January 9 2016

The Movies of 2016 – An Analysis

2016 is just firing up the box office for the year, but it looks like this will be a year of a lot of soul searching for the studios.

As I did my breakdowns for this year I noticed a lot of shifts in themes. It seems that 2016 is going to be a year of trying to find niches. While there will undoubtedly be blockbusters that pack them in, there also seems to be a theme of maybe settling for small box office grosses from films that speak to specialized audiences.

Three trends that I noticed: Religious films, soldier’s stories and low budget horror.

The third trend has been with us for some time now, but now the studios just seem to be throwing anything at the wall to see what sticks, even pulling films off the shelf that have been lingering for a few years. As for religious films, with projects such as War Room taking in $67M off of a $3M budget, this growing trend doesn’t surprise me in the least. Add in that they tend to do their marketing simply by sending out posters and flyers to churches, and bypassing traditional marketing, these are potential money printing machines for the studios willing to go this route.

As for stories from soldiers, it’s not a gigantic trend yet with only two films slated for this year, but you can feel it in the air that studios are hunting around for engaging stories to tell. Don’t be surprised to see this vertical grow in the next few years depending on how these perform.

The film I think is going to surprise most people is – and I can already feel the hate coming my way – is going to be Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I think it’s going to come in well below expectations. Warner Brothers has a ton riding on this, but the general buzz I’m hearing from potential movie goers is not good. They aren’t fans of the muted colors, the general grime feeling of the trailers and the fact the effects look sub-par. I think it will still make money, but it’s not going to be the monster hit many predicted.

As for Marvel in 2016, this is going to be a rough year. Captain America: Civil War will do well, but if audiences are ready for the likes of Doctor Strange remains to be seen.

For general comment: Enough with unwanted sequels and remakes. It’s becoming a joke even to the most casual film goer. Firing up sequels 20 years later (I’m looking at you Independence Day: Resurgence) is not going to cause people to rush back to the theater. Yes, it worked with Jurassic World (not 20 years) for some bizarre reason, but I think we’re going to find that is the exception, not the rule. And remaking the likes of Jumanji is just strange to me.

2015 was a good year in films overall with Universal in particular pulling in crazy money, but outside of Disney in 2016, I just don’t see one studio having a breakout year.

Buckle up folks, I think it’s going to be an interesting year.

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