ByGrant Hermanns, writer at
I know way too much about movies, my mind is like a walking IMDB, only not perfect. Don't forget to hit up my Twitter: @grantheftautho
Grant Hermanns

Another year has come and gone, and as we look back at what 2016 has given us and think about some stellar films, killer soundtracks and thrilling TV shows, let us not forget that one of the best things 2016 gave us were incredible trailers for films — some from 2016 and others still to come. With 2017 in its infancy, let's take a look back at some of the best trailers released in 2016.

10 Cloverfield Lane

  • Director: Dan Trachtenberg
  • Stars: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, John Gallagher Jr.
  • Trailer Drop: January 15, 2016
  • Release Date: March 8, 2016

In addition to being one of the best trailers featured in 2016, this is easily on my personal top 10 list of movies this year. Rather than setting itself up as a direct sequel to the surprise 2008 hit Cloverfield, the film took a script for another film and reworked it to loosely connect itself to its predecessor. Thanks to its intriguing mystery and captivating performances, 10 Cloverfield Lane became another surprise hit for the franchise.

The first trailer, secretly attached to another Paramount release 13 Hours in January, offered viewers a glimpse into why the film would be so successful, as it was eerie, tense, stylish and very well-edited, effectively using a seemingly upbeat song to create a quietly suspenseful atmosphere.

Hardcore Henry

  • Director: Ilya Naishuller
  • Stars: Sharlto Copley, Haley Bennett, Tim Roth
  • Trailer Drop: February 10, 2016
  • Release Date: April 8, 2016

Even if it received mixed reviews from both critics and audiences upon release, Hardcore Henry was still one of the most unique experiences delivered to us this year as well as one of the most technically groundbreaking films in recent history.

There have been very few movies filmed entirely from the first-person perspective, and Henry became a smash viral hit leading up to the film's premiere thanks to its stylish and fast-paced trailer that shows off how much fun could be had watching the movie. It also made solid use of the classic rock song "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen, which never hurts.


  • Director: Peter Atencio
  • Stars: Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Method Man, Will Forte
  • Trailer Drop: January 21, 2016
  • Release Date: April 29, 2016

Equal parts a love letter to fans of their series and a chance to draw in new fans not used to their brand of humor, Keanu was the first on-screen reunion of stars Key and Peele following the conclusion of their hit Comedy Central sketch series, Key & Peele.

Following two cousins posing as drug dealers so one may get his cat back from the gangster who stole it, the film itself features all of the humor that made the show a fan-favorite. The first trailer premiered on the stars' home channel, Comedy Central, and featured much of the uncut humor that made the movie hysterical, as well as some good music to appropriately capture the film's fast-paced and zany tone.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

  • Director: Nicholas Stoller
  • Stars: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, Chloe Moretz
  • Trailer Drop: April 7, 2016
  • Release Date: May 20, 2016

Technically, the first trailer for this film dropped in January, but the first red band trailer came in April and showed how truly hysterical the film was going to be. Though the movie did hit a lot of the same notes as its predecessor, it also featured a lot of good messages about feminism and equality without hitting audiences over the head with them.

Red band trailers for R-rated comedies are always the ones people should look for when trying to determine whether to see a movie or not, because even if they give away some of the better jokes, they still give audiences a good idea of the fun times to be expected. The Neighbors 2 trailer was no exception, delivering plenty of raunch, partying and shirtless Seth Rogen and Zac Efron to draw in fans.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

  • Directors: Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone
  • Stars: Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, Tim Meadows
  • Trailer Drop: March 10, 2016
  • Release Date: June 3, 2016

Effectively bringing back the rock mockumentary for the modern generation, Popstar reunited the comedy musical trio, The Lonely Island, for one of the funniest and smartest satirical comedies in a while.

The red-band trailer for this film did a great job at showing exactly how wrong and explicit the film would get, both in its clever soundtracks and hilarious lead performance from Sandberg. Here's the hilarious R-rated trailer for the comedy mockumentary:

The Conjuring 2

  • Director: James Wan
  • Stars: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Frances O'Connor, Madison Wolfe
  • Trailer Drop: March 26, 2016
  • Release Date: June 10, 2016

Easily one of the most terrifying movies this year, the follow-up to the 2013 smash horror hit saw our real-life paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, traveling to London to help a family of five who are being haunted by a spirit targeting and seemingly possessing the second oldest daughter.

After patiently waiting three years since the first entry in the series, fans were both elated and scared shitless upon the release of the first trailer for the sequel, which promised a fast-paced and intense story again adapted from a real-life occurrence — as well as a new villain even more terrifying than the famed Annabelle doll: The Nun.

Central Intelligence

  • Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
  • Stars: Kevin Hart, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Amy Ryan, Aaron Paul
  • Trailer Drop: March 16, 2016
  • Release Date: June 17, 2016

When the first trailer for Central Intelligence dropped, many fans of the lead actors became hyped for the movie and found it to look funny, while most general audiences looked at it and saw another generic buddy comedy. However, upon release, the film turned out to be one of the funniest comedies of 2016, further solidifying Kevin Hart's reign over the comedic industry and Johnson's range of more than just an action star.

The first teaser trailer was a really good indicator of why the film would work, giving The Rock a bizarre and unique character different from past roles, while also showing off some solid chemistry between its leads.

Lights Out

  • Director: David F. Sandberg
  • Stars: Teresa Palmer, Maria Bello, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia
  • Trailer Drop: March 26, 2016
  • Release Date: July 22, 2016

Widely hailed as one of the most ingenious and inventive horror movies in years, Lights Out was a smash hit this year with both reviews and at the box office, scoring a "Certified Fresh" approval rating of 76% on Rotten Tomatoes from critics and earning nearly $150 million at the box office against a small $4.9 million budget.

The first trailer is a great sign of why the film was set to succeed, as it was an eerie, stylish and very creepy insight into the world of villain Diana's victims.

Suicide Squad

  • Director: David Ayer
  • Stars: Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis
  • Trailer Drop: January 19, 2016
  • Release Date: August 5, 2016

It pains me to include this one on the list because, even though it is one of my favorite movie trailers of all-time, the film was still a let-down compared to its trailer. However, we are not here to discuss the quality of the film itself, we are here to discuss the trailer — and boy oh boy is this trailer amazing. You know a trailer has succeeded in hyping an audience when it holds nearly 80 million views on YouTube.

It introduces us to nearly all of our major players, showcases much of the film's stylish action, illustrates that the film's tone is a more comical approach to the DCU, and highlights some fantastic performances from the cast. In particular Margot Robbie, who earned universal praise in a movie that earned generally negative reviews.

Pete's Dragon

  • Director: David Lowery
  • Stars: Bryce Dallas Howard, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Robert Redford
  • Trailer Drop: June 14, 2016
  • Release Date: August 12, 2016

I'm going to be honest here, when I first heard the news of the plan to remake this classic Disney film, my heart sank.The original is such a charming and underrated film that it needed to be left alone. I ignored all news and updates on the film in the following months, not seeing a trailer for the film until attending a Finding Dory screening in the summer.

And the trailer blew me away, hitting on all the right nostalgic notes and even brought me to tears, easily earning a spot on this list.

Sausage Party

  • Directors: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon
  • Stars: Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Edward Norten, Salma Hayek
  • Trailer Drop: March 14, 2016
  • Release Date: August 12, 2016

Equally recognized as being one of the most offensive, controversial, original and funniest comedies of the year, Sausage Party was one of the most talked about films of 2016, and for good reason.

Its genius premise is supported by some phenomenal animation, hilariously clever writing and voice acting, and all of this is shown in the first trailer, which happened to be the red band trailer.

The Magnificent Seven

  • Director: Antoine Fuqua
  • Stars: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio
  • Trailer Drop: April 20, 2016
  • Release Date: September 23, 2016

Whenever Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua get together, it's practically a recipe for success, and The Magnificent Seven is no exception — especially with its trailer. Though seemingly a simplistic plot, the trailer does a fantastic job of highlighting the film's fast-paced and explosive action, as well as wonderful humor and a great cover of the classic rock song "House of the Rising Sun" to add to the adventurous feel.

The Accountant

  • Director: Gavin O'Connor
  • Stars: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, John Lithgow
  • Trailer Drop: May 12, 2016
  • Release Date: October 14, 2016

Both an intriguing character study of a highly-functioning autistic man leading a double life and an action thriller of the man's past coming back to get him, The Accountant was one of the most intriguing stories told all year.

The first trailer did a phenomenal job drawing in audiences to be captivated by the world of the titular character, stylishly edited to create a thrilling atmosphere thanks to the inclusion of the song "Everything in its Right Place" by Radiohead.

Collateral Beauty

  • Director: David Frankel
  • Stars: Will Smith, Edward Norton, Helen Mirren, Naomie Harris
  • Trailer Drop: September 7, 2016
  • Release Date: December 16, 2016

Even if the film didn't quite turn out the way critics and audiences were hoping for, the reason expectations were so high for this film were thanks to the trailers promoting it — particularly the first. The film follows a man who copes with the death of his daughter by writing letters to death, time and love and in turn begins receiving visits and having conversations with personified versions of each.

The film's premise combines a unique fantasy element reminiscent of It's a Wonderful Life with a familiar story of love and loss to be carried by a powerful lead performance from Smith, and the first trailer showed all of these elements, personally bringing a tear to my eye seeing Smith's emotionally committed performance.


  • Director: M. Night Shyamalan
  • Stars: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Haley Lu Richardson
  • Trailer Drop: July 27, 2016
  • Release Date: January 20, 2017

After over a decade of making consecutive stinkers, once promising writer/director M. Night Shyamalan finally seems to be re-discovering his prime, beginning with his previous work, The Visit, and now with what may be his next masterpiece, Split.

Following a group of girls kidnapped by a man suffering from dissociative identity disorder with 23 different identities, the film looks to be carried by two things: Shyamalan's assured stylish direction and a stellar lead performance from McAvoy. The first trailer for the film showed how it will be an effectively eerie and tense thriller and how mesmerizing McAvoy will be portraying 23 different identities in one film.

xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage

  • Director: DJ Caruso
  • Stars: Vin Diesel, Samuel L. Jackson, Ruby Rose, Deepika Padukone
  • Trailer Drop: July 19, 2016
  • Release Date: January 20, 2017

After over a decade of fans demanding a return of the franchise's original star, xXx is finally returning to the big screen with star Vin Diesel returning as Xander Cage for another mission to save the free world from terrorists as only xXx can.

The first trailer did a great job to tease at a big story full of stylish and well-choreographed action, as well as another charismatic and thrilling lead performance from Diesel.

John Wick: Chapter 2

  • Director: Chad Stahelski
  • Stars: Keanu Reeves, Lawrence Fishburne, Ruby Rose, Common
  • Trailer Drop: October 8, 2016
  • Release Date: February 10, 2017

The first John Wick was a very welcome surprise when it came out in 2014, and thanks to its critical and commercial success, parent company Summit Entertainment quickly greenlit a sequel with both the original writer and original director returning alongside star Keanu Reeves.

While the first didn't need to offer much in the way of a plot, many were worried about just how a sequel could possibly top the first — but those worries were put to bed with the release of the first trailer, which featured more of the same stylish action, calm demeanor and stunning cinematography that made the first film such a hit.

The Lego Batman Movie

  • Director: Chris McKay
  • Stars: Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Ralph Fiennes
  • Trailer Drop: March 24, 2016
  • Release Date: February 10, 2017

The Lego Movie was one of the most original and unique animated movies of the millennium, and amidst all of its smart humor and vibrant characters was the heavily exaggerated version of the famous DC Comics superhero, Batman, wonderfully voiced by comedy star Will Arnett.

After the film's major success and the widespread praise for the portrayal of Batman, Warner Bros. immediately ordered a spin-off film for the hero, with Arnett returning to voice the character. The first teaser trailer debuted with the release of Batman v. Superman, showing how hilarious the solo film will be and how Arnett will keep the animated Lego streak going.

A Cure For Wellness

  • Director: Gore Verbinski
  • Stars: Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth, Adrian Schiller
  • Trailer Drop: October 19, 2016
  • Release Date: February 17, 2017

Having directed one of the most famous horror films from this generation with The Ring, Gore Verbinski has an eye for directing some very stylish and very intense films, and his upcoming return to the horror genre, A Cure For Wellness, looks no different.

The first teaser trailer for the film drew us in with an overall ambiguous and mysterious atmosphere that blends a sense of gothic horror and psychological thriller with some stunning visuals to add up to a potentially terrifying journey.

Get Out

  • Director: Jordan Peele
  • Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford
  • Trailer Drop: October 4, 2016
  • Release Date: February 24, 2017

Primarily well-known for his comedic talents, the world received a major shock when it was announced that Jordan Peele was going to write and direct a horror film, finding it bizarre and an intriguing idea at the same time.

When the trailer for it finally dropped in October, it was a major surprise to everyone, as it pointed towards being a truly chilling and intense psychological thriller.


  • Director: James Mangold
  • Stars: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Boyd Holbrook, Elise Neal
  • Trailer Drop: October 20, 2016
  • Release Date: March 3, 2017

As the current X-Men film franchise looks to be coming to an end with a potential reboot planned for the future, the storylines are all wrapping up in major fashion, but the one set to wow us all and bring us to tears by the end is the upcoming conclusion to everybody's favorite X-Man: Wolverine. Taking inspiration from the "Old Man Logan" storyline, Logan follows our titular hero as his healing factor begins failing him as he and Professor Xavier protect a young mutant with powers similar to Logan from a sinister group.

The trailer pulled at every Wolverine fan's heartstrings thanks to its quieter approach showing off the action, a slower opening to the trailer and the emotionally deep Johnny Cash cover of the Nine Inch Nails song, "Hurt."

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2

  • Director: James Gunn
  • Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista
  • Trailer Drop: December 3, 2016
  • Release Date: May 5, 2017

The 2014 superhero origin of the cosmic hero team became one of the biggest and most talked about superhero movies in the past 15 years. It didn't do much in the way of reinventing the superhero formula, but did offer such a unique style, humor and killer soundtrack that put it to the top of many reviewers' lists as one of the top superhero movies of all time.

Based on the trailers released for the sequel, it looks to continue the streak with another hilarious, incredibly stylish and fast-paced joy ride, throwing everyone's hype levels through the roof.

Alien: Covenant

  • Director: Ridley Scott
  • Stars: Michael Fassbender, Danny McBride, Katherine Waterston, Demian Bichir
  • Trailer Drop: December 24, 2016
  • Release Date: May 19, 2017

One of the longest running sci-fi franchises, the Alien series has been both a fan and critical favorite, making an cumulative $1.1 billion at the box office and holding an average of 73% approval ratings from critics on review aggregate website, Rotten Tomatoes.

After a couple middling sequels in the '90s and the Alien vs. Predator movies, the franchise remained dormant before returning with Prometheus, offering a new storyline and new captivating characters bringing us back to the universe. Now, thanks to a thrilling first trailer, the sequel Alien: Covenant looks to up the ante on the action and terror.


  • Director: Seth Gordon
  • Stars: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Alexandra Daddario, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra
  • Trailer Drop: December 9, 2016
  • Release Date: May 25, 2017

Movies based on TV shows have had a tough time over the years in finding success, some becoming huge hits such as the Jump Street franchise, while some fall flat, including The Last Airbender.

However, the first NSFW trailer for the next entry into the genre, Baywatch, looks to bring us one of the funniest and most epic adaptations sure to rewrite the genre, featuring plenty of scantily clad ladies, shirtless Zac Efron and The Rock, clever humor and fast-paced action to thrill all viewers.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

  • Director: Jon Watts
  • Stars: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei, Zendaya
  • Trailer Drop: December 8, 2016
  • Release Date: July 7, 2017

In the third iteration of his big-screen franchise, Marvel superhero Spider-Man may have found not only the best actor to portray him, but also the best way of telling the hero's story.

Rather than go for a straight origin story once more, Spider-Man: Homecoming is picking up shortly after the events of Civil War. In telling Peter Parker's struggles with high school and becoming a hero, the first trailer does a fantastic job of setting up a solid premise thrilling action, quirky vibe and great humor.

Blade Runner 2049

  • Director: Denis Villenueve
  • Stars: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, Robin Wright
  • Trailer Drop: December 19, 2016
  • Release Date: October 6, 2017

Widely hailed as one of the greatest science-fiction films in cinematic history, the first Blade Runner has held up throughout all this time thanks to the visionary genius of Ridley Scott's direction and the truly thought-provoking storytelling.

After years of struggling to get a sequel made, the time has finally come for a follow-up, and the first trailer for the film showed that with the talent involved on the project, the wait has been worth it, delivering another beautifully shot, stylish and intriguing mystery.

What was your favorite trailer released in 2016? Which movie are you really looking forward to in 2017? Let us know in the comments below!


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