ByRyan Murphy, writer at
Ryan Murphy

Here we are, one month into 2016, and we have several films to look forward to. There are a great number of hyped up films coming out this year that merit a gander.

Now, what do I mean by “hype” films. In short, a film, usuaually an action-adventure film, that has some sort of fanbase already built in, leading to anticipation and excitement. So usually, it means sequels, prequels, and reboots. Over the past few years, there has been much derision over how we have far too many of these in Hollywood.. And that may be true. But lik eit or not, that is essentially what gets a film hype, and that’s what we’re here to look at today! While an original adventure film may end up being the best of the year

Here I’ve detailed a few of the most anticipated, or at least most fascinating, films coming out in the first three months of 2016, and also put them into one of three categories of what brings them that level of interest.

Categories of “hype”

Sequel /spinoff / reboot / remake
Adaptation (yes, I know a remake is a type of adaptation, but this we’ll include it separate)
Author – There are certain films that are hyped alone by the person or peoples making them.

(Opening this weekend)
Jan. 29: Kung Fu Panda 3
Hype: Sequel / author (DreamWorks Animation)

Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson & Alessando Carloni
Produced by Melissa Cobb
Starring the voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, James Hong, Bryan Cranston, Kate Hudson, J.K. Simmons
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Studio: DreamWorks Animation
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Any film from DreamWorks Animation deserves a place on this list, but this even more so as it is also a sequel in a very popular franchise. One must hesitate to use the term “conclusion to a trilogy,” as a fourth film is always possible. But three is almost always the number where stopping is a solid option. So this may be just that.

Feb. 12: Deadpool

Hype: Adaptation / spinoff

Directed by: Tim Miller
Produced by: Lauren Schuler Donner, Simon Kinberg, & Ryan Reynolds
Written by: Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick
Based on the comic book created by Rob Liefield
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, TJ Miller, Gina Carano, Andre Tricoteux
Music by: Tom Holkenborg
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

One has to admire the persistence on the part of the filmmakers, the lead actor, and the fans, that has led this movie made! Deadpool, as a comic book character, has gotten such an intense and loyal following that one can see hats and tee-shirts just about anywhere they go. Ryan Reynolds was already a fan-favorite for the part for some time before he won the role for the 2009 film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. This was intended to set up for his own spinoff. Yet that movie, and it’s depiction of Wade Wilson, met with universal disdain, and the fate of the solo film looked bleak. Even after hiring writers and a director, ages went by with the movie stuck in the development rut, with no end in sight.

Then, one day, the people involved decided to give the film a jumpstart, making a 60-second “test reel” that then debuted online. The massively popular response to this effort was finally enough to get the studios in gear and greenlight the feature! And here it is! Ryan Reynold in particular has shown a huge degree of passion for this project, and, as a self-proclaimed fan, has continually promised the fans that they are making the best film possible to deliver on their expectations. That’s the kind of attitude that anyone wants behind their movie!

Mar. 04: Zootopia

Hype: Author (Walt Disney Animation Studios)

Directed by Byron Howard & Rich Moore
Produced by Clark Spencer
Written by Jared Bush & Phil Johnston
Starring the voices of Idris Elba, Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, J.K. Simmons, Alan Tudyk, Bonnie Hunt, Octavia Spencer, Tony ‘Tiny’ Lister, John DiMaggio, Tommy Chong, Shakira, Nate Torrence
Music by Michael Giacchino
Distributed by: Walt Disney

The 55th Walt Disney Animation Studios film takes the classic idea of anthropomorphizing animals (as in Disney’s Robin Hood or the world of Mickey Mouse), and takes it to it’s fullest degree, taking place in a world much like our own, but where everyone is some form of creature, with just about the entire animal kingdom represented!

Disney Animation Studios has, of course, given us many of the most classic animated films of all time. But the company hit a rut as the new millennium dawned, largely being outdone in quality by Pixar, DreamWorks, and other animation companies. However, since Pixar’s John Lasseter took over management in 2007, the studio has been on a major upswing, giving us films like Tangled, Frozen and Big Hero 6. Hopefully this film will continute the trend, and continue to show that

Mar. 18: The Divergent Series: Allegiant

Hype: Adaptation / sequel

Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Based on the novel Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Starring: Shailene Woodley
Distributed by: Lionsgate & Summit

Like Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games before it, the final chapter in Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy is being unnecessarily split into two parts. These parts will at least have different titles, with the final film being given the new title Ascendant.Divergent, while not being quite as popular as the above three franchises, has still proven a worthy box-office successor. And with The Maze Runner also running around, it looks like we’re not done with young-adult-book-series adaptations just yet.

Mar. 25: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Hype: Adaptation / sequel / reboot (of Batman)

Directed by: Zack Snyder
Produced by: Deborah Snyder & Charles Roven
Written by: Chris Terrio & David S. Goyer
Based on the DC comic books, Superman created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster; Batman created by Bob Kane & Bill Finger, & Wonder Woman created by William Moulton Marston
Starring: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, Diane Lane, Holly Hunter, Tao Okamoto Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Scoot McNairy, Michael Shannon, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lauren Cohan
Music by Hans Zimmer & Tom Holkenborg
Distributed by: Warner Bros.

The onscreen meeting seventy-five years in the making! The Avengers proved how much hype superhero crossovers can create, and there are no two superheroes better known than these.

For a long time, the biggest elephant in the room with this film was the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman. However, fans seem to have come to a peace, or at least acceptance, of that, as well as the off-color casting of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. There are still plenty of critics, however, including those who weren't fond of Man of Steel.

In addition to being such monumental first meeting, the is also one step further in the “DC Extended Universe,” which is attempting to finally catch up to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with all the heroes congregating in a pair of Justice League films. Over the next two years, expect to see plenty of build-up to the first such film.Director Zack Snyder, his wife and producer Deborah Snyder, and producer Charles Roven, are together heading up the management of this universe, becoming DC’s Kevin Feige.

Apr. 15: The Jungle Book

Hype: Remake / adaptation

Directed by Jon Favreau

Prodcued by Jon Favreau

Screenplay by Justin Marks

Based on the book by Rudyard Kipling and the previous film

Starring: Neil Sethi, an the voices of Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken, Giancarlo Esposito

Music by John Debney

Distributed by: Walt Disney

The latest in Disney’s new line of live-action remakes of their animated classics. Along with superhero films and adaptations of young adult book series, this seems to be one of the major cash cow ideas in Hollywood. It’s also not the only adaptation of the Jungle Book coming out. Warner Bros. also has their own version (now dubbed Jungle Book: Origins coming out next year. Audiences will just have to decide which version they like best. (remember when two Snow White films came out a few years ago? Yeah, it’s kind of like that. Speaking of which…)

Apr. 22: The Huntsman: Winter’s War

Hype: Prequel (to an adaptation)

Produced by Joe Roth

Starring Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt

Music by James Newton Howard

To be honest, this is somewhat stretching the word “hype.” Today, a film only needs to be a moderate hit to receive a sequel (or in this case, prequel), and Snow White and the Huntsman seems to qualify. So while fans of the first film may look forward to this, it’s not something I feel anyone will be lining up to a midnight showing for.

Apr. 29: Ratchet & Clank

Hype: Adaptation

Directed by Jericca Cleland & Kevin Munroe

Written by Todd Fixman

Based on the video game series

Starring the voices of James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye, Sylvester Stallone, John Goodman, Paul Giamatti, Rosario Dawson, Bella Thorne, Armin Shimmerman, Alessandro Juliani

Music by: Evan Wise

Distributed by: Focus Features

The popular video game series becomes a motion picture! The film comes complete withclassic video game voice actors James Arnold Taylor and David Kaye returning to voice the title characters, witho some more famous celebrities filling out the supporting roles.

Fans of the game may be happy. However, coming from no major animation studio, this also looks like it will be a somewhat under-the-radar film, coming from no major animation studio and not carrying too much talk over it. However, the games have enough of a following to justify putting this on the list.

Well, that does it for the first third of the year! Check back to see the films coming out this summer!


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