As we push through this rigorous January movie lull, guest columnist, Greg Rouleau (Reel True), steps in to offer a detailed and heavily cataloged examination of the upcoming cinematic year. This two-part movie preview will begin with a "coming soon" section, then a look at the animated/family titles arriving in 2016, as well as a list of this syear's biggest blockbusters. Next week we'll reprise the column with an outline of the 2016's most anticipated comedy and horror releases, along with a breakdown of the presumed Oscar hopefuls. Enjoy!
Coming Soon (February - April)
Hail, Caesar! (Feb 5) – It’s a treat to see best of the year potential as early as February, and judging by the insanely fun looking trailers, we should be circling February 5th on the calendar for the Coen Brothers Hail, Caesar! Josh Brolin stars as a Hollywood fixer that goes on a mission to uncover the whereabouts of a missing star (George Clooney) who mysteriously disappears from the set of the big budget film. Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansson, Ralph Fiennes, and Jonah Hill round out the ensemble.
Zoolander 2 (Feb 12) – We’ve seen Anchorman 2 and Dumb and Dumber To – comedies with their originals nearly a decade or more behind them – released in recent years to disappointing results. Should we expect the same with Zoolander 2? The trailer looks somewhat promising, all things considered, so let’s hope there’s enough laughs amongst the stupidity of Derek and Hansel that it’s worth the price of admission.
Midnight Special (Mar 18) – Once set for a 2014 release, Midnight Special is finally reaching theaters in March of this year. From the director of Mud and Take Shelter, Jeff Nichols, Midnight Special tells the story of a man (Michael Shannon) on the run from authorities when they discover his child possesses supernatural ability. The idea of a quasi-superhero movie on a smaller-scale is intriguing and with his previous films, Nichols has displayed a talent for directing young actors. The director also has a drama called Loving – about an interracial couple in 1950s Virginia – set for a late 2016 release. Both films star Joel Edgerton and Nichols regular, Michael Shannon.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Mar 25) – It’s difficult to feign a lot of enthusiasm for BvS: DOJ, which is a sequel to the highly disappointing Man of Steel, but I would at least expect box office returns to be strong on opening weekend. The release date was switched around numerous times before finally settling on March 25. The trailers have been lackluster and there’s been word of a multitude of production problems, and now rumors are circulating that this movie could be more than the advertised showdown between the classic comic heroes…let’s just leave it at that.
Everybody Wants Some (Apr 15) – This spring we can look forward to the latest from indie director Richard Linklater, who is a couple years removed from his critical darling, Boyhood. Everybody Wants Some has been described by Linklater as a “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused, which focuses on the lives of a group of college baseball players including Wyatt Russell (22 Jump Street) and Tyler Hoechlin (Road to Perdition).
Also Coming Soon: Race, Deadpool, Grimsby, Triple 9, Knight of Cups, Demolition, The Huntsman Winter’s War, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
The Jungle Book (Apr 15) – This spring, director Jon Favreau returns to the world of family entertainment with his live-action version of Disney’s The Jungle Book. The trailer looks to have a slightly more serious tone than the animated feature, with plenty of thrills and a talented cast to voice the animals including Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray and Christopher Walken.
Finding Dory (Jun 17) – Finding Nemo was a major hit in 2003 that dominated the box-office and went on to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Dory will find Ellen Degeneres and Albert Brooks reprising their roles for the much-anticipated sequel that finds Dory in search of her family after rekindling some childhood memories.
The BFG (Jul 1) – Steven Speilberg finally returns to the genre where he made such hits as E.T. and Hook – possibly ending his latest excursion through dramatic period pieces – and brings an adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel to the screen this summer. The late Melissa Mathison, who also wrote E.T., adapted the screenplay and Spielberg regulars Janusz Kaminski, Michael Kahn and John Williams are on board in the craft departments, so you can expect more than the typical family fare. Bridge of Spies’ Mark Rylance stars as the title character, Big Friendly Giant, in what looks to truly be an entertaining story the entire family can enjoy.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Nov 18) – With the Harry Potter franchise finishing up in theaters five years ago, author and screenwriter, J.K. Rowling and company will take the The Lord of the Rings route and release a three-part prequel epic, with the first chapter, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, set for release in November. Beasts is the story of author Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his adventures in writing the textbook that shares the film’s title.
More Family/Animated: Angry Birds Movie, The Secret Life of Pets, Zootopia, Ice Age: Collision Course, Moana.
Captain America: Civil War (May 6) – Captain America: Civil War is set to kick-off the summer movie season with a bang, as the story picks up following the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and government intervention is threatening to come between the group of superheroes. On one side is Captain America, Steve Rogers and firmly against him, in favor of regulation is Iron Man, Tony Stark. While Iron Man 2 and 3 were lackluster sequels to the outstanding first part, Civil War shows promise of the reverse, and finishing the Captain America series with two solid entries into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Independence Day: Resurgence (Jun 24) – After being in development for what seems like an eternity, with story ideas being pitched as early as 2004, director Roland Emmerich is finally bringing his long-awaited Independence Day sequel to the theaters this summer. Subtitled Resurgence, the aliens have returned twenty-years later after their defeat in the climatic battle of the original, the idea here is that before their demise they were able to send out a distress signal and alert the rest of the aliens in the universe, and they’ve finally made their return. No Will Smith this time around, but Jeff Goldblum reprises his role as well as Bill Pullman, and Liam Hemsworth joins the cast, as well.
Suicide Squad (Aug 5) – Although I’m not entirely approving of already putting The Joker back on screen so soon after Heath Ledger’s classic portrayal, the Suicide Squad looks like it could be one of DC’s best movies since the Dark Knight trilogy. Jared Leto’s take on the iconic villain looks like enough of a departure from Ledger’s and he won’t be the main focus here as he joins a large group of super-villains enlisted by the government to complete secret ops missions. David Ayer (Fury, End of Watch) directs while Will Smith stars as Deadshot, Margot Robbie is the Joker’s accomplice, Harley Quinn.
Doctor Strange (Nov 4) – While Marvel will have presumably be wrapping up the Captain America trilogy earlier in the year, come November they’ll debut another superhero when Doctor Strange hits theaters. Benedict Cumberbatch has been cast in the title role, with Tilda Swinton portraying The Ancient One, who trains Strange in the ways of mystic arts. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, and Michael Stuhlbarg complete the impressive cast.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Dec 16) – We may have to wait until December 2017 to get Episode VIII of the Star Wars saga, but 2016 will give us our first of a few planned prequels/spin-offs of the franchise with Rogue One. This story will go back and reveal how a group of rebel fighters were able to capture the plans for the Death Star that aid the group in their fight against the Empire. Gareth Edwards who directed 2014’s Godzilla is slated to helm this one.
More In Blockbusters: TNMT 2, Warcraft, The Legend of Tarzan, Alice Through the Looking Glass, X-Men: Apocalypse, Star Trek Beyond, Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur, Jason Bourne Sequel, Gambit, Assassin’s Creed.
*** Stay tuned next week for Part II of our Ultimate 2016 Movie Preview