Sequels, spinoffs and superheros crowd the 2016 big screen

Though the recent Star Wars film may have stolen every bit of limelight available in the 2015 cinematic year, even overshadowing summer blockbuster hit “Jurassic World”, there are numerous films now competing for center stage, all vying to be the one movie which hallmarked 2016. According to a Fandango poll taken at the start of the year, the most anticipated movies of 2016 are sequels, spinoffs or film adaptations of popular comics in the Marvel and DC cinematic universes.  

Disney and Lucasfilms are poised to continue the momentum generated by “The Force Awakens” through the release of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”, which premieres Dec.16 and stars Felicity Jones and Forest Whitaker. The film follows a group of rebels on a mission to steal plans for the Death Star, though more specific details about the movie’s plot are unknown, and will most likely be kept under wraps until the premiere date draws nearer. “Rogue One” currently holds the position of most anticipated movie of the year according to the Fandango poll, and Disney is going to keep us waiting for it; but Disney has kept us waiting before.

More than a decade ago, Disney Pixar’s “Finding Nemo” hit the big screen nationwide and finally, this year on June 17, Dory, Marlin and Nemo will return to theaters with “Finding Dory”, which chronicles the forgetful blue fish’s journey to reunite with her parents. Reprising their voice roles in the movie are Ellen Degeneres as Dory, Albert Brooks as Marlin and Willem Dafoe as Gill, the scarred leader of the tank gang. Let’s hope the movie will be worth the wait.

DC Entertainment has already excited comic book fans across the USA with the release of trailers for both “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”, and “Suicide Squad.” The Batman and Superman mash-up is on its way to becoming the most expensive movie ever made with an estimated budget of about 410 million and rising. The movie, featuring Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill,  is critical to the expansion of the DC universe if it is to compete with Marvel. DC’s other movie, “Suicide Squad” features Jared Leto, Will Smith, and Margot Robbie in the story about a group of supervillains turned antiheroes when the government summons them from prison to carry out dangerous and “suicidal” missions.

As the DC universe tries to catch up, Marvel’s universe is rapidly expanding with the premiere of “Captain America: Civil War” in May, and “Doctor Strange” in Nov. “Captain America” sees the defrosted super-soldier (Chris Evans) turn on fellow Avenger, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) as the future of the Avengers is called into question. “Doctor Strange” will star Benedict Cumberbatch as the genius neurosurgeon, who after a life altering car accident, discovers the world’s alternate dimensions. Other Marvel film adaptations, though now owned by 20th Century Fox, include “Deadpool”,  which hits theater in Feb. and stars Ryan Reynolds, and  “X-Men Apocalypse” in May.

Despite this year’s highly anticipated movies, 2016 is not expected to surpass the box office success of 2015, which set records on national and global scales. The box office is actually expected to drop five percent unless a surprise movie can really pack a punch. But let’s be realistic – it’s hard to beat Star Wars.

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