January 5 2016

The Movies of 2016 – 1st Quarter

Welcome to the first of four parts of an analysis of every major film release of 2016.

Following up on last year’s project, I’m back with a look at the films of 2016. And as usual, I will be breaking it down by quarters and then an overall review.

There are some clear, “What in the world were they thinking?” projects coming out this year, and there are some that I think will surprise all of us.

Hopefully you enjoy this as it is a huge undertaking each year, but one I enjoy doing.

Please note that titles and release dates can change at any time, none of these are written in stone.


The Forest

Release Date: January 8


When her twin sister disappears in Japan, a young American named Sara (Natalie Dormer) becomes determined to find out what happened to her. Sara’s investigation leads her to the legendary Aokigahara Forest, located at the base of Mount Fuji. Accompanied by expatriate Aiden, she enters the mysterious wilderness after being warned to “stay on the path.” Her investigation plunges her into a dark world where the angry and tormented souls of the dead prey on those who dare to explore the forest.

Analysis: Horror films are almost always impossible to predict. That being said, most of them turn a profit.

The Masked Saint

The Masked Saint

Release Date: January 8


Based on the life of former professional wrestler turned pastor Dr. Chris Whaley.

Analysis: Sure? Faith based movies have proven me wrong many times, but even int hat genre this is an oddball.

Untitled Blumhouse Horror 2

Release Date: January 8

Synopsis: Not Available.

Analysis: No clue. Blumhouse usually turns a profit, so… probably will make money.

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Release Date: January 15

On the evening of September 11, 2012, the 11th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, a group of Islamist militants attack on the American diplomatic compound and a nearby CIA Annex in Benghazi, Libya. They kill four Americans, including a US Ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens. A security team of six members fight to defend the remaining Americans.

Analysis: I really don’t have a clue how this will go. Bay is iffy when it doesn’t involve transforming robots.

The 5th Wave

Release Date: January 15

Four waves of increasingly deadly attacks have left most of Earth decimated. Against a backdrop of fear and distrust, Cassie is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother. As she prepares for the fifth wave, Cassie teams up with a young man who may become her final hope – if she can only trust him.

Analysis: YA novel adoptions have not had a great track record outside of Harry Potter, Hunger Games and Twilight. My gut says this will be another miss.

Norm of the North

Release Date: January 15

Displaced from their Arctic home, a polar bear named Norm and his three lemming friends wind up in New York City, where Norm becomes the mascot of a corporation he soon learns is tied to the fate of his homeland.

Analysis: This has to be hands down one of the worst trailers I have seen in a long time. It borders on painful. I don’t expect big things for this movie.

The Nut Job 2

The Nut Job 2 logo

The continuation of Surly’s adventures.

Analysis: Nothing is really known about this movie yet, so it’s hard to judge. The first one didn’t do huge numbers, and this will probably continue.

Release Date: January 15

Ride Along 2

Release Date: January 15

Ben Barber graduated from the police academy and now a full fledged Atlanta P.D. cop. Right now he wants to make as a detective. James his soon to be brother in law and he is still annoyed by Ben’s tactics. Ben is about to get married to James sister Angela and right now their boss Lt Brooks (Bruce Mcgill) assigned on a huge case that is in Miami. They will be working with Miami P.D. on this case.

Analysis: I never saw the first film, and it’s rare for comedy trailers to make me laugh, but… for some reason this one has made me giggle some. It’ll probably do okay.

The Boy

Release Date: January 22

A young American named Greta (Lauren Cohan) takes a job as a nanny for an 8-year-old boy in a remote English village. To her surprise, Greta learns that the child of her new employers is a life-size doll. They care for the doll as if it was human, which helps the couple to cope with the death of their own son 20 years earlier. When Greta violates a list of strict rules, a series of disturbing and inexplicable events bring her worst fears to life, leading her to believe that the doll is alive.

Analysis: Just what the world needed… another living doll movie.

Dirty Grandpa

Release Date: January 22

A young man (Zac Efron) must drive his vulgar grandfather (Robert De Niro) to Florida for spring break.

Analysis: Efron is a mixed bag as of late, and De Niro is always a risk when it comes to comedies. So… this will either be a hit or a complete miss. Who knows.

Fifty Shades of Black

Release Date: January 29

A parody of the popular film/novel 50 Shades of Gray.

Analysis: It involves the Wayans… this will go nowhere.

The Finest Hours

Release Date: January 29

On Feb. 18, 1952, a massive storm splits the SS Pendleton in two, trapping more than 30 sailors inside the tanker’s sinking stern. Engineer Ray Sybert bravely takes charge to organize a strategy for his fellow survivors. As word of the disaster reaches the Coast Guard in Chatham, Mass., Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Cluff orders a daring rescue mission. Despite the ferocious weather, coxswain Bernie Webber takes three men on a lifeboat to try and save the crew against seemingly impossible odds.

Analysis: It’ll do decently. These films usually do.

Kung Fu Panda 3

Kung-Fu Panda 3 san and dad

Release Date: January 29

After reuniting with his long-lost father (Bryan Cranston), Po (Jack Black) must train a village of clumsy pandas to help him defeat the villainous Kai (J.K. Simmons).

Analysis: The Kung-Fu Panda series has done well, no reason that trend should change now.

Lights Out

Release Date: January 29

A woman is haunted by a creature that only appears when the lights go out. A feature adaptation of the 2013 short film, “Lights Out” by David Sandberg.

Analysis: Hard to say how this one will go. January does seem to be running heavy on horror for some reason.


The Choice

Release Date: February 5

Based on a story by Nicholas Sparks, a man (Benjamin Walker) pursues a relationship with his neighbor (Teresa Palmer) in a small coastal town.

Analysis: It’s a Nicholas Sparks movie. It has an immediate audience. It’s small, but it’s loyal.

Hail, Caesar!

Release Date: February 5

In 1950s Hollywood, Eddie Mannix is Capital Pictures’ head of physical production and, most importantly, the studio fixer. His job is to maintain the clean reputation of the company and its stars, keeping them free from controversy. Mannix is advised that studio star Baird Whitlock has disappeared after not showning up for work on the current production of “Hail Caesar, a Tale of Christ’s Life.” He initially believes Whitlock has been drinking, but receives a call from a group of communists who claim to have kidnapped him and want a ransom. As Mannix gathers the cash, he simultaneously deals with an unhappy director who is working on another project, while innocent young starlet DeeAnna Moran is pregnant and unmarried. Mannix must handle all of this while keeping the gossip columnists off the scent. When Mannix is approached by an aviation company with an offer of a less-hectic, and rather lucrative, job, he must ultimately determine his true skills and passions.

Analysis: The Coen Brothers sometimes catch with the public, sometimes they don’t. This one feels like it could catch. I know I want to see it for sure.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Release Date: February 5

Jane Austen’s classic tale of the tangled relationships between lovers from different social classes in 19th century England is faced with a new challenge—an army of undead zombies.

Analysis: This book was popular at one point, but I feel like the ship has sailed some time ago now.


Release Date: February 12

A former Special Forces operative turned mercenary is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers and adopts the alter ego Deadpool.

Analysis: I’ve never been a huge fan of the character, but a lot of people are, and they seem pumped for this movie. Should be interesting to see how it performs.

How to Be Single

Release Date: February 12

New York City is full of lonely hearts seeking the right match, and what Alice, Robin, Lucy, Meg, Tom and David all have in common is the need to learn how to be single in a world filled with ever-evolving definitions of love.

Analysis: Doesn’t seem that interesting, and is there a law now Rebel Wilson must be in everything?

Zoolander 2

Release Date: February 12

Zoolander 2 will continue the adventures of ridiculously good looking male model Derek Zoolander.

Analysis: People have been clamoring for this movie, but remember the track record for comedy sequels is not the best.


Release Date: February 19

Jesse Owens’ quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler’s vision of Aryan supremacy.

Analysis: I think the only surprise about this film is that it isn’t hitting during the fall awards season. It seems like a story that has been crying out for a new version.


Release Date: February 19

An agnostic Roman investigates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (Cliff Curtis).

Analysis: Bible stories do well, and this one seems like a sure thing.

Shut In

Release Date: February 19

A heart-pounding thriller about a widowed child psychologist who lives in an isolated existence in rural New England. Caught in a deadly winter storm, she must find a way to rescue a young boy before he disappears forever.

Analysis: Good grief, the horror/thrillers just keep coming. Can the box office support this many.


Release Date: February 19

Following the outbreak of a virus that wipes out the majority of the human population, a young woman documents her family’s new life in quarantine and tries to protect her infected sister.

Analysis: Don’t expect much from this one. Plague films are hit and miss, and this doesn’t sound overly interesting.

Eddie the Eagle

Release Date: February 26

The story of Great Britain’s first ski jumper to enter the Winter Olympics.

Analysis: Not sure how many people are familiar with this story. Going to be a tough sell to be sure.

Gods of Egypt

Release Date: February 26

A common thief joins a mythical god on a quest through Egypt.

Analysis: I can’t remember the last time a trailer bored me this much. It looks awful. I mean, just downright awful.


Release Date: February 26

A mother stops at nothing to recover her kidnapped son.


Triple 9

Release Date: February 26

A gang of criminals and corrupt cops plan the murder of a police officer in order to pull off their biggest heist yet across town.

Analysis: I like the style, but it will need an actual plot to win people over. That remains to be seen until it premieres.

The Witch

Release Date: February 26

In the 17th century, a Puritan family lives alone on the edge of a New England wilderness. Soon their infant son disappears, their daughter is suspected of witchcraft, and the family begins to break down in the face of an unknown evil.

Analysis: It looks interesting, but doesn’t strike me as a box office success.



Release Date: March 4

A group of people trying to cross the border from Mexico into the United States encounter a man who has taken up border patrol duties in his own racist hands.

Analysis: The dfance film festival reviews are mediocre at best, don’t expect this to do much.

London Has Fallen

Release Date: March 4

U.S. Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) springs into action when terrorists attack London during the funeral of the British prime minister.

Analysis: The original film made a modest profit ($70M budget, $161M global gross), but did it really need a sequel? Nope. Not expecting audiences to react positively.

Me Before You

Release Date: March 4

A girl in a small town forms an unlikely bond with a recently-paralyzed man she’s taking care of.

Analysis: Based on a novel of the same name, it’s sure to have an audience, now it’s just a question if it can expand beyond that fanbase. With Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) it may have a chance, but she hasn’t proven herself at the box office yet.

Untitled Tina Fey Comedy

Release Date: March 4

Analysis: No clue until more info comes out.


Release Date: March 4

In the animal city of Zootopia, a fast-talking fox who’s trying to make it big goes on the run when he’s framed for a crime he didn’t commit. Zootopia’s top cop, a self-righteous rabbit, is hot on his tail, but when both become targets of a conspiracy, they’re forced to team up and discover even natural enemies can become best friends.

Analysis: It looks cute, and it will do well as it’s Disney, but it doesn’t strike me as an instant classic.

The Brothers Grimsby

Release Date: March 11

A new assignment forces a top spy to team up with his football hooligan brother.

Analysis: Looks like a cable watch to me as opposed to going to the theater.

The Other Side of the Door

Release Date: March 11

A family lives an idyllic existence abroad until a tragic accident takes the life of their young son. The inconsolable mother learns of an ancient ritual that will bring him back to say a final goodbye. She travels to an ancient temple, where a door serves as a mysterious portal between two worlds. But when she disobeys a sacred warning to never open that door, she upsets the balance between life and death.

Analysis: Seems like an interesting basic concept, but one we’ve seen a million times at the end of the day.


Release Date: March 11

Waking up from a car accident, a young woman finds herself in the basement of a man who says he’s saved her life from a chemical attack that has left the outside uninhabitable.

Analysis: Good cast (John Goodman is always good), but seems a bit trite.

The Young Messiah

Release Date: March 11

At the age of 7, when Jesus returns from Egypt to his home in Nazareth with his family, he discovers the truth about his life.

Analysis: Apparently biblical epics are en vogue again.

The Bronze

Release Date: March 18

A spoiled and largely forgotten Olympic medalist (Melissa Rauch) takes action when a promising young gymnast (Haley Lu Richardson) threatens her status as a local celebrity.

Analysis: Melissa Rauch is wonderful on The Big Bang Theory, but can she carry a film? I sadly don’t think so, but I will check it out for sure.

The Divergent Series: Allegiant

Release Date: March 18

Beatrice Prior and Tobias Eaton venture into the world outside of the fence and are taken into protective custody by a mysterious agency known as the Bureau of Genetic Welfare.

Analysis: This series has barely been turning a profit, but they were so deep they basically couldn’t stop. Expect another mediocre performance.

Miracles from Heaven

Release Date: March 18

Set in Burleson, Texas, in 2011, the film centers on a 12-year-old girl named Anna (Kylie Rogers), daughter of Christy Beam (Jennifer Garner). Anna is suffering from a pseudo-obstruction motility disorder and is unable to eat, using feeding tubes for nutrition. One day she has a near-death experience after falling from a tree. She is subsequently cured from her disease in the Boston Children’s Hospital.

Analysis: Garner hasn’t really proven herself as a leading woman. Not expecting much to change here.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Release Date: March 25

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will see two of the most legendary heroes going head-to-head, while Wonder Woman arrives on the scene.

Analysis: This will be a turning point for the DC Cinematic Universe. It needs a huge box office haul to prove the series. If not, a lot of heads are going to roll.

The Disappointments Room

Release Date: March 25

A woman releases unimaginable horrors from a secret room in her new home’s attic.

Analysis: Seriously, what is going on with horror films in the first quarter of 2016? It seems to me like there will be a glut.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

Release Date: March 25

After spending most of their time focusing on their troubling teenage daughter, Toula and Ian are facing marital problems while also having to deal with yet another Greek wedding – this time, even bigger and fatter.

Analysis: While the first movie was a success, it feels like they took way too long to put this sequel together. Tough to tell if audiences will care.

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