Monday, July 21, 2014

2016 is 2015

The problem with 2016 is that many of the movies have very questionable release dates, and many of the big tentpole/event films open way too close to each other. If 2015 taught us anything, it’s that a lot of these movies will end up moving.

One of the biggest concerns comes from the first weekend of May: Currently, WB plans to release Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice against Disney/Marvel’s Captain America 3. Disney got the date for the film back in mid-2013, but until the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier three months ago, it was not determined what film would fill that slot. Prior to that film’s opening, WB/DC nabbed the spot for their film. It’s very obvious that DC is going to move.

Where? Well, I had previously speculated that WB would swap their 7/22/2016 release, King Arthur, with Batman v Superman. However, it is rumored that Sony is having major issues with their Spider-Man film series. They currently have two Spider-Man films set for 6/10/2016 and 5/4/2018. Both are labeled Amazing Spider-Man 3 and 4 on major sites, though reports have said that the latter won’t be a Spider-Man film. Spin-offs about the Sinister Six and Venom have been talked about, but after The Amazing Spider-Man 2 underperformed, Sony is reportedly in panic mode.

The Amazing Spider-Man 3 was said to be pushed back, and now it’s being reported that Sinister Six is dead even though it has a director-writer team attached and filming was set to begin in January 2015. However, we’ve heard very little and there’s no cast... Who will be playing the four other villains? If it’s set to film so soon, we should know this. Couple that with rumblings of the project being dead, the writers/brain trust of the series not knowing what direction the series is going in and much more, we have a problem here.

So with Sinister Six and Amazing Spider-Man 3 out of the picture, Batman v Superman could nestle in that 6/10/2016 spot. Historically, Warner Bros. has released big DC superhero films in June and July. Batman Begins, Superman Returns, Green Lantern and Man of Steel were June releases, while The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises were July releases. Batman v Superman was almost a July 2015 release.

How To Train Your Dragon 3, as I've stressed so many times before, is also not going to open against Finding Dory on 6/17/2016, especially after how the second film has performed at the box office. Mid-May is a lot more reasonable, it spaces it out from animated competition though it still has to hold its ground against the big blockbusters. 5/13/2016 seems like the best release date at this point. Fox may have gotten the date first, but Disney isn't going to budge with a sequel to one of Pixar's most successful films.

For March and April, I’ve added some possible candidates. Fast & Furious 8 is definitely a go, and they’re usually an annual thing (Fast & Furious 7 was of course pushed back for obvious reasons), so I can’t see why part 8 won’t open in early April 2016. I’d say 4/1/2016 is fine. G.I. Joe 3 is supposed to begin filming in early 2015 if all goes well, so a spring release is logical, no different from the last film. 4/15/2016 will do. It distances it away from the May madness.

Star Trek 3 is still undetermined, but it has its director in place (writer of the first two, Roberto Orci) and the story seems to be determined, but a release date has not been set. Paramount wants to have it released in 2016 for a good reason, 2016 is when the Star Trek series turns 50. The problem is, it’ll be somewhat compromised whenever it opens. Since all of the Abrams-series Trek films were May releases, it would make sense to give this a 5/20/2016 release.

Alice in Wonderland 2Through the Looking Glass obviously won’t open against X-Men: Apocalypse, which is locked to be big thanks to the success of X-Men: Days of Future Past. Disney may have gotten the date first and usually they are not the ones to budge, but Alice 2 has nothing on the next X-MEN film - the first film was a freak success but one that wasn’t well-liked by critics, and it seems like there isn’t much demand for a sequel. An April release date is logical, 4/8/2016 to be exact, and it’s not too far off from the original’s March 2010 release date. Makes sense to open it around the same timeframe, no? It doesn’t need to be a May release in order to be successful, and the first Disney-live action Alice in Wonderland proved that.

Sausage Party and Finding Dory are fine where they are.

The real kicker here is the 7/1/2016 spot. Currently, it holds four movies: Angry Birds, Independence Day 2, The BFG and Tarzan.

I’ve moved Warner Bros’ live action Tarzan to the week before, Angry Birds I think will stay in that spot since it was one of the first movies to grab it and animated fare often does very well around the Fourth of July, plus other areas have been taken by other big releases. Independence Day 2 is definitely moving as well, as it has been stalling for years and no progress seems to be made on it. No filming dates, the cast isn’t locked, the script? It’s not making it to 2016. The earliest it can come out at this point is summer 2017, because we all know Fox won’t deviate from the Fourth of July weekend. The BFG, a Steven Spielberg-directed adaptation of a Roald Dahl classic that’s being released by Touchstone, also came out of nowhere recently. While Spielberg could very well have it ready for 2016, I can’t see it opening against those other biggies...

That’s right, I put Transformers 5 in the July slot. Paramount wants it out in 2016, though Michael Bay last said he intended it for 2017. If Paramount indeed slots it for 2016, Angry Birds will probably be the only film staying in the spot, though it’ll likely get hit hard because the Transformers films appeal to kids and families too. A very tricky spot to predict.

Warner Bros. supposedly intends to release Shazam in July 2016 as the third chapter of their cinematic universe, and it seems to be moving forward now that it has been teased that The Rock will play the titular hero. However, Marvel’s Doctor Strange opens 7/8/2016 and WB has a big film coming 7/22/2016, King Arthur. It’s possible that Shazam will boot King Arthur out of that spot, but my best guess is that WB/DC takes advantage of the August date that Marvel is going to score with for Guardians of the Galaxy. Shazam, I feel, will work fine as an 8/5/2016 release.

Two animated films are set to duke it out on 9/23/2016, a Sony Animation film (which I predict, as of now, will be Lauren Faust's Medusa) and Lego film Ninjago. Sony got the date first and will most likely keep it. Mid-October could work out for Warner Bros., since The Lego Movie had no problem performing well in the February spot, further proving that it isn’t just kids and families that make good animated films as big as they are. Adults go too.

Now we’re down to two events that are apparently supposed to hit in 2016: Avatar 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean 5.

Fox would probably come out and say that Avatar 2 will open in mid-December 2016, to line up with the first film’s choice of release slot. But the problem is, Disney has it... For a Star Wars standalone entry no less (likely Han Solo). Fox also thinks that Alvin and the Chipmunks 4 will open alongside it, after delaying it from a Christmas 2015 release in order to avoid Star Wars: Episode VII... Only to bump into Star Wars yet again. I’m convinced it’s not going to happen at this rate. The third film in that series didn’t set the box office on fire like the first two did, and a 5 year wait will just drain its chances of doing decently.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Fox replaced Chipmunks 4 with Avatar 2. Since Fox and Disney have been releasing films on the same weekends as each others (it’s a constant release date war that’s getting frustrating), I can definitely see it happening. Fox probably figures that since Avatar is the highest grossing film of all time, Avatar 2 won’t be affected by a Star Wars film that centers on one character rather than one that’s a full-blown episode event. That being said, it’s also a colossally stupid move... I’m seeing a 2017 release for this film at the moment.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has been an odd case. The fourth film in the series was released in 2011 and underperformed in North America, but was massive overseas-only, the biggest in the series. Disney seemed to be enthusiastic about a fifth film, one that promised to take the series in a fresh new direction under Kon-Tiki directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg. However, as of last autumn, the project has yet to be greenlit. It was pushed out of its intended 7/10/2015 spot to an undetermined 2016 release. Jerry Bruckheimer keeps mentioning that he wants it to begin filming soon, but he seems to be the only force advocating the film alongside Johnny Depp. However, Disney already seems to have 2016 mapped out with tentpoles so Pirates is technically unable to squeeze in somewhere. The earliest it opens, if it doesn’t sink, is summer 2017.

So… With all of that being said…

Fast & Furious 8 - April 1, 2016
Alice in Wonderland 2 - April 8, 2016
G.I. Joe 3 - April 15, 2016
The Mummy - April 22, 2016
Captain America 3 - May 6, 2016
Untitled Universal Comedy - May 13, 2016
How To Train Your Dragon 3 - May 13, 2016
Star Trek 3 - May 20, 2016
X-Men: Apocalypse - May 27, 2016
Sausage Party - June 3, 2016
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - June 10, 2016
Finding Dory - June 17, 2016
Tarzan - June 24, 2016
Angry Birds - July 1, 2016
Transformers 5 - July 1, 2016
Doctor Strange - July 8, 2016
Untitled Fifth Bourne - July 15, 2016
Ice Age 5 - July 15, 2016
King Arthur - July 22, 2016
Untitled Planet of the Apes Film - July 29, 2016
Shazam - August 5, 2016
Untitled Smurfs Film - August 5, 2016
Medusa - September 23, 2016
Live By Night - October 7, 2016
Ninjago - October 14, 2016
Untitled Legendary Pictures Event - November 4, 2016
Trolls - November 4, 2016
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them - November 18, 2016
Giants - November 23, 2016
Untitled Star Wars Spin-Off - December 16, 2016
Untitled Illumination Musical - December 21, 2016
The Sandman - December 25, 2016

While a real rough idea of what could happen, there is one thing… Everything is really unpredictable when you get down to it. Somebody could move and you wouldn't even imagine it happening to begin with, someone can land a movie in a certain and force others to move… But one thing is for certain, like 2015, things are going to move. Things will reshuffle as studio slates do. It's the nature of the beast, but it's always fun to track.

How do you think 2016 will turn out?

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