The 25 Most Anticipated Movies of 2016!
It’s officially 2016. Our Best of 2015 lists have all been published and the new year is upon us, which means it’s time to start looking to the future. Yes, 2015 was a particularly good year for movie fans, but 2016 looks pretty impressive too. You like Coen Bros. movies? We got one of those. You like Star Wars? Yup, one of those too. Critically acclaimed horror movies? Sure. Pixar? Of course. Movies where your favorite superheroes beat the crap out of each other? WE GOT TWO OF THOSE.
We put together a quick list of the 25 movies — a mix of both blockbusters and indies — that we can’t wait to see next year. This will probably change as the year goes on (our 2015 list included Jupiter Ascending, Aloha and Tomorrowland so we’re not perfect), but based on what we know right now, this is it.
Here are the movies we’re looking forward to the most in 2016, in the order of release date (those with no release date are listed in alphabetical order).
What It’s About: Hollywood superstar Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) gets kidnapped, and it’s up to studio fixer Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) to get him back safely before the media catches wind of the potential scandal.
Why We’re Excited: The Coen Brothers. Period Hollywood satire. George Clooney acting dopey. Bad kidnappers. This Channing Tatum GIF.
How could we not be excited?
What It’s About: Cancer-stricken mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) gets transformed into Deadpool, a wisecracking superhero with incredible fighting skills and an incredibly bad attitude.
Why We’re Excited: Reynolds’ first stab at Deadpool, in X-Men Origins: Wolverine was perhaps the worst modern interpretation of any comic-book character; they took a character known as a “Merc with a Mouth” and turned him into a guy who literally did not have a mouth. (He wound up looking like this.) But this solo movie, directed by Tim Miller, looks like it actually gets the character and his appeal. And in a world with so many super-serious superhero movies, we could use a dude like Deadpool to poke a few holes in this particular balloon.
What It’s About: Male model extraordinaire Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) is recruited by Interpol to help crack a string of mysterious murders of the world’s most beautiful people (including Justin Bieber, cameoing as himself), all of whom died with Zoolander’s signature Blue Steel look. What does it mean? And how does it connect to Zoolander’s arch-nemesis Mugatu (Will Ferrell)?
Why We’re Excited: The first Zoolander is one of the funniest and most rewatchable comedies of the 2000s. This long-awaited sequel reunites all the major players from the first film, including Stiller, Ferrell, and Owen Wilson as Zoolander’s buddy and rival Hansel, and adds the great Kristen Wiig to the mix. If the trailer is any indication, 2oolander should provide Magnum-sized laughs.
What It’s About: WE DON’T KNOW AND WE’RE KEEPING IT THAT WAY.
Why We’re Excited: It’s increasingly difficult in this age of spoilers to stay fresh going into a movie. But, based on the rapturous response to Robert Eggers’ vintage horror movie, we’re trying to find out as little about The Witch as possible to preserve the film’s surprises. We urge you to do the same.
Knight of Cups
What It’s About: In the latest from Terrence Malick, Christian Bale is Rick, an actor grown bored if fame and success, a “slave to the Hollywood system.” But remember, this is a Malick picture where plot has little weight – the first official synopsis of the film detailed a parable of a young prince traveling to Egypt. Like the rest of Malick’s work, Knight of Cups is more like a stream of consciousness that also happens to star Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman.
Why We’re Excited: Because it’s new Malick! Although we didn’t have to wait 20 years in between his films like back in 1998, it will have been four years since To the Wonder when Knight of Cups opens. Infamously one of the most reclusive directors who shoots a lot and then cuts out a lot, the final result of a Malick film is a mysterious piece of cinema. Whatever he cooked up with his fantastic cast – and whoever actually ends up in the final cut – is pretty much unknown at this point, besides those who saw it at Berlin last year. If anything, there’s gorgeous sweeping beach shots and much profound musing to look forward to.
What It’s About: In writer/director Jeff Nichols’ biggest movie to date, a father (Michael Shannon) goes on the run with his super-powered son (Jaeden Lieberher) to keep him safe from evil government-types who want to exploit his incredible abilities.
Why We’re Excited: Nichols, who directed Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter, and Mud, has a rare gift for blending serious character studies with broadly appealing genre fiction. So while Midnight Special looks like his most ambitious movie to date, it definitely seems in line with his previous works. Plus it stars Shannon, Nichols’ muse, along with Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton, and Sam Shepard. All signs point to this one living up to its title.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
What It’s About: Batman and Superman don’t like each other, in part due to the fallout from the events in Man of Steel (you know, the whole destroying the city thing). This dislike is fueled by Lex Luthor, who pits them against each other in a knockdown dragout brawl. Wonder Woman shows up. Doomsday shows up. Stuff hits the fan.
Why We’re Excited: We finally get the Batman vs. Superman movie that Warner Bros. has been teasing for years. Can Batfleck pull off the part of an aging Bruce Wayne? Is Jesse Eisenberg a great Lex Luthor? Does this properly tease the two-part Justice League? We’re excited to see Batman vs. Superman to find out the answers to these (and other many) questions, as much as anything else.
What It’s About: Down on their luck punk rockers The Ain’t Rights are finishing up a long and unsuccessful tour, and are about to call it quits when they get an unexpected booking at an isolated, run-down club deep in the backwoods of Oregon. What seems merely to be a third-rate gig escalates into something much more sinister when they witness an act of violence that they weren’t meant to see. Now trapped backstage, they must face off against the club’s depraved owner, Darcy Banker (Patrick Stewart), a man who will do anything to protect the secrets of his nefarious enterprise.
Why We’re Excited: Like The Witch before it, Green Room is a horror-thriller that has been blowing up on the festival circuit, playing to rave reviews at Cannes, the Toronto Film Festival and Fantastic Fest. With big-budget horror on the decline, it’s time to start looking to the indies (It Follows, anyone) for our scares.
Captain America: Civil War
What It’s About: Captain America and Iron Man punch each other in the face.
Why We’re Excited: Captain America and Iron Man punch each other in the face.
The Nice Guys
What It’s About: A down-on-his-luck private eye (Ryan Gosling) and a hired enforcer (Russell Crowe) team up to solve a mystery in the 1970s Los Angeles. Spoiler alert: they are not really nice guys.
Why We’re Excited: If you’ve seen the amazing trailer above, you know why. Iron Man 3 writer/director Shane Black and if you’ve gotten over the whole Mandarin thing, you’ll be excited to know that he’s the man behind this action-comedy, that harks back to his mid-2000s cult classic Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
What It’s About: In director Bryan Singer and screenwriter Simon Kinberg’s sequel to X-Men: Days of Future Past, we meet the most dangerous mutant yet, Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac). Professor X (James McAvoy) and Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) recruit their team of X-Men to stop the recently awakened Apocalypse from taking over the world.
Why We’re Excited: The only thing more exciting than Oscar Isaac joining the X-Men universe is Isaac playing the main villain, even if his face is shrouded in layers of blue makeup. But bad guys aside, we get to see our favorite mutants in their younger days now in the 1980s set Apocalypse. Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey, Tye Sheridan’s Cyclops, Nicholas Hoult’s Beast, Olivia Munn’s Psylocke, and Kodi Smit-McPhee’s Nightcrawler are just some of the younger characters we can’t wait to see. Also, James McAvoy is going bald for this one!
What It’s About: This time, it’s the forgetful blue tang Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) who goes missing, sending Marlin (Albert Brooks) on a new quest to find his friend in the latest sequel to a beloved Pixar classic.
Why We’re Excited: The original Finding Nemo is one of Pixar’s very best movies (or the best, according to this writer), and Finding Dory seems like a perfect premise for a return to its underwater world. Plus, original Finding Nemo (and WALL-E) director Andrew Stanton returns to Pixar to helm this movie after a dalliance in the world of live-action. It’s fashionable to slam Pixar’s increasing turn towards franchises, and maybe they are making too many of them. Still, we’re not gonna lie: We’re excited for this one.
What It’s About: The title stands for “Big Friendly Giant,” who befriends a little girl named Sophie in this adaptation of the Roald Dahl children’s classic written by Melissa Mathison and directed by Steven Spielberg.
Why We’re Excited: The BFG will be the first collaboration between Mathison and Spielberg, who made E.T. together, in more than thirty years. Sadly, it will also be their last; Mathison passed away last month after a battle with cancer. The film will also see Spielberg reteam with Mark Rylance, who stole scene after scene of this year’s Bridge of Spies from Tom Hanks. This time, he’s upgraded from supporting to lead; he plays the title character.
What It’s About: This modern Ghostbusters reboot features Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones as the female versions of the original ghost-catching gang. Paul Feig’s reboot will also feature Chris Hemsworth as the receptionist and cameos by Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Dan Akroyd, Annie Potts and Sigourney Weaver.
Why We’re Excited: As exhausting as the trend of movie reboots can be, this one has stayed at the top of our list. Not only is it a classic comedy reworked with a female cast, but one that stars four of the funniest women of our time. In the hands of Bridesmaids‘ Feig, we feel certain that the ladies’ comedic talents will be utilized well. On top of that, this reboot also means the return of the Ecto-1, proton packs and (hopefully) Slimer.
La La Land
What It’s About: A report in Deadline described this film, writer/director Damien Chazelle’s followup to his magnificent Whiplash, as “an old fashioned musical set in contemporary Los Angeles and centers on a love story between a jazz pianist and an aspiring actress.” The pianist is Ryan Gosling; the actress is Emma Stone. The cast also includes Rosemarie DeWitt, Finn Wittrock, musician John Legend, and Whiplash’s J.K. Simmons.
Why We’re Excited: See every word of “What It’s About.” Whiplash was one of the best movies of 2014. Gosling and Stone are two of our favorite actors, and they’ve been good together before (in Crazy. Stupid. Love. and even in the otherwise not-great Gangster Squad). That storyline sounds like perfect fodder for Chazelle, who’s one of the most exciting young directors to come along in a very long time.
Star Trek Beyond
What It’s About: The crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise, including Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto) go beyond … something. The big new addition to the cast in this third nu-Trek is Idris Elba as the film’s mystery villain. (SPOILER ALERT: It’s not Khan.)
Why We’re Excited: If you’re going to carry on J.J. Abrams’ action-packed Star Trek series without J.J. Abrams, you need a director who understands blending big action setpieces with great character beats and plenty of heartfelt emotion. As the director of four Fast & Furious movies, Justin Lin proved he’s a master of exactly that; his addition to the Star Trek Beyond crew. It’s also wildly exciting that Simon Pegg, Trek’s new Scotty (and the co-writer of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) helped pen the movie’s screenplay. With that combo in the Captain’s chair, we’re hoping this Star Trek goes more boldly than any Star Trek has gone before.
Untitled Bourne Sequel
What It’s About: Not much is known about the upcoming fifth Bourne film other than the fact that, after a brief departure to focus on Jeremy Renner, Matt Damon is back as Jason Bourne.
Why We’re Excited: Matt Damon is back! And he brought Paul Greengrass (director of The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum) back with him! The subpar Bourne Legacy never got us very excited about the Bourne world without Bourne, so it’s great to have the old gang back together again.
What It’s About: A group of the world’s most deadliest and dangerous supervillains (including Will Smith’s Deadshot and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn) are recruited to stop a powerful enemy. But, these villains quickly realize they’re being set up to fail, will they save the day, or die trying?
Why We’re Excited: In a world where Batman vs. Superman seems to be trying to play catch up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Suicide Squad is bravely forging its own insanely unique cast. Did you think you’d ever see the day when a blockbuster superhero movie would star Killer Croc? Good or bad, Suicide Squad looks like nothing else that has come before it. Oh, and did we mention The Joker?
What It’s About: Disney’s remaking their 1977 live-action, animation hybrid about an orphan boy whose only friend is a green dragon named Elliott. The modernized remake directed by David Lowery stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Wes Bentley and newcomer Oakes Fegley.
Why We’re Excited: Out of Disney’s many in-the-works live-action reboots, Pete’s Dragon is the one that’d benefit most from modern CG (the original’s animation was pretty bad). The 1977 movie hasn’t aged well either, so any new adjustments Disney brings to the story can only help make this remake more worthwhile. One thing we do know is Lowery’s film is ditching the musical elements from the original, which is good news for the few odd songs it featured about child abuse. No thanks.
The Girl on the Train
What It’s About: Emily Blunt plays Rachel, an alcoholic divorcee whose morning commute leads her to discover something shocking about a seemingly perfect married couple. Director Tate Taylor’s (The Help) adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ best seller of the same name also stars Justin Theroux, Rebecca Ferguson, Luke Evans, Allison Janney, Lisa Kudrow and Haley Bennett.
Why We’re Excited: A psychological thriller with a female lead that’s packed with as many twists as this one has us on the edge of our seats. That fact that DreamWorks acquired rights to the film before it was published, especially since it was Hawkins’ debut novel, also has our interest. Get ready for 2016’s Gone Girl.
What It’s About: In director Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange, Benedict Cumerbatch stars as Doctor Stephen Strange, a surgeon who discovers the world of magic after a car accident. Tilda Swinton plays The Ancient One, Chiwetel Ejiofor is Baron Mordo, Mads Mikkelson is an unnamed main villain and Rachel MacAdams is an unnamed fellow surgeon.
Why We’re Excited: This looks to be one of the strangest Marvel movies yet. Derrickson, best known for Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, will likely bring a darkness to the film that would set it a part from the glossy Marvel cannon. And with the gender-swapped casting of Swinton as The Ancient One (a male in the comic books), you can be sure to expect the unexpected in Doctor Strange.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
What It’s About: When magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) comes to New York, some of the magical creatures he’s collected escape from his briefcase. The latest from J.K. Rowling follows the clash of the American and UK wizarding worlds in this new film that also stars Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton.
Why We’re Excited: Um, new J.K. Rowling with a screenplay by Rowling, anyone? Yes please! Any chance to revisit the Harry Potter author’s wizarding world is one we will gladly sign up for, especially when we get to see a whole new magical realm. In Fantastic Beasts, Rowling introduces us to a new set of characters set in the previously-unseen American world of magic. Plus, we get to meet all those magical creatures from Harry’s textbook.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
What It’s About: Set in a time period before A New Hope, Star Wars: Rogue One follows a group of resistance fighters who team up to steal the plans to the Death Star.
Why We’re Excited: Uhhhh, because it’s a new Star Wars movie? But, also because it’s the first of the Star Wars spinoffs, dubbed the Star Wars Anthology Series. Is there life beyond Episodes VII-IX? Director Gareth Edwards has promised a Star Wars movie with no Jedis, and there are rumors of the return of a certain dark-helmeted villain, and that’s just about enough to get us excited.
The Neon Demon
What It’s About: The latest from Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) stars Elle Fanning as an aspiring model who moves to Los Angeles only to be devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women. Since this is a horror film, and one inspired by Countess Bathory who bathed in virgin’s blood, we’re not sure how literal to take that synopsis. The Neon Demon also stars Christina Hendricks, Jena Malone and Keanu Reeves.
Why We’re Excited: After Bronson and Drive, Refn’s career took a sour turn with Only God Forgives where neon lights were more of a character than the brooding Ryan Gosling. But we have hope! The Neon Demon marks Refn’s first foray into the horror genre and his first film about women without a violent male protagonist. If done right, the film could put Refn back on the map. Getting even more risky, Refn is filming the Amazon Studios film in 60 fps. Expect lots of gore, blood and beauty in high-def frame rates.
What It’s About: In Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster, Colin Farrell is David, a single man who must check into The Hotel where visitors are required to find a romantic partner within 45 days. If they fail to find someone, they’re transformed into the animal of their choice to live as for the remainder of their live in The Forest.
Why We’re Excited: Any chance to take a trip down the absurdist, dark, satirical mind of Lanthimos (the same guy behind Dogtooth) is one we’re eager for. This dystopian sci-fi comedy looks to promise another set of baffling rules and regulations governing its characters, serving as some sort of wacky inflated commentary on modern dating. There’s also supporting roles from a fantastic cast including Rachel Weisz, Léa Seydoux, John C. Reilly and Ben Whishaw.