Many of 2015’s biggest movies — The Hateful Eight, The Revenant, Carol — are just now spooling out across America, and the big awards for the past year’s films have yet to be bestowed.
Still, some of us are already looking forward to what new films 2016 is going to bring. Not only are we getting the return of Batman, Superman, X-Men, Captain America and Jason Bourne, but there’s a “Star Wars” spinoff, too.
But it’s not all about action. Here’s some of what you should be looking forward to at the multiplex in ’16. Note that release dates are subject to change.
Hail, Caesar!: The Coen brothers haven’t had a film since Inside Llewyn Davis in 2013, so there’s anticipation for this comedy-drama about a man in ’50s Hollywood who works for a studio keeping stars in line. As usual, they’ve put together a knockout cast that includes Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Frances McDormand and Jonah Hill. Feb. 5.
Race: Track and field pioneer Jesse Owens faces off against Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich in this story about the legendary runner’s quest for glory at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Stephan James (Selma, When the Game Stands Tall) plays Owens. Feb. 19.
Triple 9: Australian director John Hillcoat (The Proposition, Lawless) has a visceral visual sensibility, and this crime drama — starring Kate Winslet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Woody Harrelson, Anthony Mackie, Casey Affleck, Aaron Paul and Norman Reedus from The Walking Dead — should make good use of his style. Feb. 26.
Midnight Special: With just two highly praised films, Mud and Take Shelter, director Jeff Nichols has become an indie favorite. His latest, about a father and son on the lam, is his biggest project to date. Adam Driver, Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton, Michael Shannon and Sam Shepard star. March 18.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad: There’s a flood of superhero/comic-book movies coming in 2016, but these two should stand heads, shoulders and capes above the crowd.
BvS pits Ben Affleck’s Batman against Henry Cavill’s Superman in what promises to be an intriguing power struggle directed by Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead remake, 300, Watchmen, Man of Steel). March 25.
Suicide Squad sports an A-list cast (Will Smith, Ben Affleck, Jared Leto, Common, Margot Robbie, Scott Eastwood, Viola Davis) and a director, David Ayer, known for such tense cop movies as Training Day and End of Watch. How they come together to bring to the screen John Ostrander’s comic book about a group of imprisoned supervillains should be fun to watch. Aug. 5.
Other comic-book movies: Deadpool (Feb. 12); Captain America: Civil War (May 6); X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27).
Everybody Wants Some: The latest from Austin director Richard Linklater is not a sequel to either of his best films — Dazed & Confused and Boyhood — though thematically it could be. It’s an ensemble comedy set on a college campus in the ’80s and takes its title from a Van Halen song. What’s not to like? April 15.
The Jungle Book: Director Jon Favreau has the occasional misfire (Cowboys and Aliens) but generally he makes the kind of movies (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Chef, Elf) that find a broad audience among moviegoers and critics. His remake of this animated Disney warhorse, with the voices of Lupita Nyong’o, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray and Christopher Walken, should follow in that pattern. April 15.
Keanu: The Key & Peele TV comedy show has ended, but the duo of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are taking to the big screen with this comedy about friends posing as drug dealers to rescue their cat named Keanu. Will Forte, Method Man and Nia Long star. April 22.
Snowden: The newest from Oliver Stone was supposed to come out in 2015, so who knows what its push to 2016 means. But this film about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) should be controversial if nothing else. The cast is solid: Shailene Woodley, Zachary Quinto, Scott Eastwood, Timothy Olyphant, Nicolas Cage and Melissa Leo. May 13.
Money Monster: Jodie Foster hasn’t directed a feature film since The Beaver in 2011, so there are many looking forward to this thriller about a man who holds a TV money expert hostage. George Clooney and Julia Roberts star. May 13.
The Nice Guys: This marks the return of director Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3) and it’s a ’70s-set comedy about private investigators in the world of porn. Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe, Matt Bomer and Kim Basinger star. May 20.
Finding Dory: This is the sequel to the enormously popular 2003 Pixar film Finding Nemo. Set six months after Nemo, it reunites many of the characters including Marlin, the Tank Gang and Nemo. Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, Wall-E) returns as co-director. June 17.
The BFG: Roald Dahl’s story about an outcast giant gets the big-screen treatment from none other than Steven Spielberg. Bill Hader, Jemaine Clement, Mark Rylance and Rebecca Hall star. July 1.
Ghostbusters: This reimagining of the ’80s comedy classic spawned controversy from the start with its all-female heroes (Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and two SNL favorites, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones). Chris Hemsworth and original Ghostbuster Bill Murray co-star, and Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) directs. July 15.
La La Land: Young director Damien Chazelle grabbed a lot of attention with his films Whiplash and Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, where music is integral to the storytelling. So it’s no shock that he now has an actual musical, this one starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling that he has described as a love letter to Los Angeles. John Legend and J.K. Simmons co-star. July 15.
Bourne 5: Matt Damon and director Peter Paul Greengrass return to the frenetic franchise after letting Jeremy Renner and Tony Gilroy take the reins for The Bourne Legacy. Everything about this film, from its real title to plot details, is being kept under wraps. July 29.
Pete’s Dragon: Dallas filmmaker David Lowery earned lots of buzz with his 2013 crime drama, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. Now he’s back with something totally different: a remake of the Disney classic starring Robert Redford, Bryce Dallas Howard, Karl Urban, Wes Bentley and the young Oona Laurence from Southpaw. Aug. 12.
Florence Foster Jenkins: Meryl Streep does her usual thing of having a movie in August that acts as adult counter-programming to all the summer action films. This year, she plays a woman who dreams of a career as an opera singer even though she can’t sing. Hugh Grant co-stars, and Stephen Frears (Philomena) directs. Aug. 31.
The Girl on the Train: Emily Blunt, so good in Sicario, returns in this thriller directed by Tate Taylor (The Help, Get on Up). Oct. 7.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk: North Texas author Ben Fountain earned lots of praise for the book about a soldier who returns home and learns he will have to return to Iraq. Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Vin Diesel, Chris Tucker and Steve Martin star. Nov. 11.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The combo of J.K. Rowling (she wrote this Harry Potter prequel) and Eddie Redmayne (who turns any movie he’s in into Oscar bait) should be enough to make this one a pop-culture event. Nov. 18.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: Wait, what? Another “Star Wars” movie so soon? Well, yes and no. It’s a spin-off tale about a group of rebels who try to steal plans for the Death Star. It has a cool international cast (Hong Kong martial-arts action hero Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker, Felicity Jones, Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, Australia’s Ben Mendelsohn, Mexico’s Diego Luna and North Texas’ Alan Tudyk among them) and a director, Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla), who has an interesting visual eye. Dec. 16.
Assassin’s Creed: This is set to be one of the big holiday movies of 2016. Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard and Brendan Gleeson star in this action-adventure about a society of secret assassins. Justin Kurzel, a critics’ fave for The Snowtown Murders and his recent reimagining of Macbeth, directs. Dec. 21.
Story of Your Life: Denis Villeneuve directed one of 2015’s best films, Sicario, so that’s enough reason to have hope for this science-fiction tale about a linguist trying to decode an alien language. Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker star. TBA.