January 7, 2016 by Vinnie Leduc
The year 2015 has been another spectacular one for moviegoers, and as we at MediaStinger try to catch up with the year-end deluge of awards season hopefuls and whatever else we may have missed earlier, we can’t help but look ahead and look forward to 2016. As expected, we’ve got our share of pre/sequels, spinoffs, comic book adaptations, sci-fi blockbusters, and combinations of all of the above to get hyped for this year.
But before we reveal our most anticipated movies of 2016, here are 16 other films on our honorable mentions list that didn’t make the final cut: Alice Through the Looking Glass, The BFG, The Brothers Grimsby, The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist, Doctor Strange, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Inferno, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, Jumanji, Kung Fu Panda 3, Now You See Me 2, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, The Secret Life of Pets, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Underworld: Next Generation, Zootopia
With our most anticipated movie of 2015, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, obliterating box office records and guaranteed to be fresh in the minds of millions of people deep into the new year, it goes without saying that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story must be here. The spinoff officially marks the first expansive step of the massively successful Marvel treatment that Disney dreams to replicate after its $4 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm, so it’s obviously also a very important film for the Magic Kingdom. Set right before cinema groundbreaker A New Hope, the prequel is directed by Godzilla director Gareth Edwards and stars recent Oscar nom Felicity Jones and Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, among some notable others, in a tale revolving around the Rebel mission to steal the first Death Star plans.
While Star Wars rewinds it back, its legendary rival sci-fi franchise will go forward. Beyond, to be exact. In Star Trek Beyond, an unrecognizable Idris Elba joins the series, most of the key USS Enterprise crew is back, but as for the Enterprise itself… check out the teaser below. J.J. Abrams, who masterfully rebooted Star Trek and then gave trekkies a stunning sequel, remains as a producer as he famously stepped away from the director’s chair to introduce Star Wars to a new generation. Taking his place in Star Trek Beyond is Justin Lin, who’s directed most of the Fast and Furious sequels, and stepping in as a co-writer is Scotty himself, Simon Pegg.
Another couple of sci-fi blockbuster sequels we’re looking forward to are Independence Day: Resurgence and Ghostbusters. Both movies revive long-dormant fan favorites (and incidentally add a Hemsworth brother to the cast), but both will be missing essential pieces. The next chapter in one of Will Smith’s golden age summer blasts won’t have Will Smith (Colonel Steven Hiller has officially been killed off in viral marketing), so expect Jeff Goldblum to pick up the slack when it comes to alien invasion one-liners. We’re rooting for another epic speech from Bill Pullman, and we’re hoping returning director Roland Emmerich sticks more to his massive disaster roots. You can check out the rest of the old and new cast in the first trailer below.
Even if you count the animated TV spinoff series, nobody’s called the Ghostbusters for even longer than the last time the planet celebrated our Independence Day together. The reboot of the adored comedy masterpiece seems to be in the good hands of veteran director Paul Feig, who has reunited with Bridesmaids star Kristen Wiig. The Saturday Night Live alumna is joined by another Feig collaborator, Melissa McCarthy, and a pair of current SNL cast members in an all-female principal cast that we’re loving on paper. We’re just sad that Harold Ramis, who passed away almost two years ago, won’t be able to don the tan jumpsuit one more time or join his fellow original busters’ cameos this summer.
You’ll find more Bridesmaids in the next pair of movies on our list. Like Ghostbusters, both are also comedy sequels, but these franchises are actually from this millennium. All we know about Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is that all the key players are back (including Seth Rogan, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco, and more) are back, and facing them in a Greek house battle are newcomers Chloë Grace Moretz and Selena Gomez. As for Zoolander No. 2, the fashion satire sequel returns a decade and a half after the 2001 original with cameos galore and plenty of new additions, including a smokin’ hot Penélope Cruz, an almost unrecognizable Kristen Wiig, and an also unrecognizable as well as discomforting Benedict Cumberbatch. The latest trailer isn’t great, but the original Zoolander didn’t look good either, so we’ve put it here anyway.
Our next film, an animated sequel from the Mouse House, will also make audiences laugh, but it’ll probably make us all cry, too. It’s from Pixar, of course. Again captained by Oscar winner Andrew Stanton, who wrote and directed Finding Nemo in 2003, Finding Dory follows the titular amnesiac character (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres), one of the most beloved animated creations in recent history, from Australia to California.
Also coming from Disney’s animated history is another live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book. Anybody who’s seen this mesmerizing trailer in IMAX 3D or just regular 3D can’t deny how effing awesome this looks. Maybe it’s just me, but The Jungle Book’s teaser trailer is as entrancing as ScarJo’s Kaa rendition and one of my personal favorites of last year. Check it out below.
Perhaps that Jungle had too much CGI for your taste. Or maybe not, in which case you might like the next entry that’s been on our radar. Warcraft brings one of the most popular and bestselling video game franchises of all time to the silver screen, and while it may not boast an all-star cast, we’re complete advocates of director and co-writer Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code). Let’s all take a moment here to give Blizzard a big thank you for reportedly rejecting notorious game-trasher Uwe Boll, who was interested in directing Warcraft, with the reason “especially not… you.” Meanwhile, Jones has cited Gladiator, Avatar, and Game of Thrones in comparisons. Sounds good! You can see for yourself in the first trailer here.
Speaking of war, how about Captain America: Civil War? After exploring the origins of The Avengers and rounding them up for several adventures, the Marvel Cinematic Universe officially enters Phase Three with one hell of a main event, a showdown between Captain America and Iron Man. They never really did get along, and we’re excited to see who comes out on top. All the action picks up right where that post-credits stinger after Ant-Man left off.
In other non-Disney Marvel-related news, 2016 will feature a trio of movies set in the X-Men universe. First of all, there’s X-Men: Apocalypse. Bryan Singer, acclaimed director of the first two X-Men films and the latest (Days of Future Past), is back with every major mutant that’s appeared in the series. New faces replace familiar ones for some of the younger versions of said mutants, and there’ll be some entirely new characters as well. Before the release of Apocalypse, we’ll get another look at Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, and later in the year Channing Tatum will be introduced as Gambit in his own reboot/spinoff.
And then you have the other comic book giant. Marvel’s longtime rival, DC.
Prior to Comic-Con last year when Warner Bros. and DC unveiled more of their answer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, almost all of the talk about the DC Extended Universe had been focused on Batman v Superman, Zack Snyder’s follow-up to Man of Steel. However, at Comic-Con WB and DC also unveiled the only footage we have so far of Suicide Squad, their crucial launchpad to expand the DC Cinematic Universe. The intriguing trailer, which you can check out below, has more views than any trailer for Batman v Superman. And that’s not too much of a surprise when you consider the gritty style of writer/director David Ayer, a polarizing first look at Oscar winner Jared Leto as the Joker, and an impressive cast that reunites Margot Robbie (as a delightfully devilish Harley Quinn) and Will Smith (now you know one of the reasons why he couldn’t protect the planet from aliens again).
The anti-heroes and villains of Suicide Squad could very well provide the latter half of DC’s one-two punch this summer, but what’s the “one” here? That would be the civil war that DC’s been teasing for years now. Public outrage over the casting of Ben Affleck as the next Dark Knight has waned considerably since the first footage of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was released early last year. That initial Internet-breaking backlash seems even more like a distant memory now that the latest look, which you can check out at the top of the page, has been out for a month and has seemingly normalized the polarizing hype for 2016’s most anticipated movie.