Friday 10 October 2014

2016's Blockbuster Bonanza (VOR#26)

It might feel like an absolute aeon away, but 2016 will be the year to beat all years at the movies. Like the stars aligning in the night sky, it seems as though every film franchise has pitched their tent in 2016, from Captain America, to Batman, Superman, Star Wars, Avatar, X-Men, Assassin's Creed, Transformers and Ninja Turtles. To name a few that is.

However, is this really a good thing? Is 2016 set to become the holy grail of blockbuster movies, or doomed to disappoint?

Zack Snyder's highly-anticipated Batman vs. Superman
movie hits cinemas in March 2016
To put the enormity of the 2016 blockbuster season into perspective, let's go back to a simpler time - the 80's. 30 years ago, in 1986, only three of the top 10 grossing films that year were sequels. None of them were direct adaptations of a novel, and none were comic-book movies.

In 1986, the highest-grossing movie was Top Gun, a fairly low-budget fighter pilot action movie starring a fresh faced youngster, Tom Cruise. Behind it was comedy sensation Crocodile Dundee, followed by Platoon and The Karate Kid Part II. The biggest 'franchise' in the top 10  was No. 5, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and possibly Aliens, the sequel to Ridley Scott's 1979 horror classic, Alien.

A simpler time indeed. Fast forward to 2016, and there are no less than seven comic book movies pencilled in, with countless sequels, reboots, adaptations and re-imaginings populating the landscape - Ben Hur, The Mummy, Tarzan, The Jungle Book - you name it, it's being rebooted.

In other words, it's simply ridiculous. 2016 is increasingly fit to burst with franchise movies, from X-Men to Captain America, Star Wars and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles being just the tip of the iceberg. So, I ask myself as I look down the list of films, where can they possibly all fit? Surely, with the calendar cracking under the weight of blockbuster cinema, 2016 is doomed to chew itself up as audiences distance themselves from the sheer number of big-budget bonanzas.

Firstly, superhero movies are set to go supernova in 2016. I've read a lot of posts about superhero movie fatigue, as 2014 has been big on them - Captain America, X-Men, Spider-man - it's been a busy year for the lycra industry. However, this pales in comparison to 2016.

Two years from now, a scarcely believable seven superhero films are set to hit screens - Captain America 3, Batman vs. Superman, Shazam, X-Men: Apocalypse, Doctor Strange, The Sinister Six and Deadpool. Some of these are still in varying stages of production limbo (so the number may come down to something more manageable), but even so, it's still a huge number crammed into one year.

DC are lining up Shazam for 2016, starring Dwayne Johnson
Beyond capes and cowls, several other franchises will be returning to our screens. Star Trek 3 (or is that 13?) returns sans Abrams, whilst Jason Bourne will be back in The Bourne Betrayal. Both of these series are looking to reestablish themselves after divisive former entries - but how well will they fare against such stiff competition?

Another franchise making a comeback is GI Joe, with a third instalment pencilled in for 2016. Does anyone actually care about this series? I know I don't. Another unwanted sequel to everyone's favourite shitfest, Transformers, will be back and it's likely Marky Mark will be onboard once more. I don't think I can even muster the energy to express my disapproval of this one right now.

Video game adaptations are a high priority in 2016 with three likely to be hitting screens - Warcraft, Uncharted and Assassin's Creed. The latter two are really great games, so really great movies are very welcome. Warcraft? Eh, pass.

Fantasy will also play a big part. Guy Ritchie is making a King Arthur movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them will hit screens, Through the Looking Glass (a sequel to Burton's Alice in Wonderland) and Skull Island, a prequel to King Kong, also set to appear. Blimey, these four sort of came outta nowhere didn't they?

On top of all that, we have a flurry of other sequels on the way - Independence Day 2, Now You See Me 2 (with added Daniel Radcliffe), The Huntsman, Divergent 3, Inferno (or 'Da Vinci Code 3') and Finding Dory.

Phew! Now that I have all of that out of the way, my point is this; how on Earth will audiences cope? There are over 30 movies I've talked about so far, and those are just the big movies. We haven't even covered indie gems, Oscar contenders or small productions. Packed together like sardines, these movies are going to implode the industry, and we're going to see so many big-budget films fall through the cracks, Lone Ranger style.

Universal are already putting
together Transformers 5 and TMNT 2
for June/July 2016
Simply put, there are going to be some monumental flops - will anyone care about Guy Ritchie's King Arthur in the same month as Planet of the Apes 3, Power Rangers, Doctor Strange, Tarzan, Steven Spielberg's The BFG, Bourne 5, Ice Age 5 and Independence Day 2? No, of course not. It's pretty much dead on arrival. Or even worse, what happens when a good film flops - god forbid a genuinely good series (like Planet of the Apes) gets flattened by a mountain of shite like Transformers, TMNT and The Mummy.

Don't get me wrong - I love that so many big movies are in the works. Nothing gets me more excited than news from the set of the next Star Wars movie, or discussing speculation about Captain America 3, Shazam or Uncharted.

But when you look at the list of movies crammed into 2016, it makes me kind of worried audiences will lose interest. If lots of movies crash and burn, what happens then?

That being said, 2016 may just prove to be the cash injection Hollywood needs - much has been made of the decrease in sales over 2014, and with so many films being added to the 2016 line-up week after week, you get the sense that if the industry continues to decline through all that it has to offer, something is terminally wrong. Rather than being the year that killed blockbuster cinema, maybe 2016 will save it. The biggest year for movies yet may prove to be the most crucial.

Just so you know, here is the entire list of movies supposedly set to hit cinemas in 2016:

  • Gareth Edwards' Star Wars movie (December)
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (March)
  • X-Men: Apocalypse (May)
  • Avatar 2 (TBC)
  • Star Trek 3 (TBC)
  • GI Joe 3 (TBC)
  • Paranormal Activity 5 (TBC)
  • The Bourne Betrayal (July)
  • Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur (July)
  • LEGO Ninjago (September)
  • Ice Age 5 (July)
  • The Jungle Book Origins (October)
  • The Huntsman (April)
  • Tarzan (July)
  • Transformers 5 (June) 
  • Warcraft (March) 
  • Deadpool (February)
  • The Sinister Six (November)
  • Captain America 3 (May)
  • Doctor Strange (July)
  • Shazam (August)
  • Planet of the Apes 3 (July)
  • Assassin's Creed (TBC)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (November)
  • Through the Looking Glass (May)
  • Skull Island (November)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 (June)
  • Uncharted (June)
  • Now You See Me 2 (June)
  • Independence Day Forever (July)
  • The Divergent Series: Allegiant Part 1 (March)
  • Finding Dory (June)
  • The Mummy reboot (June)
  • Ben-Hur remake (February)
  • Dan Brown's Inferno (October)

So, what are your thoughts on 2016? Blockbuster overload or the shot in the arm the industry needs? Let me know what you think in the comments below!


  1. All I have to say is that I might have to put off purchasing a house for a few more years, in order to make my movie-watching habits affordable

    1. Haha I know the feeling! Certainly plenty of awesome movies on the way - let's just hope they don't oversaturate the market...

  2. Just looking at that list is a bit overwhelming. I can definitely see this much overload coming back to bite Hollywood in the ass. In fact, this exact scenario is pretty much exactly what Spielberg and Lucas had predicted the landscape of Hollywood to be looking like soon, and they both also predicted this to end up essentially bankrupting studios when oversaturation leads to less people ultimately going to each individual massively-budgeted movie. But, eh, we'll see.

    1. I hope that isn't the case - as I said, it's great news that there are so many big films in production. Just too many feel unnecessary - I mean, two Jungle Book adaptations? Tarzan? Alice in Wonderland 2? Who asked for these? - so I'm worried that there will be a whole raft of massive movies that flunk. Like you said, we'll see :) Thanks for commenting Chris!



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