Depending on who you ask, we are either in a golden age of superhero movies or a period of superhero saturation. What is undeniable, however, is the recent box-office dominance of the superhero genre. And, in 2016, the major studios will be doubling down on their bet that the surge will continue.
Will the gamble pay off?
As we head into the New Year, it’s time, once again, to set the odds on which films will be the top money-makers in 12 months’ time.
While superhero movies top our list, you can’t forget about trusty sci-fi, fantasy, and animated flicks. Several such films are slate for arrival in 2016, and most are either sequels, adaptations, or spin-offs, which tend to equal big-business.
So here we go. Looking forward, here are our picks for the top grossing films of 2016.
#1: Captain America: Civil War
Release date: May 6
Marvel seems to be going all out with the upcoming Captain America sequel. The studio has thrown Spider Man, the Black Panther, and all the Avengers into the mix. The possibilities are endless — they could fight one another, form alliances, or betray each other in spectacular fashion.
The 2016 Captain America has the potential to be the must-see film that Jurassic World was in 2015.
#2: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Release date: March 25
By pitting the two biggest superheroes against each other, we are almost guaranteed a box-office smash. The only question is “how much?” Man of Steel, the 2013 superman reboot, was a relative success, and the Batman movies of late have been fail-safe. But lately the public eye has shifted away from the two iconic heroes and the hype surrounding the film has somewhat waned.
Still, it’s Batman and Superman. It’ll do just fine.
#3: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Release date: December 15
Star Wars is going back to back. 2016 will feature yet another Star Wars movie, the success of which will hinge on the success of the 2015 Star Wars. (Spoiler alert: it’s going to be massive.) The cast doesn’t have the same pull as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but Rogue will have the advantage of riding its predecessor’s momentum.
In short, the success of The Force Awakens will ensure Rogue One is also a smash. But just as the former was handcuffed by a late-December release date, so too will the latter, which is slated for release on Dec. 15, 2016.
#4: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Release date: November 18
The Harry Potter films transported us to a fantastical, enchanted world with a quaint British charm. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hopes to bring us back. The film, written by J.K Rowling, takes place in the Harry Potter universe 70 years prior to the Harry Potter story arc.
Fantastic Beasts is a continuation on one of the most successful movie franchises of all time, and also provides welcomed deviation from the influx of superhero films. If it can tap into the mania Harry Potter created, it will has a real chance to emerge victorious. But, coming out in November 2016, it will need to do a lot of business very quickly to surpass the summer superhero blockbusters.
#5: Finding Dory
Release date: June 17
The overwhelming success of recent animated movies like Frozen and Minions puts Finding Dory in an enviable position. The Finding Nemo spin-off will appeal, not only to children, but also nostalgic young adults.
Finding Dory is likely to be highest grossing animated film of 2016, but with the stiff competition from Marvel and Universal, it’s a bit of a longshot for the year’s overall top earner.
#6: X-Men: Apocalypse
Release date: May 27
The X-Men franchise has always performed consistently at the box-office. But it will need to outdo its forerunners if it’s going to keep pace with the likes of Captain America and Batman v Superman.
Professor X and company definitely have their work cut out for them.
Release date: May 26
The massively popular computer game is making its way to the silver screen and, while video game adaptations have not done too well in the past, Warcraft should make a seamless transition. The game has a huge, dedicated following that will lead to a large turnout.
#8: Angry Birds
Release date: May 20
Speaking of massively popular games, there’s also an Angry Birds movie coming out. Like the game itself, the plot is pretty bare-bones: seven angry birds are interrupted by pigs.
As for the rest, your guess is as good as ours.
(Photo credit: Rob Fahey (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode].)