40 of 2016's Most Anticipated Movies

10:00 AM 1/4/2016

by Ashley Lee

These are the hot films hitting theaters in the next 12 months.

'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story', 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' and 'Suicide Squad'
Courtesy of Warner Brothers

For what to watch in the next few months, see summer 2016’s most anticipated movies and trailers here. Plus, special lists of family movies for the kids and anti-blockbuster movies for grown-ups this summer.

Read more: 10 Most Intriguing Trailers Out Right Now

  • '13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi'

    Jan. 15

    Michael Bay directs the Paramount political drama, which adapts Mitchell Zuckoff's book about the 2012 attack on an American compound in Libya that left U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens dead. Centering on the special-forces team that attempted to rescue Stevens, the film — which has caused controversy with Libyan locals and may resurface conversations regarding then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — stars John Krasinski, James Badge Dale, Max Martini and Pablo Schreiber.

    Read the review

  • 'Kung Fu Panda 3'

    Jan. 29

    Jack Black reprises his role as Po in the hit animated franchise, this time reuniting with his long-lost father (Bryan Cranston) to train a secret town of pandas and take down supervillian Kai. The third installment — which is DreamWorks Animation's first major production via its Chinese joint venture, Oriental DreamWorks, launched in Shanghai with an investment of $330 million in 2012 — also features the voices of Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Kate Hudson and J.K. Simmons.

    Read the review

  • 'Hail, Caesar!'

    Feb. 5

    The Coen brothers film from Universal travels to 1950s Hollywood with a star-studded including George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Channing Tatum. Set during the golden age of the Hollywood studio system, the comedy follows a single day in the life of a studio fixer (Brolin) who gets a call that star Baird Whitlock (Clooney) disappeared from the shooting of the studio's latest sword-and-sandals epic Hail Caesar, a Tale of Christ's Life.

    Read the review

  • 'Zoolander 2'

    Feb. 12

    The Paramount sequel to the 2001 comedy sees male models Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) teaming to save "the world's most beautiful people" from a murder plot. Penelope Cruz, Kristen Wiig and Benedict Cumberbatch also star in the film, which was first announced with a buzzy Valentino presentation during Paris Fashion Week and has since stirred up a character controversy among LGBTQ activists. Stiller directs the sequel from a screenplay by Justin Theroux.

    Read the review

  • 'Deadpool'

    Feb. 12

    Ryan Reynolds stars as Marvel's Merc with the Mouth from the X-Men universe in Fox's snarky, self-aware superhero spinoff. The Tim Miller-directed flick about the antihero assassin also features Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead, T.J. Miller as Weasel, Morena Baccarin as Vanessa and Leslie Uggams as Blind Al, Deadpool's de facto confidant, housekeeper, voice of reason and all-round grouchy sounding board.

    Read the review

  • 'Zootopia'

    March 4

    In the imagined society of animals that resembles the human world (with accidental anti-Trump allegory), Jason Bateman and Ginnifer Goodwin lead the voice cast as a fast-talking scam-artist fox and by-the-book bunny who forge an unlikely friendship when a mystery is discovered. Idris Elba, J.K. Simmons, Jenny Slate and Octavia Spencer are also among the familiar voices of the Walt Disney Animation title, directed by Byron Howard (Tangled) and Rich Moore (Wreck-It Ralph) and co-directed by Jared Bush.

    Read the review

  • 'Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice'

    March 25

    DC's beloved characters start to form the Justice League on the big screen, as Henry Cavill as Superman is joined by Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Ben Affleck as Batman. Zack Snyder returns to helm the Warner Bros. sequel to 2013's Man of Steel, which also sees Amy Adams reprise the role of Lois Lane and introduces Jesse Eisenberg as villain Lex Luthor.

    Read the review

  • 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2'

    March 25

    Nia Vardalos and John Corbett are back, this time with a teenage daughter who wants nothing more than to get away from her parents and her extended family. However, due to a mix-up with the marriage certificate, Toula's parents are not actually married — yet. Universal delivers the long-gestating sequel to the 2002 hit comedy, directed by Kirk Jones and again written by Vardalos.

    Read the review

  • 'The Jungle Book'

    April 15

    Jon Favreau helms Disney's new version of the Rudyard Kipling tale, with a live-action Mowgli (Neel Sethi) in a jungle filled with spectacular CGI creatures voiced by Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong'o, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken and Bill Murray, among others. It opens before another Jungle Book project from Warner Bros., in development for Andy Serkis to direct and scheduled for 2017.

  • 'The Huntsman: Winter's War'

    April 22

    Chris Hemsworth returns as the titular hero to fight Charlize Theron's evil Queen Ravenna, resurrected by her Ice Queen sister (Emily Blunt), and also gets tangled in a forbidden romance with a fellow huntsman, Sara (Jessica Chastain). Cedric Nicolas-Troyan helms the Universal follow-up to 2012's Snow White and the Huntsman.

  • 'Captain America: Civil War'

    May 6

    The latest installment of the Marvel series pits hero against hero as Captain America and Iron Man square off. Captain America: The Winter Soldier co-directors Anthony and Joe Russo return for the most hero-filled Marvel movie to date, uniting Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Rudd, and introducing Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther and Tom Holland as Spider-Man.

    Read the review

  • 'The Angry Birds Movie'

    May 20

    Can mobile games translate to the big screen? The animated flick based on the popular app promises to reveal why the birds are so angry. Distributed by Sony Pictures, it features a voice cast led by Jason Sudeikis as Red, a hot-headed bird with a sarcastic attitude, and also includes Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Kate McKinnon, Keegan-Michael Key, Tony Hale, Sean Penn, Blake Shelton and Peter Dinklage. Fergal Reilly and Clay Kaytis direct the film.

    Read the review

  • 'Neighbors 2'

    May 20

    Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco, Ike Barinholtz and Liz Cackowski are back in the neighborhood for the Universal sequel to the 2014 breakout hit. Directed again by Nicholas Stoller, the comedy welcomes Chloe Grace Moretz, Kiersey Clemons and Beanie Feldstein as sorority sisters who make it very difficult for Rogen and Byrne's characters to sell their home.

    Read the review

  • 'X-Men: Apocalypse'

    May 27

    This time around, it's not Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique who's walking the line between good and evil, but Michael Fassbender's Magneto who falls under the thrall of the mysterious Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac). Directed by Bryan Singer, the latest X-Men installment from Fox also stars James McAvoy, Alexandra Shipp, Ben Hardy, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne and Evan Peters, with Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Lana Condor and Kodi Smit-McPhee joining the cast as new(-ish) mutants Cyclops, Jean Grey, Jubilee and Nightcrawler.

    Read the review

  • 'Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping'

    June 3

    From making industry-skewing music videos for Saturday Night Live, the Lonely Island comedy troupe — Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer — is getting the big-screen treatment, directed by Judd Apatow with Schaffer and Taccone as co-directors. The Universal comedy takes aim at the fluffy music documentaries of recent years such as Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never and Katy Perry’s Part of Me. It centers on a rapper whose latest album bombs and he must do the unthinkable: a reunion concert with his former boy band.

    Read the review

  • 'Warcraft'

    June 10

    Duncan Jones' long-awaited big-screen adaptation of the popular MMORPG World of Warcraft centers on Lothar (Travis Fimmel) and Durotan (Toby Kebbell), a human and orc attempting to bring their races together and avoid outright war for control of the world of Azeroth. Also featuring Paula Patton, Ben Foster and Dominic Cooper, the Universal release of the Legendary film will test whether a pricey video game adaptation can lure fans.

    Read the review

  • 'Finding Dory'

    June 17

    Ellen DeGeneres reprises her role as the famously forgetful fish in the Pixar sequel to 2003's Finding Nemo as she tries to find her own parents (Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy). Albert Brooks is also back as Marlin, and Ed O'Neill, Ty Burrell and Kaitlin Olson voice underwater characters. The film sees Dory learning that she was born at the Marine Biology Institute of California, a large rehabilitation facility for marine life, and was freed into the ocean at a young age. Emulating Dory's memory, the film's flashbacks are in 2D animation.

    Read the review

  • 'Independence Day: Resurgence'

    June 24

    Fox's follow-up to the 1996 flick takes place 20 years after the first extraterrestrial invasion fought off by Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum. With Roland Emmerich back to direct, the sequel stars Jessie Usher as Smith’s son along with Liam Hemsworth and returning stars Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, Bill Pullman and Vivica A. Fox.

  • 'The BFG'

    July 1

    Steven Spielberg helms Disney's fantasy-adventure adaptation of the popular novel by Roald Dahl, which centers on a young Londoner named Sophie and the mysterious giant who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country. Mark Rylance plays the titular "Big Friendly Giant" opposite newcomer Ruby Barnhill as Sophie. Bill Hader, Jemaine Clement, Michael David Adamthwaite, Daniel Bacon, Chris Gibbs, Adam Godley, Jonathan Holmes, Paul Moniz de Sa, Penelope Wilton, Rebecca Hall and Olafur Olafsson also star.

    Read the review

  • 'The Legend of Tarzan'

    July 1

    David Yates juggles the directing duties of J.K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Warner Bros.' 3D retelling of the ape-man adventure tale, with Alexander Skarsgard as the vine-swinger and Margot Robbie as Jane. Also featuring Samuel L. Jackson and Christoph Waltz, the mega-budgeted fantasy film sees the titular character — who has been living a London life with his wife — returning to his roots in the Congo to serve as a trade emissary of Parliament. However, Tarzan is unaware that he is a pawn in a deadly convergence of greed and revenge.

  • 'Ghostbusters'

    July 15

    Sony's reboot of the 1984 film puts the proton packs and particle throwers in the hands of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Chris Hemsworth, Michael Kenneth Williams and Cecily Strong also star in the Paul Feig comedy. If it's a hit, it could pave the way for similar female-fronted remakes (despite some initial backlash to such castings).

  • 'Star Trek Beyond'

    July 22

    Justin Lin takes on the long-running science fiction franchise, as J.J. Abrams, who helmed the previous two Star Trek films, serves as executive producer. The Paramount release stars Idris Elba, Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin and Karl Urban.

  • 'Jason Bourne'

    July 29

    Matt Damon is back as the amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne, and is being directed by Paul Greengrass, who helmed the Universal franchise's second and third installments. Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel and Tommy Lee Jones are among the new additions to the cast, with Julia Stiles returning for the fifth film.

  • 'The Founder'

    Aug. 5

    Michael Keaton portrays top McDonald's executive Ray Kroc in the John Lee Hancock drama, which details the rise of the fast-food empire. Laura Dern, B.J. Novak and Nick Offerman are also featured in the Weinstein Co. film telling the true story of how Kroc, a salesman from Illinois, met Mac and Dick McDonald, who were running a burger operation in 1950s Southern California. He maneuvered himself into a position to be able to wrest the company away from the brothers and created a billion-dollar empire.

  • 'Suicide Squad'

    Aug. 5

    Warner Bros.' all-star action movie features DC Entertainment supervillains, with Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Jared Leto as the Joker. Also in the Task Force X mix are Joel Kinnaman, Cara Delevingne, Viola Davis, Adam Beach, Ike Barinholtz, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Scott Eastwood and Common.

  • 'Sully'

    Sept. 9

    Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP

    Warner Bros.' 3D biopic sees Clint Eastwood directing Tom Hanks as American pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who landed U.S. Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in January 2009. Jamey Sheridan, Aaron Eckhart and Laura Linney also star in the Todd Komarnicki-penned pic.

  • 'Bridget Jones's Baby'

    Sept. 16

    Universal Pictures

    Renee Zellweger is back as Bridget Jones for the third installment in the Universal rom-com franchise, also starring Colin Firth and new addition Patrick Dempsey. Sharon Maguire, who helmed the original Bridget Jones’s Diary, directs the new film based on creator Helen Fielding’s heroine. The story centers on the next chapter of Bridget Jones's life, when she finds herself unexpectedly expecting a baby.

  • 'Snowden'

    Sept. 17

    Oliver Stone's biopic stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as infamous NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, while Shailene Woodley plays Snowden's girlfriend, Lindsay Mills. The Open Road film has been eagerly anticipated given that it is the first narrative feature to tackle the polarizing figure considered a hero by some and a traitor by others. (The Snowden documentary Citizenfour won the 2015 best documentary Oscar.)

  • 'The Magnificent Seven'

    Sept. 23

    Antoine Fuqua directs MGM's star-studded remake of the 1960 film, with Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Wagner Moura, Haley Bennett, Peter Sarsgaard and Matt Bomer in the saddle for the Western. With a script written by John Lee Hancock and Nic Pizzolatto, the new version’s story kicks off when a woman (Bennett) hires a disparate group of gunslingers to protect her town from rampaging bandits that are led by a robber baron.

  • 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children'

    Sept. 30

    Eva Green reunites with director Tim Burton for the Fox film, based on Ransom Riggs' YA novel about a teenage boy who is transported to an island where he must help protect a group of orphans with special powers from creatures out to destroy them. Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Judi Dench and Samuel L. Jackson round out the cast.

  • 'The Birth of a Nation'

    Oct. 7

    Courtesy of Sundance Institute

    Nate Parker's drama tells the story of slave Nat Turner who led a rebellion in the 1800s that resulted in the deaths of dozens of white slave owners. The Fox Searchlight release, which stars Parker as Nat Turner alongside Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Jackie Earle Haley, Penelope Ann Miller and Gabrielle Union, sparked a fierce bidding war after its hit debut at Sundance.

    Read the review

  • 'The Girl on the Train'

    Oct. 7

    Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP

    DreamWorks' adaptation of the Paula Hawkins best-seller sees Emily Blunt playing a troubled woman (an alcoholic whose husband left her for his mistress) who becomes fascinated by a seemingly perfect couple whose home she passes while riding the train. But after she thinks she witnesses a murder, she begins to realize that she may have been involved in the crime. Justin Theroux, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Luke Evans and Edgar Ramirez also star in the Tate Taylor film.

  • 'Jack Reacher: Never Go Back'

    Oct. 21

    Tom Cruise is back as the titular character from the 2012 film as a former military police officer who continues to help people out. Also starring Patrick Heusinger, Cobie Smulders and Aldis Hodge, the sequel adapts Lee Child's book Never Go Back, with Ed Zwick co-writing and helming the Paramount follow-up.

  • 'Doctor Strange'

    Nov. 4

    Benedict Cumberbatch stars as the Sorcerer Supreme, with Scott Derrickson directing the Marvel movie. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg and Tilda Swinton (as a female version of The Ancient One) round out the cast.

  • 'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk'

    Nov. 11

    AP Images

    Ang Lee helms the TriStar and Film4 adaptation of Ben Fountain's best-selling novel about a 19-year-old private (newcomer Joe Alwyn) who survives a battle in Iraq, which is captured by news cameras. He and his company of soldiers are brought back to the U.S. for a promotional tour culminating in a halftime show at a Thanksgiving Day football game. Most of the movie takes place during the day of the game, with flashbacks to the wartime events. Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart and Vin Diesel also star.

  • 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'

    Nov. 18

    Eddie Redmayne stars in the Harry Potter spinoff as Newt Scamander, a magician on a search for the rare and unusual supernatural creatures of the movie's title. It also tells the story of the American magical community dealing with prejudice in the form of the No-Maj (or "no magic") New Salem Philanthropic Society, a sinister group out to kill wizards and witches. The movie, directed by David Yates — who directed the final four Harry Potter movies — marks the screenwriting debut of Potter creator J.K. Rowling.

  • 'Moana'

    Nov. 23

    Courtesy of Disney

    The Disney animated film follows the story of the spirited teenager (newcomer Auli’i Cravalho) who sails away on a daring mission to prove herself a master wayfinder and along the way finds adventure and the once-mighty demigod Maui. Dwayne Johnson will be voicing the divine entity, with music from Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

  • 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'

    Dec. 16

    Courtesy Disney

    Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk and Riz Ahmed star in the Gareth Edwards-directed Star Wars film, which focuses on resistance fighters who unite to steal plans to the Death Star. Taking place before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and described as "a departure from the saga films but [with] elements that are familiar to the Star Wars universe," the first spinoff — which is the most anticipated film for 2016, as surveyed by Fandango — will test whether the franchise can be an annual event for Disney.

  • 'Assassin's Creed'

    Dec. 21

    Yahoo

    Michael Fassbender leads Fox's big-screen adaptation of the hit video game franchise, playing Callum Lynch, a new character created especially for the movie, who discovers that he is a descendant of a secret society of assassins. He carries genetic memories of his 15th century ancestor that will allow him to master the skills necessary to take on the contemporary Knights Templar. Justin Kurzel directs the film, also featuring Michael Kenneth Williams and Marion Cotillard.

  • 'Passengers'

    Dec. 21

    James Devaney/WireImage

    Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt lead the big-budget romantic sci-fi drama, directed by Morten Tyldum. Set on a spacecraft transporting thousands of people to a distant planet, a single passenger is awakened early due to a malfunction and, not wanting to be alone, he wakes up a second passenger. Laurence Fishburne and Michael Sheen are also featured in the flick, which is the first project the get the green light from Sony Pictures' new film chief, Tom Rothman.

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