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Discuss: Will Summer 2016 Outshine & Outpace The Once Mythical Summer 2015?

Features
by Oliver Lyttelton
June 27, 2014 2:21 PM
22 Comments
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It wasn’t that long ago when people were writing premonitions, pre-nostalgic anticipations and “whoa, look out” warning pieces about the massive pile-up of gigantic blockbusters heading for the summer of 2015. That's still true to a degree, but the landscape has shifted and 2016 is looking bigger, brighter and scarier. Even “Star Wars: Episode VII” originally scheduled for May 2015 was pushed back to the tail end of the year (December) because J.J. Abrams and co. knew they’d need all the time in the world to finish their big franchise-resurrecting project (their request to push the film further to 2016 was denied).

Which means that actually, in 2015, the only guaranteed sequel/franchise megahits are “Fast & Furious 7,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and probably “Jurassic World” (though if it did “Jurassic Park 3”-like numbers, that would be a huge disappointment). Yes, Pixar is back (but with the more adventurous “Inside Out” rather than a guaranteed sequel smash like most of their last few pictures) and so is Universal’s mega-successful “Despicable Me” franchise (with the spin-off “Minions”), but Pixar’s movie could be a tougher sell than most. “Ted 2” is likely to be a big comedy hit too, but Seth MacFarlane's brand was definitely damaged by the flop of “A Million Ways To Die In The West."

Don’t get it twisted, it could be a gigantic year, but beyond that, there’s a lot of question marks. “Mad Max: Fury Road” looks rather incredible at the moment (these pics are great) and there’s a new “Terminator: Genesis” film on the horizon, but you never know when one of those are going to fizzle like some tired, would-be-rebooted franchises do (see 2014’s “RoboCop” and 2013’s “Total Recall” for examples; there’s also the fact that “cool” or not, it’s unclear if Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron can open a movie together; at least not necessarily at mega-blockbuster numbers). A lot of raunchy and/or ambitious comedies are coming too (Melissa McCarthy’s “Spy,” the “Entourage” movie, Diablo Cody’s “Ricki & The Flash,” Amy Schumer/Judd Apatow’s “Trainwreck,Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Grimsby”), but you really never know how many of these could cannibalize each other.

There’s a bevy of hopeful franchise starters, probably at least half of which will disappoint (“Pan,” Tim Burton’s “Peregrine,” “Assassin's Creed,” “Goosebumps," and more). And there’s super hero films of course: “Fantastic Four” and “Ant-Man,” which in theory are superhero movies and home-runs, but don't have a lot of fanboy goodwill at this point—they actually could be riskier than most if they don’t connect (a lot is riding on Fox to fix their “Fantastic Four” franchise too, a potentially lucrative property that’s been wasted thus far).

Whereas 2016, because of all domino effects of switching release dates, is already looking like a pile-up, especially with a busy March. Duncan Jones’ “Warcraft” (once scheduled for December 2015) and the Ridley Scott movie that appears to be “The Martian” (but could yet be a sequel to "Prometheus") are both landing, and the former in particular is a film that Universal and Legendary have sky-high hopes for. There’s a lot of big brand-names coming, some of which are gonna be competing directly with each other.

Granted, summer 2015 was looking pretty mammoth as a movie year at the time, but as schedules are wont to do, things shifted. “Pirates of the Caribbean 5” was supposed to be ready for 2015, but still appears to be in a sort of limbo. Recent rumors suggest it could shoot in January, but a behemoth like that needs time and a proper 8-month-out marketing campaign, so if production does go forward at the top of next year you can still bet the movie won't arrive until 2016. “Independence Day 2” also wasn’t ready and got pushed a year.

Likewise, the next ‘Bourne’ installment isn't ready so it too got delayed into summer 2016 (and the word is despite the denials, they're trying to bring Matt Damon back). "Superman Vs. Batman: Dawn Of Justice" was another one. Warner Bros. originally wanted to fast track it for summer 2015, but because they started retrofitting their script as they went—deciding to make a hard and fast pivot and plan towards getting "Justice League" up and running, they realized they needed more time, particularly with those films set to shoot back-to-back.

That's three major tentpole that were scheduled for next year and bumped another 12 months. On top of that, Paramount recently announced their intention to get three of their big franchises back on track (and continue the one they’re about to launch now) in 2016 with “Star Trek 3,” “G.I. Joe 3” and “Transformers 5.” Laying out the slates, it's now looking like 2016 has the upper hand, in terms of being an utterly ginormously crowded year that could break box office records.

Here’s how things stand right now (and note: we use the term “summer” loosely because blockbusters pretty much run from February to December minus a brief reprieve in the fall)

2015
“Fast & Furious 7” - April 10th
“Avengers: Age Of Ultron" - May 1st
“Mad Max: Fury Road”/”Pitch Perfect 2”/”Pixels” - May 15th
“Spy”/”Tomorrowland” - May 22nd
“Monster Trucks” - May 29th
“BOO”/“San Andreas” - June 5th
“Jurassic World”/ “Entourage” - June 12th
“Fantastic Four”/“Inside Out” - June 19th
“Ricki And The Flash”/“Ted 2” - June 26th
“Magic Mike 2”/”Terminator: Genesis” - July 1st
“Minions” - July 10th
“Ant-Man”/”Pan” - July 17th
“Trainwreck” - July 24th
“Grimsby”/“Peregrine's Home For Peculiars” - July 31st
“Assassin's Creed”/”Goosebumps”/”Point Break” - August 7th
“Straight Outta Compton” – August 14th

2016:
Timur Bekmambetov’s “Ben Hur” - Feb 26
"The Martian" OR "Prometheus 2” - March 4th
“Warcraft” - March 11th
“Divergent 3” - March 18th
“Beverly Hills Cop 4” reboot - March 25th
“The Mummy” - April 22nd
“Batman V. Superman”/”Captain America 3” - May 6th (one of these dates will likely shift, likely into early April, but it's a game of corporate chicken right now)
Untitled R-Rated Universal Comedy - May 13th
“Alice In Wonderland 2”/”X-Men Apocalypse” - May 27th
“Sausage Party” - June 3rd
“The Amazing Spider-Man 3” - June 10th
“Finding Dory”/ “How to Train Your Dragon 3” - June 17th
“Angry Birds”/ Steven Spielberg’s “The BFG”/”Independence Day 2”/”Tarzan” - July 1st
Marvel Untitled (“Doctor Strange”? “Guardians 2”? “Thor 3"? ) - July 8th
“Bourne 4/“Ice Age 5” - July 15th
“King Arthur” - July 22nd
“Planet Of The Apes 3” - July 29th
“Untitled Smurfs Reboot” - August 5th
“Pirates of The Caribbean 5” (TBD)
“Star Trek 3” (TBD)
“G.I. Joe 3” (TBD)
“Transformers 5" (TBD)

There's rumored to be a "Shazam" movie coming in July 2016 as well, and coming at the end of September 2016 is the “Untitled Lego Ninjago Movie,” which could be a monster like the “Lego Movie.”

This is likely going to be the typical forecast annually. Each year is going to look, sound and feel bigger than the last. But something will always underperform, something will always surprise and some plans will fall off track leading to delays (with 2016 already looking like such a clusterfuck, look for the dicier prospects like "The Mummy" and "King Arthur" to get pushed back, and there are already rumors that "The Amazing Spider-Man 3" will be pushed to 2017 too, though Drew Goddard's "Sinister Six" is reportedly gearing up to take its place). Look for the blockbuster calendar to spread even wider: "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and "Gravity" have proven you can pull down tentpole numbers in the traditionally quiet months of April and October, so expect more studios to follow their lead.

To borrow and paraphrase a predictive sentiment that Jon Favreau once famously said, someone (meaning some filmmaker or studio or both) is going to get “kicked in the teeth.” With so many aiming for immodest blockbuster success, failure is inevitable for some. It’s just a matter of who.

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22 Comments

  • Leland | July 26, 2014 2:03 PMReply

    Hmmm I don't know, many of these movies I will skip. I really think Hollywood is running out of fresh ideas for movies. I see too many sequels, remakes and reboots. With more raunchy and violent content, expect the box office to suffer as it is now as of this writing.

  • Herk | July 21, 2014 4:55 PMReply

    Okay so there were 28 movies listed for 2015 and 29 listed for 2016. 2015 was only "summer" movies including movies from April to August (I would call that spring and summer) while 2016 included movies from February through August and a few that are TBD. I don't see how this writer can claim that 2016 looks more crowded when they didn't include 2015 movies slated for earlier in the year. I understand that this is an opinion and I actually did like seeing all of the planned release dates for these movies but the writer is wrong with their premise for the article.

  • Duder NME | July 21, 2014 2:05 PMReply

    "Smurfs reboot? Aw das sum bullshizz!" said international audiences.

  • Washington | July 20, 2014 12:36 PMReply

    who gives a shit

  • FBI AGENT | July 19, 2014 2:14 PMReply

    HOW DARE THEY REMAKE POINT BREAK and the mummy -_-

  • Untitled Asia project | July 15, 2014 7:01 PMReply

    July 8 is dr strange . Tf5 awsome

  • Jay Appleby | July 14, 2014 11:25 AMReply

    Also realized you mentioned Divergent 3 in 2016, but skipped over Divergent 2 in 2015, and The Hunger Games Finale, apart from Star Wars VI in 2015.

  • Leland | July 26, 2014 1:55 PM

    Yeah I was wondering about Divergent 2 and the Hunger Games. I think you mean Star Wars VII. VI came out a long time ago, in decades long past. lol

  • Gary | July 12, 2014 9:49 PMReply

    Did you forget Star Wars 2015?

  • Franka | July 15, 2014 7:20 PM

    No, this is an article about the summer. See headline.

  • Zion | July 15, 2014 7:03 PM

    Hey he is right

  • buddy | June 29, 2014 5:50 PMReply

    I'm really glad that a site called 'Indiewire' is championing all these obscure blockbuster franchise films. People might not hear of them otherwise.

  • Franka | July 15, 2014 7:20 PM

    It's not called Indiewire. It's called The Playlist and no one's championing anything. Did you actually read it?

  • Sanker from India | June 28, 2014 10:37 AMReply

    I don't really care about much of the stuff covered here. But it's really depressing you guys are dissing an original Pixar property like "Inside out" and saying that only the creatively bankrupt sequels which are tarnishing their brand are commercially successful. All the Pixar sequel properties had incredibly "risky" original content preceding it which became massive successes leading to "surefire success" sequels.

  • JOHN | June 27, 2014 7:26 PMReply

    Discuss: Will film blogs one day re-focus on the present and decrease their coverage on superhero movies?

  • Rich Corle | June 27, 2014 4:05 PMReply

    Who cares? Most of these movies will be crap.

  • bapi | June 27, 2014 4:02 PMReply

    And don't forget Alex Proyas' Gods of Egypt in February 2016 - it has 150m production budget.

  • cary | June 28, 2014 1:53 PM

    MGM/Paramount's Ben-Hur remake is also coming out in Feb 2016. It should have about $100M budget.

  • bapi | June 27, 2014 3:59 PMReply

    And yeah, this summer looks much, much stronger than 2015... Probably will check only F&F7, Avengers, Fantastic Four and Ant-Man. I'm not a big fan of Brad Bird and those three 'returns after many years'... well, probably reviews will decide for me.

  • bapi | June 27, 2014 3:56 PMReply

    Assassin's Creed will definitely move to 2016 (or later) as well.

  • Jeremy | June 27, 2014 2:43 PMReply

    2015 is starting to look very tame compared to the now "Death of Cinema?" 2016, which will also become very tame when a number of those films get pushed to 2017, and so on...

  • Duder NME | July 21, 2014 2:05 PM

    The business. This one gets it.

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