The Greatest Hits of 2016

It’s time for that annual list of next year’s highly anticipated Hollywood films. Here’s 2016 for ya. As always, premiere dates may change.

JANUARY:

* 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi – Michael Bay leaves his robots aside for a while, taking on a politically sensitive subject. Looks far from another Zero Dark Thirty (2012) though.

* Kung Fu Panda 3 – Another entry in this popular animated franchise.

* Jane Got a Gun – Natalie Portman stars in a Western, alongside Ewan McGregor, about a woman trying to save her outlaw husband.

FEBRUARY:

* Hail, Caesar! – Another star-studded comedy from the Coen brothers, where we follow the adventures of a Hollywood “fixer” (Josh Brolin). Looks like great fun. 

* Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – A film adaptation of the bestseller that promises blood, gore and Victorian romance. Stars Lily James. 

* Zoolander 2 – Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are back as the dim-witted models that we first met in 2001. The sequel is on a large scale and has many cameos, including Justin Bieber.

* Deadpool – Ryan Reynolds plays the superhero in a movie whose first trailer was wildly praised at its release during Comic-Con. The character is tied to the X-Men movies. 

* The Witch – This low-budget horror movie, which follows a 17th century Puritan family as it encounters evil in the New England woods, premiered at Sundance last January and is finally bowing in theaters. 

MARCH:

* London Has Fallen – The sequel to Olympus Has Fallen (2013) moves the action to London. Aaron Eckhart and Gerard Butler are back as the President and his Secret Service agent.

* Knight of Cups – Terrence Malick is back with a movie following a Hollywood screenwriter. Starring Natalie Portman and Christian Bale, the trailer looks very “malicky”. 

* The Divergent Series: Allegiant – The last book in the popular series has been divided into two movies; here’s the first part. 

* Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – The most talked about superhero movie of the year, a follow-up to Man of Steel (2013). Starring Ben Affleck as Batman and Henry Cavill as Superman.

APRIL:

* The Boss – A new Melissa McCarthy comedy is usually worthy of some attention. This one has her as a ruthless former executive who’s sent to prison. Her husband Ben Falcone directs.

* The Jungle Book – Jon Favreau’s live-action take on the Disney classic was originally supposed to have premiered in 2015. Featuring the voices of Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray.

* Everybody Wants Some – Richard Linklater’s new movie has been described as sort of a sequel to both Boyhood and Dazed and Confused.

MAY:

* Captain America: Civil War – The third Captain America puts Cap (Chris Evans) in conflict with Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.). This year’s biggest Marvel event.

* Snowden – Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the famous whistleblower in Oliver Stone’s take on how Snowden leaked classified documents to the press. Expect controversy.

* The Nice Guys – Shane Black is back with another action-comedy that looks overly familiar… but the trailer is funny, and stars Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling seem game.

* X-Men: Apocalypse – This one follows X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) and has the younger versions of our most famed mutants battling the world’s first mutant.

* Alice Through the Looking Glass– I was no big fan of the original Alice in Wonderland (2010), but we’ll have to see what Muppets director James Bobin has up his sleeve. Several of the first film’s stars return.

JUNE:

* The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist – The first film was damned scary, so James Wan’s sequel had better be good. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return as the ghost-hunting couple. 

* Warcraft – Duncan Jones is adapting the famous game and we’re all wondering if this is the one that will change the sad reputation of movies based on video games.

* Finding Dory – The follow-up to Finding Nemo (2003) has the same challenge as The Conjuring 2 – how can you top a beloved sequel? The trailer shows that Pixar likely has found the lovely tone of the first movie.

* Independence Day: Resurgence – 20 years have passed since the first Independence Day, and this sequel brings back some of the old stars as well as new ones. And, of course, the aliens are back.

JULY:

* The BFG – Steven Spielberg directs this family-friendly story about a giant. Based on a Roald Dahl story, the script was written by the late Melissa Mathison who also wrote E.T..

* The Legend of Tarzan – Alexander Skarsgård plays Tarzan in this take on the classic story, directed by David Yates. The trailer suggests a rather traditional approach. 

* Ghostbusters – The remake of the 1984 comedy classic has women replacing the male ghostbusters of the original. Stars Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig; directed by their Bridesmaids helmer, Paul Feig.

* Star Trek Beyond – The third movie in this new franchise premiered a trailer a few weeks ago that sent fans into a rage. Will it honor the predecessors or turn into a new Fast and Furious?

The Bourne sequel – It still doesn’t have a title, this fourth movie in the franchise to star Matt Damon, the first since 2007. Paul Greengrass is back as director.

AUGUST:

* Suicide Squad – David Ayer directs this dark DC Comics adventure that unites supervillains recruited by the government. Will Smith leads the cast; Jared Leto plays the Joker. 

SEPTEMBER:

* A Cure for Wellness – We don’t know much about this project, but it’s a supernatural horror movie directed by the very uneven Gore Verbinski. Dane DeHaan has the lead role. 

* Sully – Clint Eastwood directs this film about the pilot who heroically landed a plane on the Hudson River. Tom Hanks plays “Sully”.

* Deepwater Horizon – The story of the 2010 disaster that caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history is directed by Peter Berg and stars Kurt Russell and Mark Wahlberg.

OCTOBER:

* The Accountant – Warrior director Gavin O’Connor is back with a thriller starring Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick and J.K. Simmons.

* Gambit – After Deadpool comes this, another spin-off set in the X-Men universe. Doug Liman is directing, with Channing Tatum in the lead.

* Inferno – Ron Howard is once again directing this third entry in the franchise that began with The Da Vinci Code (2006); Tom Hanks also returns as Robert Langdon.

* Jack Reacher: Never Go Back – Tom Cruise returns as Lee Child’s antihero, now directed by Edward Zwick. This time, Reacher is accused of an old homicide.

NOVEMBER: 

* Doctor Strange – Benedict Cumberbatch plays a surgeon who discovers a world of magic and different dimensions. Another Marvel adventure gets its big-screen treatment.

* Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – David Yates’s second movie this year is a return to Harry Potter world for him; this is a prequel set in the 1920s, starring Eddie Redmayne.

* The Great Wall – Hollywood’s love affair with the Chinese market continues with this film about a mystery surrounding the construction of China’s Great Wall. Directed by Zhang Yimou, starring Matt Damon.

* The Founder – The story of the man who turned a small hamburger joint into McDonald’s stars Michael Keaton.

DECEMBER:

* Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – A stand-alone film, a prequel to Star Wars (1977), depicting a team of rebels trying to get their hands on the plans for the Death Star. Directed by Gareth Edwards. 

* Passengers – Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt star in this space romance set in the future, directed by The Imitation Game‘s Morten Tyldum.

* Assassin’s Creed – The second adaptation this year to possibly save the reputation of movies based on video games. Stars Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. 

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