That should explain the slew of live-action remakes/spinoffs of Disney classics on the slate for coming years (among those confirmed and rumored: Dumbo, Mulan, Pinocchio, The Sword in the Stone, The Little Mermaid, an Aladdin prequel “Genies”).
Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Elf) is directing a script by Justin Marks* with an insanely-good cast (voices of Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, and Christopher Walken). I’m personally excited for this one, but I know a lot of people will raise their eyebrows at it, suspicious of the live-action Disney remake trend. I’m willing to bet this will find an audience because it’s early enough in this trend that people won’t yet be too tired of it – and because it’s hitting theaters before the other live-action Jungle Book, due out in 2017 from Warner Brothers (notably a fresh adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling story, not a remake of the 1967 Disney movie, but I doubt many moviegoers will be aware of this distinction and will just complain about “another Jungle Book??”).
*Chances are, you haven’t heard of Justin Marks (as he only has one feature credit), but I’m personally rooting for this guy. The Jungle Book and upcoming Top Gun sequel appear to be his big break. Plus, he’s a good twitter follow.
Now, that’s all well and good, but astute readers will notice a pattern in this top 10 list (reboots, sequels, etc). To call this a complete list of the “most anticipated movies of 2016” feels like a dereliction of a duty as a movie fan. Thus, stay tuned for what I’m calling the other most anticipated movies of 2016.