You thought 2015 was a banner year for film? Wait until you get a load of what’s in store for 2016, which features more superhero films than you can shake a stick at (only a handful of them show up on this list) and just as many exciting properties making a return to the big screen as there were last year – hell, we’ve even got another Star Wars movie this year!
Eager for a sneak peek of what’s to come? Well, let’s get going…
10 – GHOSTBUSTERS
Not that we don’t have faith in director and co-writer Paul Feig – he’s been behind some of the brightest comedies of the past few years, from Bridesmaids to Spy – but resurrecting a beloved comedy franchise with an all-new spin on the material is one hell of a task he’s undertaking right now, one that we’re no less curious about regardless.
Most notably, he’s gender-swapping the kind of roles that Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd et al played in the original films, with Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones being lined up to play the new team of paranormal experts forced to use their technology to save the world. This casting decision have invoked the wrath of angry fanboys who, much like with Mad Max: Fury Road, can’t seem to accept that women are doing what men have done in the past; but we feel that it’s an excellent line-up with all four having impressed us in the past and more than likely to do so with this film (plus, Chris Hemsworth is on board as their secretary, which is already pretty hilarious).
It will be interesting to see if the gamble pays off, which we hope it will, and that the Ghostbusters franchise can get past initial prejudices and return to cinemas in the most glorious way possible.
WHEN’S IT OUT?
15TH JULY 2016
9 – THE BFG
After releasing his strongest “grown-up” film in years with Bridge of Spies, Steven Spielberg returns to what we feel he does best – the family film genre – with an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved book (yes, even more so than Matilda or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
Already the basis of a previous animated film with David Jason voicing the titular Big Friendly Giant – the sound you hear right now is that of Doom fans sighing with disappointment – the story of a young girl being whisked away to a land of giants is ripe for blockbuster entertainment that families everywhere can enjoy, and what better person to bring it to life than Spielberg himself.
Working on a script from E.T writer Melissa Mathison, who sadly passed away last year, Spielberg reunites with Bridge of Spies supporting player Mark Rylance as well as an eclectic cast including the likes of Bill Hader, Jemaine Clement and Penelope Wilton – the latter as the Queen of England – to not only bring to life the wonders of Dahl’s heavily eccentric world of whizzpopping and snozzcumbers , but to honour the final script written by one of the filmmaker’s most treasured collaborators.
Either way, we’re excited to see what Spielberg can do with this – and hope that it’s more on the lines of E.T and Tintin than, erm, War Horse…
WHEN’S IT OUT?
22ND JULY 2016
8 – THE NICE GUYS
Shane Black, fresh from dividing the Marvel fan-base with Iron Man 3 – just TRY and mention The Mandarin without incurring the wrath of annoyed comic geeks – returns to his comfort zone of duo-led crime comedies with this groovy-looking and heavily entertaining flick, which looks like the healthy mix of LA Confidential and The Big Lebowski.
Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling look made for each other just based on the above trailer, with their comedic timing (from Gosling especially) looking to be on point and being the best thing to carry us through what looks like a fun set-up, involving missing daughters of government operatives and, somehow, porn stars. It also looks to continue the spirit of Black’s on-point writing we’ve previously seen in the likes of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and the Lethal Weapon series, which is already good enough reason to get excited.
The trailer promises hijinks, shoot-outs, fast-paced quips and more, which funnily enough is mostly what we expect from the very best of Black’s work anyway, so we would be absolutely shocked if it didn’t turn out to be just as fun a ride as we’re promised.
Hopefully, it will also get Marvel fans to forgive him for what he did to The Mandarin – dammit, we triggered the wrath again! Stay away from all message boards for your own safety…
WHEN’S IT OUT?
3RD JUNE 2016
7 – SUICIDE SQUAD
In a year set to be dominated by several superheroes from Batman to Captain America, only one film dares to focus on what those heroes and more are fighting against: the villains.
The next film in DC’s attempt to copy the Marvel Cinematic Universe is fascinating because it’s taking a wildly different approach to really any other superhero film before it, and seems to just be doing its own thing without necessarily having to conspire with what the rest of the DC world is up to – though there are rumours that Ben Affleck’s Batman could show up, so there’s that anyway.
Not only that, but the villains they’re choosing to focus on are either fan favourites or ones that are ripe for a big-screen debut. This being DC, you obviously have The Joker (played as more a deranged tattooed freak by Jared Leto) and his beloved sidekick Harley Quinn (Margot Robbit), but then there’s lesser-known characters like Will Smith’s Deadshot, Cara Delevingne’s Enchantress, Jai Courtney’s Boomerang and many more who all look like they could steal the show in way we couldn’t possibly imagine.
It’s a unique film lined up amongst the endless amounts of superhero films we’re being treated to this year, so colour us excited – even though the above trailer doesn’t seem to have much colour at all…
WHEN’S IT OUT?
5TH AUGUST 2016
6 – STAR TREK BEYOND
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Gene Roddenberry’s beloved franchise making its debut on television, and it seems that the thirteenth overall movie in the film series is going out of its way to make it as fun a ride as possible.
Okay, so the first trailer might not have gone over as well with fans as perhaps it would’ve thought – even Simon Pegg, who returns as Scotty and also acts as co-writer, has gone on record saying it probably wasn’t the smartest move by the marketing department – but it still looks like it could be a wildly entertaining ride all the same, with Fast & Furious director Justin Lin taking over from J.J. Abrams – who got called away to another franchise with the word “star” in the title – and given his own track record of getting the most out of an extended cast, then Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban et al as well as newcomers like Idris Elba and Sofia Boutella should all be in safe hands.
Whether it honours the series in its landmark year remains to be seen, though one expects that after the heated reaction from Star Trek Into Darkness this will probably be enough of a thrill for fans to finally forgive it for the decisions it made in that divisive film…
WHEN’S IT OUT?
22ND JULY 2016
5 – MIDNIGHT SPECIAL
Not heard of this film? After we go a little into what it’s promising, you’ll wish you already had.
Writer-director Jeff Nichols, already becoming a favourite amongst film fans for his impressive filmography that includes Mud and Take Shelter, now brings us a sci-fi thriller said to be in the vein of John Carpenter, with just a hint of 80s sci-fi like E.T and Starman. Not a great deal is known about the plot, aside from a father (played by Nichols regular Michael Shannon) protecting his extraordinarily gifted son from both a religious sect and a government task force, but it definitely sounds like a smooth throwback to that classic era of Spielberg-like wonder and excitement involving unknown intelligences that are quite possibly not of this planet.
Shannon is being joined by Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver and Sam Shepard, and while that is already a fantastic little cast they’re working with an increasingly impressive filmmaker like Nichols, which gives them a distinct advantage with being in what might hopefully be one of the most interesting sci-fi films of the year.
Here’s hoping that it really is as special as the title suggests…
WHEN’S IT OUT?
15TH APRIL 2016
4 – X-MEN: APOCALYPSE
With the franchise continuity finally being fixed in the closing moments of Days of Future Past, the X-Men series has freer rein to move forward more than ever. It’s especially good news because, by the way Apocalypse is shaping up to look, it looks like it could indeed be the biggest film to date – and that’s just its cast of mutants!
Aside from the return of James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult as Professor X, Magneto, Mystique and Beast respectively, we also get to meet younger versions of classic mutants like Jean Grey, Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler and others, not to mention being introduced to Oscar Isaac as the titular mutant, billed as the first in existence and also the most powerful and dangerous, as well as new villains like Olivia Munn as Psylocke and Ben Hardy as Archangel. We haven’t even mentioned of Rose Byrne and Evan Peters yet, which should give you more than an idea of the sheer size of this cast.
Bryan Singer is also back in the director’s chair, hopefully closing out this new X-Men trilogy in a way that satisfies both fans of the long-running comic series and audiences looking for one behemoth of a superhero movie (though of course, there are two other big ones it has to go up against this year, but we’ll get to those soon…).
Either way, the apocalypse can’t come soon enough (wait, you read that wrong…)
WHEN’S IT OUT?
19TH MAY 2016
3 – FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
Turns out that JK Rowling was as reluctant to leave behind the wizarding world as much as we were – she’s now contributed a script that will not only take us back there, but will also present a new and previously undiscovered part of the world that Harry Potter would one day become a part of.
Potter, however, will not be in this; in fact, expect NONE of the characters we know and love from Rowling’s original series to make an appearance here. Instead, we’re following Eddie Redmayne’s eccentric wizard Newt Scamander and his travels to 1920s New York City with a magical suitcase housing some of the most dangerous creatures known to witches and wizards. Along the way, we’re introduced to new characters like Katherine Waterston’s grounded witch Tina and Dan Fogler’s curious Muggle – or, in this part of the world, “No-Maj” – Jacob Kowalsky, as well as new threats and, of course, fantastic beasts.
It should be an interesting new side to the world of Harry Potter we haven’t really seen before, and if Rowling has conjured a worthy script for director David Yates to work off of, then it will be a fun and engaging new story set in a place we were never happy to leave in the first place…
WHEN’S IT OUT?
18TH NOVEMBER 2016
2 – ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY
Now THIS is a Star Wars prequel we’re actually excited for!
The first in a standalone anthology series alongside the official sequel trilogy, Rogue One is being brought to us by Gareth Edwards, director of Monsters and the recent Godzilla reboot, and features a great cast that includes, but isn’t limited to, Felicity Jones, Forest Whittaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn and more.
But what REALLY has us hooked is what exactly it’s going to be about: set shortly before A New Hope, it tells the story of how a ragtag group of rebels sought to carry out a dangerous mission against the Empire. The mission? Steal the plans for the Death Star, of course!
As any Star Wars nut will probably tell you, it’s inevitable what ends up happening in the end. But HOW they get from point A to point B is where this film comes in, and if Edwards can bring the same style of old-school practicality he brought to both his prior films, then we’re surely in for a treat.
Either way, it will tide things over until Episode VIII comes along in 2017, conveniently in time for the saga’s 40th anniversary…
WHEN’S IT OUT?
16TH DECEMBER 2016
1 – BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE/CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
Okay, so this is a LITTLE bit of a cheat.
But when you have not one but TWO major superhero team-ups in the same year, how can you NOT have them go head-to-head in the same position on this list?
It’s easy to see why we’re particularly excited for both of them – each sees several iconic superheroes coming together in their own respective films, and either seeing them face-off in an epic battle or two, or having them work together to save the day.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, however, has the bigger task out of both. It is not only coming off the heels of the heavily divisive Man of Steel, but is being touted as the film that’s undeniably going to kick-start the DC cinematic universe, with not only Batman and Superman being established but also other iconic heroes like Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, Green Lantern and Cyborg, among others, leading up to an eventual two-part Justice League film.
Overseeing this highly risky property is, once again, Zack Snyder, who is known to have a genuine love for the source material but cannot seem to gather all the components to make a cohesive whole (his only fully satisfying movie, in our minds, is Watchmen). However, though he is credited for the story, David S. Goyer is not returning as writer – a relief to some, given that the script for Man of Steel was what undeniably killed that movie – and filling his place is none other than Chris Terrio, the Oscar-winning writer for Argo.
Speaking of which, another key element from that film is also present in this film. Alongside a returning Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman is Ben Affleck, making his debut as the latest incarnation of Bruce Wayne/Batman, and after the career resurgence he’s had as of late we’re more than a little excited to see what the actor-cum-Oscar-winning filmmaker can bring to the iconic role. Also look out for the likes of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, a returning Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Jeremy Irons as Bruce’s loyal butler Alfred, and – making her big-screen debut after all these years – Wonder Woman, as played by Gal Gadot.
Truth be told, it has a LOT riding on it – but what about its competitor?
There’s little wonder why more people are excited for Captain America: Civil War – in addition to kicking off “Phase 3” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it sees Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers/Captain America butting heads with Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark/Iron Man over a proposed government oversight into all superhero activities. Naturally, both Avengers take different standpoints, and with their individual teams of supporters they partake in, what else, a civil war.
In many ways, it’s easier to get a grasp of the drama going on here, because they have already established who these characters are in previous films, and seeing them go up against each other makes for more compelling viewing because we know and understand both characters’ points of view. This being a Captain America film, however, it’s probably not going to be as difficult to choose which side to fight on, but we’re more than certain that Stark’s perspective will most likely be explored just about as much.
Not only that, but much like Batman v Superman we will also be introduced to heroes both old and new in the same film. Returning favourites include Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, Anthony Mackie’s Falcon, Sebastian Stan as Bucky/The Winter Soldier, and even Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man among many others. As for the first-timers, we’ll get to meet Chadwick Boseman as the Black Panther, Daniel Brühl’s new villain Helmut Zemo, and – perhaps most notably – the newest incarnation of Peter Parker/Spider-Man, as played by Tom Holland, after Marvel successfully reacquired the character last year.
Both movies will be packed with action, politics (of the best kind), and enough superheroes to last a lifetime. But which one will ultimately be better?
It’s hard to say, though we can imagine you’re already forming an answer in your head based on principle, but we’d say that both are equally worth checking out this year if you’re just a fan of superhero films in general. Either way, it’s going to be a bloodbath when these two eventually meet at the box office…
WHEN ARE THEY OUT?
25TH MARCH 2016 (BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE)
29TH APRIL 2016 (CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR)
ALSO OUT THIS YEAR (DEEEEEEEEEEEEEP BREATH)
- Deadpool (out: 10th February 2016)
- Zoolander 2 (out: 12th February 2016)
- Grimsby (out: 24th February 2016)
- Hail, Caesar! (out: 26th February 2016)
- London Has Fallen (out: 4th March 2016)
- The Divergent Series: Allegiant (out: 11th March 2016)
- Kung Fu Panda 3 (out: 11th March 2016)
- Zootropolis (out: 25th March 2016)
- The Jungle Book (out: 15th April 2016)
- The Huntsman: Winter’s War (out: 22nd April 2016)
- Angry Birds (out: 13th May 2016)
- Alice Through The Looking Glass (out: 27th May 2016)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (out: 3rd June 2016)
- Warcraft (out: 3rd June 2016)
- Now You See Me 2 (out: 10th June 2016)
- Independence Day: Resurgence (out: 24th June 2016)
- The Secret Life of Pets (out: 24th June 2016)
- Tarzan (out: 8th July 2016)
- Ice Age: Collision Course (out: 15th July 2016)
- Finding Dory (out: 29th July 2016)
- Bourne 5 (out: 29th July 2016)
- Kubo and the Two Strings (out: 9th September 2016)
- Bridget Jones’ Baby (out: 16th September 2016)
- The Magnificent Seven (out: 23rd September 2016)
- Gambit (out: 7th October 2016)
- Inferno (out: 14th October 2016)
- Jack Reacher 2 (out: 21st October 2016)
- Doctor Strange (out: 28th October 2016)
- Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (out: 11th November 2016)
- Moana (out: 2nd December 2016)
- Passengers (out: 23rd December 2016)
- Assassin’s Creed (out: 26th December 2016)