Superheroes, ghostbusters and Harry Potter and Star Wars spin-offs
Deadpool (Feb 12) A passion project for star Ryan Reynolds, his fourth-wall-breaking, meta mutant, started out in Marvel comics as a supervillain before evolving into an antihero. Dubbed “The Merc with a Mouth” due to his tendency to talk direct to the audience in between chopping perps heads off, Deadpool is a character Hollywood has long struggled to get right, but Reynolds promises big, anarchic things. “With great power,” he tweeted when he revealed the first picture of him in his suit, “comes great irresponsibility.”
Zoolander 2 (Feb 12) The selfie may be the scourge of celebrities everywhere, but for one man they are a unique nightmare. “There hasn’t been a single day of my life since Zoolander came out that someone hasn’t stuck a camera in my face and told me to ‘do Blue Steel’,” Ben Stiller told us last year. Silly boy is back with old pals Owen Williams (as Hansel) and Will Ferrell (Mugatu) as well as new recruits Penelope Cruz and Benedict Cumberbatch. Here’s hoping they can recapture the magic in a way that, say, Anchorman 2 couldn’t.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (Mar 25) Director Zack Snyder hasn’t just assembled the longest and most grammatically challenged movie title of the year; he’s teed up the superhero smackdown to beat them all. Ben Affleck’s Batman is out to kill Henry Cavill’s Superman, after the latter’s rampant destruction at the end of Man of Steel. Throw into the mix Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor and the big bad boy of Doomsday (a creature from prehistoric Krypton who killed Superman in the comics) and the stage is set. Finally, DC takes the fight to Marvel.
The Jungle Book (Apr 15) Burned after the failure of Cowboys Vs Aliens, director Jon Favreau followed it with the low key and lovely Chef, before returning, wounds healed, to the big budgets for this – a live action take on the Disney classic. The previously unknown Neel Sethi is Mowgli, and he’s supported by a ridiculously amazing cast including Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley and Lupita Nyong’o. This version also stars Idris Elba as Shere Khan (ace) and Scarlett Johansson as Kaa the snake (who will presumably be a lot more attractive this time around).
Captain America: Civil War (May 6) The most interesting of all of the Marvel individual character movie series, the Captain America saga so far has had the ‘40s serial treatment (the first movie), the ‘70s paranoia piece (the second one) and now comes… the tragedy? Certainly, the plot this time will split the Avengers into two warring factions – one led by Captain America, the other by Iron Man. Who will survive is as yet unclear, not least as not all of the actors concerned have contracts past this. One person we know will be making an entry: Tom Holland’s new Spider-Man, in the character’s first appearance in a Marvel movie.
X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27) Oscar Isaac paints his pretty face blue as Apocalypse, quite literally the daddy of all mutants, who has risen again with plans of global extinction that the rest of the team must put a spanner in. Director Bryan Singer (behind all the good X-Men movies so far) is back for what promises to be an epic war that not all of the main cast will survive. James McAvoy will also finally shave his head. So there’s that at least, if you don’t like all these endless superhero movies.
Warcraft (Jun 10) The corridors of Hollywood are littered with the corpses of videogame adaptations, from Super Mario Bros to Tomb Raider. But director Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) assures us he isn’t adding to the pile with the Avatar-like Warcraft. One of the biggest videogames in history, an online role playing game with six million subscribers, Warcraft certainly promises a complexity not often seen in the genre. “This isn’t ‘good’ versus ‘evil’. It’s a story about two warring factions – humans vs orcs. I loved what Peter Jackson did with Lord of the Rings, but in that the orcs were a faceless enemy,” says Jones. “Here they have their own story.”
Finding Dory (Jun 17) Everyone’s favourite forgetful movie fish (okay, everyone’s only forgetful movie fish) returns for the biggest animated movie of the year. Ellen DeGeneres and original director Andrew Stanton are joined by Idris Elba, Dominic West, Diane Keaton and Willem Dafoe. Pixar will feel they have something to prove since the disappointing (for them) The Good Dinosaur. And given that Stanton wrote the peerless Toy Story 3, you wouldn’t bet against them.
The BFG (Jul 1) Having wowed in Steven Spielberg’s previous movie, Bridge of Spies, Mark Rylance teams up with him again to play the Big Friendly Giant. Cast out by his gianty peers for not eating little boys and girls, the Roald Dahl creation meets a girl named Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) for a magical adventure. Not excited yet? Put it this way: The BFG reunites Spielberg with his “dream team” of producers Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy, composer John Williams and E.T. screenwriter Melissa Mathison…
Ghostbusters (Jul 15) Paul Feig, the director who has helped the world see that (a) women can be funny, and (b) people will buy tickets to watch them do it, follows up Bridesmaids (the female Hangover), The Heat (the female Lethal Weapon) and Spy (the female Bond) with his biggest reinvention yet: Ghostbusters. Standing in for Bill Murray (though he may cameo), Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson are Feig muse Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Chris Hemsworth is their receptionist. No word yet on Slimer.
Star Trek Beyond (Jul 22) With J.J. Abrams having switched galaxies to Star Wars, Fast & Furious’ Justin Lin directs this third – Simon Pegg-written – instalment of the rebooted space franchise. Partly shot on location in Dubai, this second sequel will ignore much of the plot of its predecessor, Into Darkness, and takes place two and a half years later. With Into Darkness much-maligned for its gaping plot holes and Abrams having now made the world fall back in love again with Star Wars, this Trek faces the franchise’s toughest test yet.
Bourne 5 (Jul 29) Either Bourne 5 or Bourne 4 depending on if you’re counting the Jeremy Renner-fronted spin-off of 2012 (and probably even he’d admit that you shouldn’t), this sequel sees director Paul Greengrass and star Matt Damon return. Which is no coincidence – both refused to come back to the franchise unless the other was on board. All of which would suggest that the pair have found an intriguing way to reopen the perfect loop of the original trilogy. Or that they both need the cash for home improvements. Their track record would suggest the former.
Suicide Squad (Aug 5) “It’s comic book movie 2.0,” is how Suicide Squad director David Ayer describes Warner Bros/DC’s second massive 2016 offering. “It’s the Dirty Dozen, but with comic book supervillains.” Those villains include Will Smith’s Sniper, Deadshot, Margot Robbie’s nutjob, Harley Quinn, and Cara Delevingne’s spooky Enchantress, recruited by the government for some secretive black ops. Their ostensible leader? That would be Jared Leto’s Joker, a new incarnation Ayer describes as “more social… a very smart businessman, besides being a sociopath.”
The Girl on the Train (Oct 7) Billed by many as “the next Gone Girl”, the novel (by Paula Hawkins) that Tate Taylor’s movie adaptation is based on spent a stunning 13 consecutive weeks at the top of The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2015 list. A first-person thriller centred around three women (Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson and Haley Bennett), it kicks into gear when Rachel sees something from her train to London that will draw her into a deadly situation of infidelity and murder. So, a bit like EastEnders. Only good.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Nov 18) J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter prequel takes place 70 years before the speccy one even sets foot in Hogwarts. Eddie Redmayne is lead character Newt Scamander, David Yates – who directed the last four Potters – is calling the shots. Warner Bros accounts department is presumably busy building an extension, so they’ve got room to store the inevitable box office cash.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Dec 16) The first of the Star Wars “anthology” movies, this stands apart from but comes between J.J. Abrams’ Episode VII and Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII (December 2017). Directing is Gareth Edwards, the Brit wunderkind who went from making Monsters (2010) in his bedroom to Godzilla in 2014 and who, with this, is bringing a “war movie vibe” to the Star Wars universe, with a prequel story of a group of resistance fighters – led by Felicity Jones – trying to steal the plans to the original Death Star…