The 21 most anticipated movies of 2016
2015 was an exciting and storied year in film, from the release of critically-acclaimed movies like AI-exploration thriller "Ex Machina" to "Spotlight," the ensemble drama chronicling The Boston Globe's Pulitzer-prize winning coverage of the Catholic Church, to "Star Wars: The Force Awakens'" record-breaking box-office debut.
But this year's poised to be even better with a thrilling lineup of reboots, sequels, and buzzed-about debut series hitting the box office.
From Pixar's "Finding Dory," the long-awaited follow-up to "Finding Nemo," to J.K. Rowling's screenwriting debut, "Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them," here's what's coming up in 2016.
Check out our six second recap:
"Kung Fu Panda 3"Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images
Release date: January 29
It's been four years since the release "Kung Fu Panda 2" but the third installment of the DreamWorks franchise is rearing to go with the same all-star cast including Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, and newcomer Academy-Award winner J.K. Simmons.
"Deadpool"20th Century Fox
Release date: February 12
Ryan Reynolds trades in his DC Comics Green Lantern suit for Marvel's Deadpool who, after being subjected to an experiment that leaves him with incredible healing powers, hunts down the man who almost destroyed his life.
"Zoolander 2"AP Photo/Christophe Ena
Release date: February 12
It's been nearly 15 years since we first met Derek Zoolander and Hansel, but the models are back for another round of "Steel Blue." Joining the roster of comedy stars for the sequel are Penelope Cruz and former SNL cast members Kristen Wiig and Fred Armisen.
"The Divergent Series: Allegiant"Jaap Buitendijk/Summit Entertainment
Release date: March 18
The third film in the wildly popular action-adventure series follows Shailene Woodley and Theo James' characters as they escape beyond the walls of their dystopian city. "Allegiant" is part one of the two-part movie based on the final book of the trilogy.
"Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice"Warner Bros.
Release date: March 25
Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill are Batman and Superman, respectively, in this 3D follow-up to 2013's "Man of Steel." The first live-action film to include both superheros sees Batman out for revenge against Superman as — you guessed it — a new threat endangers humanity.
"The Jungle Book"Jesse Grant/Getty
Release date: April 15
Disney's 1967 animated film gets a live-action reboot in this 3D tale of a boy (played by 11-year-old Neel Sethi) who flees the jungle he was raised in after being threatened for his life. Jon Favreau directs an all-star cast including Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, and Academy-Award winners Lupita Nyong'o, Ben Kingsley, and Christopher Walken.
"The Huntsman: Winter's War"IMDB.com
Release date: April 22
2012's "Snow White and the Huntsman" gets a prequel with Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron reprising their roles while Emily Blunt as the Ice Queen and Jessica Chastain as Sara, the Huntsman's love interest.
"Captain America: Civil War"Courtesy of Disney
Release date: May 6
After the world's governments pass regulations on superhuman activity, former Avengers allies Captain America and Iron Man go head to head in this 3D adventure starring Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr.
Release date: May 13
Joseph Gordon-Levitt portrays the title role a former CIA agent who leaked classified government documents to the press in 2013. The biopic thriller, directed by Oliver Stone, is based on the book "The Snowden Files" and also stars Shailene Woodley as Snowden's girlfriend, Nicholas Cage, and Scott Eastwood.
"X-Men: Apocalypse"Getty Images
Release date: May 27
The ninth installment in the "X-Men" series and the sequel to 2014's "X-Men: Days of Future Past" features an ensemble cast including James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, and Michael Fassbender and introduces a team of newcomers as the young X-Men who must defeat the immortal Apocalypse on his quest to wipe out mankind.
"Alice Through the Looking Glass"YouTube/Disney
Release date: May 27
Producer Tim Burton travels back to Wonderland in this enchanting tale based on Lewis Carroll's follow-up novel to the original "Alice in Wonderland." Mia Wasikowska reprises her role as Alice, with Johnny Depp returning to play the Mad Hatter alongside Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sacha Baron Cohen.
Release date: June 3
Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone, AKA The Lonely Island, have finally brought their act to the big screen with a top-secret comedy-musical project set to be released next summer. Not many details have been revealed about the film, but we do know that the trio will star and comedy king Judd Apatow is on board to produce.
"Finding Dory"Jesse Grant/Getty
Release date: June 17
Fans of Pixar's 2003 award-winning animated hit "Finding Nemo" have been anxiously awaiting this follow-up starring Ellen DeGeneres' forgetful fish Dory as she embarks on a journey to reunite with her parents.
Release date: July 15
The "Ghostbusters" franchise is getting a remake with an all-female cast starring comedy queens Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones with cameos by original Ghostbusters Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray.
"Star Trek Beyond"Francois Nel/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures
Release date: July 22
The third installment of the renewed Star Trek film series will watch as USS Enterprise crew, led by Chris Pine as Captain James T. Kirk, are attacked by a group of powerful unknown aliens who destroy their ship and leave them stranded on a new planet.
Untitled "Bourne" sequelBourne Identity/Universal
Release date: July 29
This is the fifth film in the Bourne series and the sequel to 2007's "The Bourne Ultimatum." Although Matt Damon did not appear in the last film "The Bourne Legacy," he cowrote the screenplay for this one and he's back starring as title character Jason Bourne.
"Suicide Squad"David Ayer/Twitter
Release date: August 5
"Suicide Squad" features Will Smith, Cara Delevingne, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Jai Courtney, Joel Kinnaman, and Viola Davis in this DC Comics antihero film in which a secret government agency asks imprisoned super villains to complete dangerous missions in exchange for clemency.
"Sausage Party"Steve Jennings/Getty Images
Release date: August 12
This adult comedy is Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's first foray into animation and it's going to be as filthy and hilarious as you'd expect. The voice cast is a roster of today's greatest comedic actors including Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Paul Rudd, Michael Cera, Danny McBride, and Bill Hader.
"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them"Warner Bros
Release date: November 18
"Fantastic Beasts" is the film adaptation of J.K. Rowling's 2001 book of the same name (published under the pseudonym Newt Scamander) and will be the first installment of a new trilogy with Rowling as the screenwriter. The film will feature Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne) navigating the wizarding world in New York 70 years prior to Harry Potter's story.
"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney
Release date: December 16
The "Star Wars" franchise had a prosperous 2015 holiday season and it seems that history may repeat itself with the release of "Rogue One," the first installment of the "Star Wars Anthology" collection of stand-alone stories set in the "Star Wars" universe. The film will star Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, and Ben Mendelsohn, and will be directed by Gareth Edwards.
Release date: December 21
Michael Fassbender stars as both Callum Lynch and his 15th-century ancestor Aguilar as Lynch discovers he comes from the Assassin bloodline in this film based on the popular video game series.
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