The holidays have come and gone, yet is still hard to believe that 2015 has come to pass. 2015 was a year of some phenomenal pieces of cinema; old franchises were revitalized anew, the public was reminded of the wonder of practical effects, and we all were thrilled to return to a galaxy far far away. As we say goodbye to 2015, we turn to the new year and look forward to everything 2016 has to offer. Without further ado, here are the top 10 films we’re looking forward to in 2016!
10. BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE
People have been wanting to see these superhero cinematic mashup for years, and it looks like in 2016 we’ll finally see these titans duke it out. Personally, given the nature of the trailers, I have my doubts as to whether or not this film will live up to such high expectations, in fact the more we see about this film and the upcoming SUICIDE SQUAD, the more skeptical the pubic seems to become. It seems that the cinematic debut of Batman and Superman finally squaring off probably won’t be the fight we’re all hoping it will be. Still, for better or worse, these two coming together is cinematic history, and regardless of whether this match is an entertaining romp or a cinematic pileup, it’s a fight all of us are still bound to see and as such deserves a place on this list.
BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN opens in theaters on March 25th, 2016.
9. X-MEN: APOCALYPSE
Also coming in low on the list is another entry in a superhero franchise. Though the X-MEN are still firmly out of Marvel’s grasp in terms of being able to include them in the MCU, fans regained their faith in the franchise after several solid entries like X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, THE WOLVERINE (which wasn’t great, but was certainly an improvement over WOLVERINE: ORIGINS), and of course X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, which aimed to set right all the wrongs and continuity errors plaguing the franchise (well, as best it could anyway). Brian Singer’s return to the franchise proved to be both a hit with critics and audiences, who are highly anticipating his next turn at bat. Will this next film be another home run for Singer or will it be a strike? His track record for this franchise is currently 3 for 3, so it’s easy to assume this next film is in the bag. Still, I worry about what happens when a talented director gets burned out on a franchise, and I hope the same won’t happen to Singer.
X-MEN: APOCALYPSE descends on theaters on May 27th, 2016.
8. PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES
You can’t expect the Horror Chickk to compile a list of highly anticipated films for 2016 without including a few horror films in the list. That being said, when I look ahead at the upcoming horror films for 2016, there isn’t a lot that fills me with confidence about the genre this year. I initially set out to create a top 10 list of the highest anticipated horror films of 2016, but sadly I couldn’t even compile a list of 5 films horror films that truly look worthwhile this year. Sure, there are a few hopeful contenders in the form of THE BOY, THE WITCH, and THE CONJURING 2, but for the most part there doesn’t seem to be any other films like the THE BABADOOK or IT FOLLOWS on the horizon for this year. In steps the adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s best-selling novel, and boy does it come in swinging. The film looks like it takes a number of liberties with its source material, and unlike the adaptation of ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER it actually looks like these changes might be for the better. There are very few horror movies where a woman, let alone a group of women, are the heroes of the story, not just the love interests or cannon fodder, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to see Elizabeth and her sisters kick some serious zombie ass in this fun monster flick.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES jumps into the fray on February 5th, 2016.
7. INDEPENDENCE DAY 2: RESURGENCE
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, 2015 saw the revitalization of a number of film franchises. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD blew away expectations with its explosive spectacle and marvelous characters, CREED carried on the ROCKY legacy, and JURASSIC WORLD reached huge box office numbers by hitting its audience with a massive nostalgia bomb. 2016 seems to be no different in terms of Hollywood looking to cash in on nostalgia, because after two decades of waiting, 90s kids are finally getting a sequel to the sci-fi action-adventure INDEPENDENCE DAY. It looks like this franchise won’t go quietly into the night, and with returning cast members like Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman, INDEPENDENCE DAY 2 has the potential to be the JURASSIC WORLD of 2016.
INDEPENCENCE DAY 2 RESURGENCE is set to invade theaters on June 24th, 2016.
6. KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS
I’ve written about how excited I am to see LAIKA’s first attempt at a non-western fantasy. Out of all of the films on this list, this is the only one I feel that every frame will literally be a work of art. The small bits that we see from the trailer look like some of the most beautiful imagery the medium has ever produced. Not only this, but unlike films like THE FOREST and the upcoming DEATH NOTE adaptation, I have absolutely no reservations that this film will treat Japanese lore with care and respect. A lot of people are really excited for the long-awaited FINDING DORY, which I’m sure will be fantastic. But this is my list, and as much as I’m looking forward to the Pixar film, KUBO looks like a remarkably original adventure film, and in a world where most of the highly anticipated films of 2016 are sequels or entries in a franchise, originality is something that deserves to be rewarded.
KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS sets out to be released in theaters on August 19th, 2016.
Grab your chimichangas and get ready to sit atop the fourth wall, because after years of development hell, we’re finally getting to see DEADPOOL come to the big screen in the way that fans have always wanted to see him (no, that bit in WOLVERINE ORIGINS doesn’t count). All of the promos have looked to hit both the character and the comedy right on the mark, and Ryan Reynold’s reprisal of the role has only enhanced fan expectations. Bring in a few fan favorites from the X-MEN comics, and you have a recipe for a really fun flick.
Ready or not, DEADPOOL is coming to theaters on February 12th, 2016.
4. FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
The world of Harry Potter has touched the lives of many, and has proven to be tremendously lucrative, even years after the release of the final book and the final film. Between the theme park attractions, costumes, toys, candy, and re-releases of the books, The Boy Who Lived grew up to be the marketing giant that cannot be stopped. Cynical observations about entertainment corporations pushing franchises aside, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM has a damn good premise: a period piece taking place in the world of Harry Potter about one man’s quest to search for magical creatures. I have heard of very few premises that can separate me from my hard earned cash so easily in such a short amount of time. Watching the trailer reminds me of a time long ago when I did believe in magic, with the music and the imagry making me feel like I’m a little kid again, ready to sit down and listen to someone read me a fairy tale. Unlike other fantasy films that have come out in recent years that feel like they’re dragging a franchise through the mud, this movie looks like it’s a return to form, and I’m fully prepared to let J.K. Rowling sweep me off my feet, back to a world of Wizards, Witches, and wonders beyond imagination.
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM will cast its spell in theaters on November 18th, 2016.
3. ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY
We move from the world of “Once Upon A Time” to a world in a “galaxy far, far away…” with this next entry. Let’s face it, STAR WARS EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS was fantastic. Though far from perfect, it was the return to form the franchise needed to get back on track; a film that needed to prove that under the Disney umbrella, the upcoming films can feel like the STAR WARS films we know and love and be worthy successors to the original trilogy. If you were one of the people who truly disliked TFA, you needn’t worry, this is America and you are completely entitled to be wrong in your opinion, because that is what you are: you’re wrong, and I worry about your ability to experience true joy in your life. That being said, it’s going to be two years until EPISODE VIII hits theaters. Luckily, we’ll have ROGUE ONE to tide us over until then, and even more exciting, it seems as though ROGUE ONE is following in TFA’s footsteps in terms of progressive casting, with the cast comprised of a very diverse crew lead by a woman. That being said, given that the story surrounds the group of rebels who stole the plans for the Death Star, it’s entirely possible that all of the characters from ROGUE ONE could wind up dead by the film. Despite this sense of “doomed prequelitis” as our own Katie Cullen might put it (a term she coined to describe prequels where protagonists are doomed to die before the original story picks up), much like FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, it’s still a very compelling idea and genuinely sounds like a story worth being told. That, coupled with the fact that TFA did an excellent job focusing on a female protagonist for the first time in STAR WARS cinematic history, I’m filled with a great deal of confidence that ROGUE ONE will be one hell of a ride.
ROGUE ONE will be hitting the hyper-drive to be released nationwide on December 16th, 2016.
Who you gunna call? Well from the looks of things, you’ll be calling these four lovely ladies to come to your rescue. I’ll be the first to admit that I was insanely skeptical when I initially heard about this remake. By the sound of it, it seemed like the gender swap reboot of the 80s classic was being played up as more of a gimmick than a legitimate attempt to revitalize the franchise, which, in my mind anyway, didn’t need revitalizing. The original two films are classics, why would I want Hollywood to swoop in and muck it up as they have been doing with so many other great films? However, once they announced the cast, I chose to be cautiously optimistic. Then when they released the first promotional cast photo above, I allowed myself to legitimately get excited; not only did this look like a GHOSTBUSTERS movie, but it looked fresh, original, and cool. Though I would prefer an original supernatural comedy with an all-female cast that paid homage to GHOSTBUSTERS, rather than have a new entry in yet ANOTHER nostalgic franchise. Still, everything that I’ve seen thus far looks really promising. As I mentioned with PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES, there are so few promising horror films on the horizon this year, let alone any promising horror-comedies starring a predominantly female cast that are the heroes rather than the damsels in distress (come to think of it, what a waste of Sigourney Weaver in the original films; you have Ripley in your movie and she didn’t bust any ghosts? Seems like a wasted opportunity in retrospect). Given the casting, the director, and the promise of a few fun cameos, GHOSTBUSTERS looks like it’s ready to show they world that these leading ladies ain’t afraid of no ghosts, or internet trolls for that matter!
GHOSTBUSTERS will be answering your call in theaters on July 15th, 2016.
1. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
It’s pretty fitting that I began this list with a DC film and end it with the next entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, for all the reasons that DAWN OF JUSTICE is the lowest entry on the list, CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR seems to take all of those elements and well, do them justice. Though THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON underwhelmed many fans, and received a great deal more criticism than the first AVENGERS film, many people have still been excited for entries in Phase 3 of the MCU, namely seeing the heroes that have had to put their differences aside numerous time to come together and save the world fighting one another in an international political conflict in the wake of the events of AGE OF ULTRON. All of the relationships that have been built over the course of several years in each of the Marvel films will be tested in this conflict. When we see Batman and Superman charging at one another in the trailer, it’s hard to get invested because we know very little about the consequences of their squabble, and we know ultimately they’ll have to put aside their differences and team up with other heroes, who haven’t been given any time to develop yet, to combat a resurrected General Zod (which, what kind of sense does that make anyway? None, none whatsoever, Warner Brothers.). With CIVIL WAR, it’s completely the other way around. We’ve already seen our Marvel heroes come together for the greater good despite their differences, as well as sit and talk about their different points of view that will ultimately lead to each member of the team falling on different sides in this upcoming conflict. We’ve seen them bicker and laugh with one another, mourn fallen comrades together, tell jokes at each other’s expense, relax and hang out outside of missions to save the world, compete with each other for bragging rights, share long buried secrets, and protect one another when it mattered most. When we hear Tony Stark tell Steve “So was I” in regards to being his friend, we feel the tragedy of this fractured friendship; of soldiers in arms who are now on opposite sides of a war. I don’t feel any of those same things when I see Batman and Superman fight, even though I’ve been waiting to see the DC mash up for far longer than I’ve been awaiting a Civil War adaptation.
heartbreaking exciting as it is to see Captain America and the Winter Soldier fight Iron Man, the real reason I’m looking forward to this film is that CAPTAIN AMERICA 2: THE WINTER SOLDIER is by far the best film in the current MCU, and CIVIL WAR is the next chapter in the Captain’s story. Sure, it’s exciting to see so many cast members returning for a film that isn’t THE AVENGERS proper, but WINTER SOLDIER was an excellent spy thriller, with a lot of great political intrigue, and one hell of a twist that to this day I’m still amazed was not spoiled by the film’s marketing campaign. Everything about the trailer of CIVIL WAR seems evocative of the same tone as WINTER SOLDIER, which seems like a fitting way to progress these characters into the next chapter of their story. Here’s hoping that CIVIL WAR presents equally compelling twists and turns.
The fight begins in theaters on May 6th, 2016. What side will you be on?
What did you think of my picks? Are you as excited for the films 2016 has to offer or are you burned out on franchises and sequels? What films are you looking forward to seeing this year? Be sure to let us know @TheMovieChickk!
Can’t wait for the #1 pick to hit theaters? Be sure to buy ANT-MAN on Amazon.com to make sure you all caught up for the big showdown!