In the event you’ve forgotten the American desire for nostalgia and existing intellectual property, however unlikely in the wake of the recent box office domination of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Fandango has released a video detailing the top ten most anticipated movies of 2016, according to a poll on its site. Spoiler alert: they’re all sequels.
Well, sort of. The tenth spot, awarded to the live-action version of The Jungle Book, is Disney’s latest tap on that wistful touchstone embedded in our collective childhood experience. Jon Favreau’s remake is the next in line of successful cartoon – ahem – reanimation, following Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, and Cinderella, and preceding some fifteen or so others. Disney is also to blame for the film to snag the top spot, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which is also not a sequel. Rather, a spin-off in the X-Men: Wolverine vein, Rogue One intends to fill out the established universe and kick off a series of films that will keep Star Wars-related films in the theaters for many long years to come.
And now, for the sequels:
There’s the three of the superhero variety in X-Men: Apocalypse, Captain America: Civil War, and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, coming in at spots eight, five, and three, respectively. Superheroes are in need of some serious couples’ counseling. All they’re doing is fighting each other in 2016.
There’s the films lower on the tentpole like numbers six and four, Star Trek Beyond and Jason Bourne, which serve to give depth to their franchises and give Matt Damon a vehicle that I could’ve sworn he got off.
There’s the entirely unnecessary coming in at number nine, in which we ask ourselves, was the Zoolander funny enough to warrant a Zoolander 2? Then again, what the hell do I know? People keep giving Adam Sandler money for some reason.
Just as unncessary, for a totally different reason, is number seven’s Independence Day:
July 5th Resurgence. Not unnecesary in its conception, since the 90s are hot now, but in its execution. Because Will Smith, the hero with enough star power to make the original transcend from campy to bad-ass, is MIA. Without Will Smith and his career peak to give Independence Day‘s success context, the sequel is basically pointless. Suicide Squad better be freaking incredible to warrant his absence.
The number two most anticipated movie of 2016 is Finding Dory, because who doesn’t love Pixar or Ellen DeGeneres? Even though it’ll charm the pants off everyone, it’s doubtful this will have the same critical acclaim and box office success of last year’s juggernaut, Inside Out.
Regardless of my personal preference towards superheroes or cartoons or cartoons-that-are-now-real, there’s no room for originality in 2016’s box office. We can all blame the Wachowskis for souring studios on that front. For now, we’re strapped in for a long, easy ride on the existing property highway!