Miami Film Festival 2018

Today is the opening night for the Miami Film Festival which turns 35 this year. To celebrate, the opening night film will be Jason Reitman’s Tully starring Charlize Theron and Ron Livingston. Reitman and Livingston will be in attendance on the Red Carpet and an afterparty with Miami flair in the Design District.

The MFF – the only major film festival sponsored by a college – has always concentrated on films from Latin America and the Caribbean so there are a lot of films screened during the festival that you can’t see anywhere else or hardly anywhere else. Latin films excel in providing slice of life looks at their culture. I have always appreciated their authenticity; you don’t get young artists living in million dollar lofts in Manhattan with no visible source of income. These are families living in middle class homes, or in wealthy haciendas or in deep poverty. Whatever the situation, Latin screenwriters seem to understand that making things feel real is what connects an audience to a film.

I’ve been honored once again to sit on the jury of the Rene Rodriguez Critic’s Award. Named for the longtime Miami Herald film critic, ten films sit in nomination of the award. I am still in the process of seeing them all but I can tell you that all of the nominated films I’ve seen have been worthwhile, some incredible. It makes for a busy film critic but I like it that way.

I’ll be trying to post two reviews a day for at least the next ten days to keep the backlog from growing unmanageable. Some of the films I’ll be reviewing will be difficult to find but when possible I’ll update the reviews with information on streaming and/or theatrical releases.

For those in the Miami area, I strongly urge you to support this worthwhile festival. For those hearing about it for the first time, you might want to consider attending this year’s (it runs through March 18th) or next year’s. The Festival is a reflection of the Miami attitude; there are a lot of parties and hot spots around the City; I’ve never seen a film festival utilize the nightlife of the host city quite as well as this one does.


Thar She Blows

Some of you may be aware that I’m based in the Orlando area. Starting later on tonight, we’ll be experiencing the leading edges of Hurricane Irma, the largest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic. While we are understandably nervous about the oncoming threat, do be aware that we are well inland and won’t receive the kind of devastation that they are predicting for the coast.

However, there will certainly be plenty of wind and rain and likely a loss of power. How long we’ll be without electricity is anyone’s guess; could be a matter of hours or days. Cinema365 will for that reason be offline for a bit but rest assured we will be back. However, it will only be for a short time; if everything goes as planned, I’ll be leaving on Sunday the 17th for a 12 day vacation, returning on the 29th. Regular publication will resume on the 30th. However, I will try to get out a review for Stronger on or about the 22nd. Otherwise, it will be an interesting couple of weeks. Those who are also in harm’s way of Irma, particularly those on the coast and those who have already been devastated by Harvey over in Texas, you are in our prayers as are those who may be affected by other storms as well as wildfires in the Northwest, flooding in Asia and other disasters that seem to be coming at us one after another. Hopefully we’ll be back shortly to provide you with a relief from this kind of news and take your mind off of things with talk of movies both big and small. Take care, all.

Miami International Film Festival

miami-film-festival-2017The Spring film festival season is well underway and that means busy (but happy) film critics. For the first time, Cinema365 is pleased to present coverage of the Miami International Film Festival in 2017. It has come at a time when the independent publicists that work with us have been upping their output which has made it a doubly hectic time for us but it certainly is preparing us for our own hometown Florida Film Festival next month. The MIFF is the only film festival in the country that centers around a college campus which gives it a bit of a different and younger vibe than other film festivals. It also concentrates heavily on films from Latin America and the Caribbean, reflecting the diverse cultures that make Miami such a vibrant and exciting city. Starting today Cinema365 will be publishing a film review  every day of one of the movies playing the Festival in addition to the other movies both independent and major studio that are backlogged. It’s going to keep us busy around here but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Cinema365 was also honored that one of our own will be sitting on the panel of critics that will be awarding the first ever Rene Rodriguez Critics Award, named for the longtime Miami Herald film critic (and who also sits on the panel). That award will be announced on March 10 at the industry happy hour party and the results will also be posted here. So Viva Miami and enjoy some great films that will hopefully be making their way to a theater, film festival or streaming service near you in the not-too-distant future.


2017 Preview

2017 Preview

For the most part, 2016 was a very fruitful year for the studios. Ticket sales set records this year, although ticket prices are also up and attendance a little down. However records are also being generated for VOD and other home cinema sales, so people are watching movies in one form or another more than ever.

Disney has already set a studio box office record even before three of their major year-end releases had come out; one has to look at their box office offerings like Captain America: Civil War, Finding Dory, The Jungle Book and Zootopia not to mention the overlap from Star Wars: The Force Awakens which kept them rolling in it at the beginning of the year, with Doctor Strange, Moana and Rogue One keeping the bean counters happy at year’s end. Fox had a big year as well, with The Revenant, Kung Fu Panda 3 and Deadpool bringing in big numbers; Universal countered with The Secret Life of Pets, Jason Bourne and Warcraft. Warner Brothers got box office success from their DC properties Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad as well as The Legend of Tarzan and The Conjuring 2 bringing in the bacon. Sony bounced back from an off year with The Angry Birds Movie and Ghostbusters while The Mermaid set box office records in Asia. Lionsgate/Summit had success with Now You See Me 2 while Paramount could crow about Star Trek Beyond and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.

There are plenty of reasons to look forward to 2017 cinematically; Marvel and DC will continue to crank out movies all year long (seven between the two competing comic book companies) and there will be plenty of sequels. reboots and returns to make plenty of fanboys quiver with delight. We’ll get to all of that in just a moment.

As usual, Cinema365 will be covering our local Florida Film Festival in April of 2017 but on top of that we have been covering out of town festivals as well, and we’re hoping that will continue throughout the year. We’re committed here to presenting not just the big budget Hollywood spectaculars but also the independent movies, foreign films and microbudget indies that range from “why did I bother” to “absolutely delightful” to even life changing from time to time. Some of our top ten movies will be coming from sources that have nothing to do with Hollywood and that will likely continue to be the case next year.

Our previews will continue to run, including our weekly new release preview which details what’s opening in the Orlando area (where Cinema365 currently calls home), Pick of the Litter which details our choices for movies to look out for every month, to our Coming Soon pages which let you know what’s on the horizon, and of course our quarterly preview specials of which this is the first of 2017. We’ve also instituted mini-reviews for movies we haven’t had time to write full reviews for, which will hopefully start to make a dent in the backlog of movies we’ve seen over the past few years but simply haven’t had the bandwidth to get to. We’re adding coverage of direct-to-streaming films for services like Netflix, Amazon, Vimeo and Hulu since so many of our readers see the bulk of their movies in that medium.

But enough of the appetizer; it’s time to get to the meat of the matter. Dive on in to the 2017 preview and hopefully like what you see here and we’ll look for you at the multiplex in 2017!


Generally the year begins with movies who did their Oscar qualifying run in New York and L.A. in 2016 finally making it out to the rest of the country and there are some possible dandies there, including Ben Affleck’s most recent stint in the director’s chair, a biopic of a fast food giant and a look at the unsung heroes of the space program. In addition, you can check out the return of an extreme superspy, the final entry in a videogame film franchise and what could be M. Night Shyamalan’s most twisted film yet.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage



RELEASE DATE: January 20, 2017
STUDIO: Paramount
STARRING: Vin Diesel, Samuel L. Jackson, Toni Collette, Donny Wen, Tony Jaa, Rory McCann, Nina Dobrev, Ruby Rose, Deepika Padukone
GENRE: Spy Action
STORY: Extreme athlete, YouTube star and retired spy Cage finds himself forced back into the game when a ruthless counterpart goes after a megaweapon known only as Pandora’s Box. Cage will have to assemble a new team of thrill seeker Type-A sorts to save the day and look dope while doing it.
PROSPECTS: Not a lot of competition in 2017 month number one in turns of action so those who are tired of Rogue One and looking for something new might be ready to embrace this.
OBSTACLES: The original xXx was released 15 years ago (we won’t even mention the abortion of a sequel) and the concept might well have seen its time come and go.
FACTOID: The first two films in the series were distributed by Columbia but the franchise has now moved over to Paramount.



RELEASE DATE: January 6, 2017
STARRING: Lewis MacDougall, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Ben Moor, James Melville, Jennifer Lim, Liam Neeson (voice)
GENRE: Fantasy
STORY: A young boy dealing with the serious illness of his mother and ongoing bullying at his school escapes into a world of fantasy and monsters that help him face his fears, deal with loss and find his faith.
PROSPECTS: Although this might be a bit heavy for family viewing, the award-winning book the movie is based on has helped thousands of children deal with difficulties in their own lives and hopefully the movie will do the same.
OBSTACLES: As I said, a bit heavy for family viewing and without a few Oscar nominations to buoy its profile it might just get lost in the end-of-the-year awards season deluge.
FACTOID: The newest Spider-Man, Tom Holland (who previously worked with director J.A. Bayona in The Impossible) was the stand-in for the monster.


RELEASE DATE: January 13, 2017
STUDIO: Warner Brothers
STARRING: Ben Affleck, Zoe Saldana, Scott Eastwood, Elle Fanning, Anthony Michael Hall, Sienna Miller, Brendan Gleeson, Titus Welliver, Chris Cooper
GENRE: Crime Drama
STORY: An ambitious Boston mobster during Prohibition commits a cardinal sin in the underworld; he steals the money and the moll of his boss. This propels the young outlaw out of New England and into Tampa’s steamy rum-running underworld where he might get the revenge he craves.
PROSPECTS: Affleck’s last two films were both big hits and Oscar contenders.
OBSTACLES: The early reviews for this one have been less than enthusiastic.
FACTOID: This is the second time Affleck has directed a movie based on a Dennis Lehane novel (the first was Gone Baby Gone).


RELEASE DATE: January 20, 2017
STUDIO: Universal/Blumhouse
STARRING: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, Kim Director, Brad William Henke, Jessica Sula, Betty Buckley
GENRE: Horror
STORY: A man suffering from multiple personalities – 23 distinct ones that he has revealed to his trusted psychiatrist – is compelled to abduct three teenage girls as the barriers between his personalities begins to shatter, revealing a horrifying 24th personality.
PROSPECTS: Director M. Night Shyamalan delivered the top grossing horror movie of 2015 the last time out. The studio has been giving his latest some heavy support.
OBSTACLES: It’s unclear if Shyamalan has redeemed himself after a string of critically and commercially panned movies dropped him from fan favorite director status.
FACTOID: This is the second time McAvoy has played someone with multiple personalities – the first time was in 2013’s Filth.


RELEASE DATE: January 27, 2017
STUDIO: Screen Gems
STARRING: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Ruby Rose, Iain Glen, Shawn Roberts, William Levy, Eoin Macken, Rola, Jun-ki Lee, Ever Gabo Anderson
GENRE: Horror
STORY: With Alice having survived what was meant to be humanity’s final stand against the undead, she must go to where it all began – the Hive in Raccoon City where the Umbrella Corporation is planning a final assault on the survivors of the Apocalypse. One way or another, it all ends here.
PROSPECTS: This is the final installment of the most successful film franchise based on a video game ever. This is one of the few video game to film adaptations that has consistently worked.
OBSTACLES: The movie has been delayed a couple of times and pushed into the no man’s land of the movie schedule.
FACTOID: Milla Jovovich is the only actor to appear in every film of the Resident Evil franchise.



RELEASE DATE: January 20, 2017
STUDIO: Sony Classics
GENRE: Animated Feature
STORY: A castaway is stranded on an island populated only by turtles, crabs and birds.
PROSPECTS: Has received massive acclaim around the world due to its incredible animated imagery and compelling story.
OBSTACLES: An animated film without any dialogue means no big stars to bring in audiences…
FACTOID: This is the first film produced by Studio Ghibli that was not made in Japan.


January 6, 2017

HIDDEN FIGURES (20th Century Fox) recently got a boost with some Golden Globe nominations; fresh off of an Oscar qualifying run, the film opens wide the first week of January, telling the story of three African-American women who played an important role in the space race at a time when their color got them excluded from opportunity and their gender did the same. UNDERWORLD BLOOD WARS (Screen Gems) is the latest chapter in the war between the vampires and the werewolves; once again it features Kate Beckinsale in the role of a remorseless vampire caught between saving the human race and fighting the evil Lycans.

January 13, 2017

Opening in limited release, THE BOOK OF LOVE (Freestyle/Electric) features Jason Sudeikis as an introverted architect befriended by a spunky teenage girl. Together they help complete the other with the architect designing a raft that will help the teen fulfill her lifelong dream. THE BYE-BYE MAN (STX Entertainment) is a kind of a boogie man who if you think about him possesses you to do unspeakable acts of brutality; the problem is you’re thinking about him now. Just like The Game, no? THE COMEDIAN (Sony Classic) which is opening in limited release stars Robert De Niro as an aging stand-up comic who just when he thought his career was finished meets a woman who helps him find himself in surprising ways. MONSTER TRUCKS (Paramount) is a family film about a strange creature that is all about speed that is accidentally welded into a made-from-scratch truck. PATRIOT’S DAY (CBS) is the third pairing of director Peter Berg and star Mark Wahlberg in a true life drama, this one about the Boston Marathon bombing. It will have already opened in New York, Los Angeles and Boston for an Oscar qualifying run. SLEEPLESS (Open Road) stars Jamie Foxx as a corrupt cop desperately fighting to get his son back from the mobsters he’s stolen from.

January 20, 2017

Also expanding after an Oscar qualifying run, 20TH CENTURY WOMEN (A24) is set in the 70s and follows a mother and daughter who are navigating the sexual turmoil of the times. THE FOUNDER (Weinstein) is the story of Ray Kroc, the former CEO of McDonald’s who took a regional burger joint and turned it into a multi-billion dollar franchise without a whole lot of regard for those who stood in his way. Michael Keaton stars in the title role.

January 27, 2017

A DOG’S PURPOSE (Universal) is a touching family film following a loyal, loving dog through several incarnations, all of whom show how much more we rely on our dogs than they rely on their humans. GOLD (Dimension) stars Matthew McConaughey as a modern-day prospector whose dogged search for the mother lode pays off – but keeping his hard-earned find from corporate piranhas is even harder than finding it in the first place.


A look back at how last year’s previewed movies did at the box office. The budgets and box office numbers are courtesy of Box Office Mojo. My verdicts are based on the typical studio formula that for a movie to break even it must make twice its production budget; any movie that achieves that will be labeled as profitable. I define hit movies as those that make three times the production budget and blockbusters as anything that makes $200 million in domestic box office or more, or made five times the production budget with a minimum of $100 million in domestic box office. These totals don’t include ancillary merchandising, home video sales or broadcast/cable sales, all of which are sure to push the bottom line beyond profitability. When production budgets aren’t available, I’ll be making a guess based on production values and star power. The first four movies listed are the four main previewed items; I’ve also chosen a selection of other major releases that made the preview issue as well.

THE HATEFUL EIGHT (Weinstein) Budget: $44 Million. Domestic Gross: $54.1M Total: $155.8M Verdict: Hit.
THE REVENANT (20th Century Fox) Budget: $135M. Domestic Gross: $183.6M Total: $533.05M Verdict: Big Hit.
RIDE ALONG 2 (Universal) Budget: $40M. Domestic Gross: $90.9M Total: $124.3M Verdict: Hit.
KUNG FU PANDA 3 (DreamWorks/Fox) Budget: $145M. Domestic Gross: $143.5M Total: $519.9M Verdict: Hit.
THE FINEST HOURS (Disney) Budget: $80M. Domestic Gross: $27.6M Total: $52.1M Verdict: Flop.
THE FOREST (Focus) Budget: $10M. Domestic Gross: $26.6M Total: $37.6M Verdict: Hit.
THE 5TH WAVE (Columbia) Budget: $38M. Domestic Gross: $34.9M Total: $109.9 Verdict: Made Money.
13 HOURS (Paramount) Budget: $50M. Domestic Gross: $52.9M Total: $69.4 Verdict: Lost Money.
THE BOY (STX) Budget: $10M. Domestic Gross: $35.8M Total: $64.2 Verdict: Big Hit.
JANE GOT A GUN (Weinstein) Budget: $25M. Domestic Gross: $1.5M Total: $3.0 Verdict: Flop.
DIRTY GRANDPA (Lionsgate) Budget: $11.5M. Domestic Gross: $35.6M Total: $94.1 Verdict: Big Hit.
NORM OF THE NORTH (Lionsgate) Budget: $18M. Domestic Gross: $17.1M Total: $27.4 Verdict: Lost Money.


February as far as 2017 is concerned is the year of the rescheduled; no less than eight of the movies scheduled for release in the shortest month of the year as of this writing were previously scheduled before then. Hopefully some of them will prove worth the wait, as we’ll be seeing a version of a young adult novel about a boy born on Mars falling in love with an Earth-born girl, the latest from fan favorite director Gore Verbinski, the second installment of a franchise based on a hit mommy porn novel series, Chinese master director Zhang Yimou’s latest English-language film and the much-delayed reboot of a hit J-horror franchise.

The Great Wall



RELEASE DATE: February 17, 2017
STUDIO: Legendary/Universal
STARRING: Matt Damon, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Pedro Pascal, Tian Jing, Numan Acar, Eddie Peng, Han Lu, Kenny Lin
GENRE: Action
STORY: The Great Wall of China stretches 5500 miles long and took 1700 years to build. An elite fighting force makes a stand on that wall with the survival of humanity on the line against a foe that may not be beatable.
PROSPECTS: Director Zhang Yimou is one of the most visually innovative directors to come out of China. Given the resources of a major Hollywood studio, there’s no telling what he’ll come up with.
OBSTACLES: There has been a great deal of backlash regarding the casting of Damon in what is essentially a Chinese story.
FACTOID: This is the most expensive film ever made by Chinese filmmakers.



RELEASE DATE: February 10, 2017
STUDIO: Lionsgate
STARRING: Keanu Reeves, Ruby Rose, Bridget Moynihan, Ian McShane, Peter Stormare, Thomas Sadoski, John Leguizamo, Laurence Fishburne, Common
GENRE: Action
STORY: Former hitman John Wick returns in another tale of mayhem.
PROSPECTS: The first movie has been hailed as one of the best action films of recent years.
OBSTACLES: The story has been kept under wraps, which might indicate that the filmmakers are much more concerned about the action than the story – not a good sign.
FACTOID: This will be the first time that Reeves and Fishburne have worked together since the Matrix trilogy concluded with The Matrix Revolutions in 2003.


RELEASE DATE: February 10, 2017
STUDIO: Warner Brothers
STARRING THE VOICES OF: Will Arnett, Jenny Slate, Zach Galifianakis, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Mariah Carey, Billy Dee Williams
GENRE: Animated Feature
STORY: The Dark Knight has been a lone wolf for a very long time but with the Joker’s latest bid to take over Gotham succeeding, the Caped Crusader may need to admit he needs some help – and learn to lighten up.
PROSPECTS: Batman was one of the big reasons that The LEGO Movie was a huge box office success.
OBSTACLES: Most of the creative team behind The LEGO Movie is not involved with this spin-off.
FACTOID: Williams, who plays Two-Face the alter ego of DA Harvey Dent, also played Dent in Tim Burton’s original Batman.


RELEASE DATE: February 17, 2017
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox
STARRING: Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth, Celia Imrie, Carl Lumbly, Susanne Wuest, Adrian Schiller, Lisa Banes
GENRE: Thriller
STORY: An ambitious young executive is sent to fetch his company’s CEO from a “wellness resort” in the Alps and finds himself caught up in a mystery of illness, cures and life and death.
PROSPECTS: Director Gore Verbinski was responsible for launching the Pirates of the Caribbean and The Ring franchises.
OBSTACLES: The movie has been flying under the radar with much less buzz than one would hope.
FACTOID: The movie was filmed at Castle Hohenzollern in the German Alps.



RELEASE DATE: February 17, 2017
STUDIO: Fox Searchlight
STARRING: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Jack Davenport, Tom Felton, Laura Carmichael, Terry Pheto, Jessica Oyelowo
GENRE: Biographical Drama
STORY: The King of Botswana falls in love with a white London office worker and intends to marry her. South Africa, at the time just initiating its policy of apartheid, is infuriated at the thought of a biracial couple ruling an adjacent country and puts pressure on England to thwart the marriage, threatening an invasion of the much smaller Botswana if the couple actually marries.
PROSPECTS: Came out of the Toronto Film Festival as one of the most applauded films of the event.  David Oyelowo has been delivering some powerful performances as of late.
OBSTACLES: There may be little American interest in events of the UK.
FACTOID: The scenes in the couple’s home were filmed in the actual home that they lived in.


February 5, 2017

COLLIDE (Open Road) is a crime thriller about a young hustler caught in the middle of a power struggle between rival mob bosses (played by Anthony Hopkins and Ben Kingsley!) with his girlfriend’s life hanging in the balance. RINGS (Paramount) reboots the iconic horror franchise, itself based on a Japanese horror classic. Having been rescheduled several times, it doesn’t bode well for the future of the franchise. THE SPACE BETWEEN US (STX) is a young adult adventure in which the first human born on Mars – now a teenage boy – falls in love with a girl on Earth. Wanting to find his father (his mother died without telling him his identity), he heads to the planet his species originated on to try and find answers although the gravity and other factors may kill him before he finds any.

February 10, 2017

FIFTY SHADES DARKER (Universal) continues the cinematic adaptations of the “mommy porn” series by E.L. James.

February 17, 2017

FIST FIGHT (New Line) features Ice Cube and Charlie Day as a couple of teachers who get into an altercation which is to be resolved in an after school fight, much to the consternation of one of the two of them. PATIENT ZERO (Screen Gems) is a horror film about a pandemic that infects the majority of humans and turns them into vicious, intelligent killers. One man, who alone can communicate with the infected, may hold the key to the survival of the species.

February 24, 2017

GET OUT (Blumhouse/Universal) comes to us from Jordan Peele, one half of the duo of Key and Peele; in it a young African-American man visits the parents of his white girlfriend and discovers that a very sinister and nasty truth hides beneath their veneer of civility and acceptance. ROCK DOG (Summit) is an animated feature about a Tibetan dog who wants to be more than his village has available for him – he wants to be a rock and roll star. Opening in limited release, TULIP FEVER (Weinstein) stars Alicia Vikander as a woman trapped in an arranged marriage who finds passion with a young artist (Dane DeHaan) hired to paint her portrait during the tulip speculation madness of the 17th century.


DEADPOOL (20th Century Fox) Budget: $58 Million. Domestic Gross: $363.1M Total: $782.6M Verdict: Blockbuster.
HAIL, CAESAR (Universal) Budget: $22M. Domestic Gross: $30.1M Total: $63.2M Verdict: Made Money.
ZOOLANDER 2 (Paramount) Budget: $56M. Domestic Gross: $28.9M Total: $56.0M Verdict: Flop.
GODS OF EGYPT (Summit) Budget: $140M. Domestic Gross: $31, 2M.Total: $150.7M Verdict: Lost Money.
THE WITCH (A24) Budget: $3M. Domestic Gross: $25.1M Total: $40.4M Verdict: Big Hit.
HOW TO BE SINGLE (New Line) Budget: $38M. Domestic Gross: $46.8M Total: $112.3M Verdict: Hit.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES (Screen Gems) Budget: $28M. Domestic Gross: $10.9M Total: $16.4M Verdict: Flop.
RACE (Focus) Budget: $5M. Domestic Gross: $19.1M Total: $25.0M Verdict: Big Hit.
RISEN (Columbia) Budget: $20M. Domestic Gross: $36.9M Total: $46.1M Verdict: Made Money.
EDDIE THE EAGLE (20th Century Fox) Budget: $23M. Domestic Gross: $15.8M Total: $46.2M Verdict: Broke Even.
TRIPLE NINE (Open Road) Budget: $20M. Domestic Gross: $12.6M Total: $23.1M Verdict: Lost Money.


As the spring film season begins, a few summer-like blockbusters begin to creep into the line-up this month, including the return of one of Hollywood’s iconic monsters, the final appearance of an actor in the role that broke him into the big time, the latest live action version of a Disney animated classic, an iconic anime getting a live action treatment and the return of a children’s television action classic now gone adult big time.

Kong: Skull Island



RELEASE DATE: March 10, 2017
STUDIO: Warner Brothers/Legendary
STARRING: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John Goodman, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly, Toby Kebbell, Corey Hawkins, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann, Tian Jing
GENRE: Horror
STORY: An expedition to an uncharted Pacific island brings to light gigantic creatures, horrors from the dawn of time and a secret that will forever change our understanding of our place in the food chain.
PROSPECTS: Part of a new shared universe that includes the Pacific Rim and Godzilla franchises, the spectacle of a new Kong after Peter Jackson’s version will modernize the franchise.
OBSTACLES: Perhaps some franchises shouldn’t be modernized.
FACTOID: While the appearance of Kong in this version is based on the look of the 1933 version, the new one will stand approximately 100 feet tall – the tallest American version of Kong ever.



RELEASE DATE: March 3, 2017
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox
STARRING: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Boyd Holbrook, Doris Morgado, Stephen Merchant, Dafne Keen, Richard E. Grant, Elise Neal, Eriq La Salle
GENRE: Superhero
STORY: A scarred and aging Wolverine is brought out of retirement by Professor X, who pleads with the former X-Man to protect a young female clone who may be the key to the survival of mutants.
PROSPECTS: Jackman has announced this will be his final go-round with the adamantium claws which will bring the fanboys out in force.
OBSTACLES: Neither of the Wolverine solo films thus far have been particularly memorable.
FACTOID: Stewart has also announced that this will be his final appearance as Professor X.


RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2017
STUDIO: Disney
STARRING: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Ewan McGregor, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Luke Evans, Emma Thompson, Josh Gad, Stanley Tucci, Ian McKellen
GENRE: Family
STORY: A live-action version of the beloved fairy tale about plucky Belle, who willingly surrenders herself in exchange for the freedom of her father, to live in a cursed castle with a hideous beast and where the objects are all alive.
PROSPECTS: The animated and Broadway versions of this Disney classic have been licenses to print money; there’s no reason to believe this won’t be more of the same.
OBSTACLES: This will likely get unfavorable comparisons to the animated version.
FACTOID: Alan Mencken, who wrote the music for the animated version, returns to score the new movie as well as co-write some songs with famed lyricist Tim Rice.


RELEASE DATE: March 24, 2017
STUDIO: Lionsgate/Saban
STARRING: Elizabeth Banks, Bryan Cranston, Bill Hader, Naomi Scott, Dacre Montgomery, Fiona Vroom, Becky G, Ludi Lin, RJ Cyler, David Denman
STORY: A group of five high school kids discover that they have been given amazing powers – and that they are the only ones who can save humanity from an alien menace.
PROSPECTS: Most of the kids into The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers back in the day are pushing 30 these days, with kids of their own. Expect a lot of dads in the theater for this one.
OBSTACLES: The Power Rangers haven’t really been a relevant force in kid vid for more than a decade now.
FACTOID: Cranston voiced two different creatures in the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers film back in 1993.


RELEASE DATE: March 31, 2017
STUDIO: DreamWorks
STARRING: Scarlett Johansson, Michael Wincott, Juliette Binoche, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Rila Fukushima, Christopher Obi, Takeshi Kitano
GENRE: Science Fiction
STORY: A cyborg special ops investigator known as The Major heads an elite team in a future where robotics are a part of life but an unknown terrorist organization threatens that way of life.
PROSPECTS: The manga this is based on is extremely popular and Johansson is definitely a favorite of the fanboy community.
OBSTACLES: “Extremely popular manga” doesn’t yet translate to big box office.
FACTOID: Originally the producers wanted Margot Robbie for the role of the Major; however, she turned down the part and it went to Johansson instead.



RELEASE DATE: March 3, 2017 (expands March 10)
STARRING: Ewan McGregor, Kelly Macdonald, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Shirley Henderson, Ewan Bremner, Steven Robertson, Anjela Nedyalkova
GENRE: Dramedy
STORY: The original characters from the cult film return 20 years later to see how their various lives have turned out.
PROSPECTS: The film that launched Danny Boyle’s career has been a cult favorite from the day it was released.
OBSTACLES: There is not a lot of star power here and the fans of the film are not a numerous lot.
FACTOID: The original film was based on a novel; while a sequel to the original novel was written, the sequel to the film will be original material.


March 3, 2017

In BEFORE I FALL (Open Road) Zoey Deutch plays a young woman who has everything – until the day she dies. And to add insult to injury, she relives her last day over and over again. But why? And how? THE SHACK (Summit) is about a man struck by an unfathomable personal tragedy. In his suffering, he receives a note in his mailbox inviting him to “The Shack” and signed by “Papa,” his wife’s nickname for God. That note sends him on a journey that will transform his entire life. TABLE 19 (Fox Searchlight) features Anna Kendrick as a maid of honor who is relieved of her duties after being dumped by the best man. Refusing to miss the wedding of her oldest friend, she is seated at the misfits table in the back of the reception – which may prove to be the best thing that ever happened to her.

March 10, 2017

Opening in limited release, THE LAST WORD (Bleecker Street) is about a controlling industrialist who is now retired. She wants her obituary written while she’s still alive and hires a down-on-her-luck journalist to do just that. What results is that the industrialist discovers that not everything in her life has been written yet. Shirley MacLaine stars. In RAW (Focus World) a vegetarian who wants to be a veterinarian tries meat for the first time with horrific consequences. THE SENSE OF AN ENDING (CBS) stars Jim Broadbent as an elderly man whose perception of himself begins to take a beating when long-buried secrets resurface and force him to face the consequences of the decisions he made as a young man. THE WALL (Roadside Attractions/Amazon) is about two soldiers pinned down by an Iraqi sniper with nothing but a crumbling wall to protect them. This Doug Liman-directed war drama is opening in limited release.

March 17, 2017

Opening in limited release, 13 MINUTES (Sony Classics) is about an attempt on Adolph Hitler’s life that is unsuccessful – but would have changed the world had Hitler left a meeting 13 minutes later. THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (Orion/Blumhouse) was written by James Gunn and is about an American company in South America whose employees are sealed in the building one day and mysteriously ordered to kill each other – or be killed. In FREE FIRE (A24) an arms deal goes horribly wrong when shots are fired during the hand-off of the weapons and what was a criminal transaction turns into a deadly game of survival.

March 24, 2017

CHIPS (Warner Brothers) is a big screen comedy version of the venerable TV cop procedural set in the California Highway Patrol. LIFE (Columbia) explores the consequences when the first alien life is discovered on a space station. The stellar cast includes Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal. THEIR FINEST (EuropaCorp/STX) is a comedy about a British film crew trying to make a movie that will boost morale during the London Blitz. Opening in limited release, WILSON (Fox Searchlight) is based on the Daniel Clowes graphic novel and stars Woody Harrelson as a middle-aged misanthrope who decides to try to connect to the teenage daughter he never knew he had.

March 31, 2017

BOSS BABY (DreamWorks Animation) has a suspicious young boy discovering that his new baby brother who incongruously wears a business suit is involved in a plot to get rid of puppies. Grrrrr! Opening in limited release, STEP SISTERS (Broad Green) is about an ambitious African-American sorority sister who in order to get admitted to the Law School of her dreams must first teach a bunch of white sorority girls the fine art of Black Greek stepping. THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE (Focus) stars Jessica Chastain in the true story of a Polish zookeeper’s wife who hides Jews in the empty cages of her zoo to avoid the Nazi purge of the Warsaw ghetto.


BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (Warner Brothers) Budget: $250 Million. Domestic Gross: $330.4M Total: $873.3M Verdict: Blockbuster.
WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT (Paramount) Budget: $35M. Domestic Gross: $23.1M Total: $23.1M Verdict: Flop.
THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANT (Summit) Budget: $110M. Domestic Gross: $66.2M Total: $179.3M Verdict: Lost Money.
MIDNIGHT SPECIAL (Warner Brothers) Budget: $18M. Domestic Gross: $615,816 Total: $6.2M Verdict: Flop.
THE BRONZE (Sony Classics) Budget: $3.5M. Domestic Gross: $33.1M Total: $615,816 Verdict: Flop.
MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2 (Universal) Budget: $18M. Domestic Gross: $59.7M Total: $88.9 Verdict: Big Hit.
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR (20th Century Fox) Budget: N/A. Domestic Gross: $3.0M Total: $14.3M Verdict: Likely Made Money.
LONDON HAS FALLEN (Focus World) Budget: $60M. Domestic Gross: $62.5M Total: $205.8M Verdict: Hit.
ME BEFORE YOU (New Line) Budget: $20M. Domestic Gross: $56.3M Total: $208.0M Verdict: Big Hit.
THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY (Open Road) Budget: $35M. Domestic Gross: $6.9M Total: $25.2M Verdict: Flop.
THE DISAPPOINTMENTS ROOM (Relativity) Budget: $15M. Domestic Gross: $2.4M Total: $2.4M Verdict: Flop.
EYE IN THE SKY (Bleecker Street) Budget: $13M. Domestic Gross: $18.7M Total: $33.0M Verdict: Made Money.


While April here in Orlando means time for the Florida Film Festival to roll in, everywhere else it means one last month before the summer blockbusters arrive but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few movies of interest arriving this month, including the eighth installment of one of the more profitable franchises of recent years, an adventure based on street magic and the latest nature documentary from DisneyNature.

The Fate of the Furious



RELEASE DATE: April 14, 2017
STUDIO: Universal
STARRING: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Kurt Russell, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren, Jordana Brewster
GENRE: Action
STORY: A member of the family turns on the rest and in order to take him on they will have to ally themselves with a former enemy.
PROSPECTS: One of the most prolific and successful action franchises of the last 20 years seems to be getting better as it goes along.
OBSTACLES: It remains to be seen how the franchise does without Paul Walker in it.
FACTOID: This is the first film in the franchise to be set in New York City.



RELEASE DATE: April 7, 2017
STUDIO: Columbia
STARRING THE VOICES OF: Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson, Joe Manganiello, Mandy Patinkin, Danny Pudi, Jack McBrayer
GENRE: Animated Feature
STORY: Smurfette discovers a map that leads to the mythical Lost Village. She and her friends engage in a race against time to find the village before the evil wizard Gargamel does.
PROSPECTS: The live action Smurf movies have done well and the animated Smurf shorts are classic children’s entertainment for generations.
OBSTACLES: Smurf movies have done better live action than they have as straight animation.
FACTOID: The producers decided to go the animated route after the death of Jonathan Winters, the voice of Papa Smurf in the live action films.


RELEASE DATE: April 14, 2017 (limited; opens wide April 28)
STUDIO: Bleecker Street/Amazon
STARRING: Tom Holland, Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller, Robert Pattinson, Angus Macfayden, Daniel Huttlestone, Nicholas Agnew
GENRE: Biographical Drama
STORY: The true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett who discovered evidence that an unknown advanced civilization once existed on the Amazon and his obsession to find it.
PROSPECTS: A kind of real life Indiana Jones adventure might appeal.
OBSTACLES: Flying a little bit under the radar.
FACTOID: Holland had to wear a fake moustache for the film as he was unable to grow a suitable one yet.


RELEASE DATE: April 21, 2017
STUDIO: Warner Brothers
STARRING: Rosario Dawson, Katherine Heigl, Geoff Stults, Cheryl Ladd, Whitney Cummings, Robert Wisdom, Jayson Blair
GENRE: Thriller
STORY: After a bitter divorce, a man gets engaged to his girlfriend, hoping that he’ll finally have a relationship that makes him happy, but the ex-wife isn’t going to rest until she gets him back.
PROSPECTS: These kinds of thrillers tend to do good business this time of year.
OBSTACLES: The trailer doesn’t really show anything particularly enticing about the movie overall.
FACTOID: This is the directorial debut of long-time producer Denise Di Novi.



RELEASE DATE: April 12, 2017
STUDIO: Fox Searchlight
STARRING: Chris Evans, Jenny Slate, Octavia Spencer, Mckenna Grace, Lindsay Duncan, Keir O’Connell, Julie Ann Emery, Joe Chrest
GENRE: Drama
STORY: A single man takes on the responsibility of raising his niece after his sister passes away and vows to give her the normal childhood her mother wanted to give her. Those plans get quashed when the girl turns out to be a mathematics prodigy and when that ability comes to the attention of her formidable grandmother she threatens to tear apart the nascent family.
PROSPECTS: Evans has shown he can pull off the leading man thing, and Spencer always elevates every movie she’s in.
OBSTACLES: The story has a “been there done that” quality to it.
FACTOID: This is the first original screenplay (not adapted from another source) that Webb has filmed since (500) Days of Summer.


April 7, 2017

The latest from actor/director Zach Braff is GOING IN STYLE (New Line) as three lifelong friends – played by Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin watch helplessly as corporate interests wipe out their pensions. Desperate, they decide to rob the very bank that legally stole their pension in the first place. SLEIGHT (BH Tilt/WWE) which opens in limited release is about a savvy street magician who has to care for his little sister when his parents pass away. When he gets involved with the wrong element, his sister ends up being kidnapped and he must use his skills and his smarts to get her back safely. Opening in limited release, WONDER (Lionsgate) is about a severely disfigured young boy who proves to be an inspiration to everyone around him.

April 14, 2017

SPARK (Open Road) is an animated feature about a teenage monkey who must save a distant planet from an inter-galactic warlord. Opening in limited release is TOMMY’S HONOUR (Roadside Attractions) is the inspiring story of the founders of the game of golf.

April 21, 2017

BORN IN CHINA (DisneyNature) is the most recent release from Disney’s nature documentary label which looks at the flora and fauna of China.

April 28, 2017

THE CIRCLE (STX/EuropaCorp) stars Emma Watson as an employee at the world’s largest social media company but discovers that complete transparency, which the founder espouses, may be far more dangerous than she could have imagined. Tom Hanks co-stars. In HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER (Pantelion), a young man moves up the social ladder by seducing wealthy older women. When he marries one such who is twice his age, he is set in the lap of luxury. When she dumps him for a younger man a couple of decades later, he is forced to move in with his poor sister and nephew and sets out to rekindling his charm, but at this point in his life, is money the most important thing to consider? Opening in limited release, THE PROMISE (Open Road) is a love triangle set during the Armenian Genocide of 1915.


THE JUNGLE BOOK (Disney) Budget: $175 Million. Domestic Gross: $364.0M Total: $966.6M. Verdict: Blockbuster.
THE BOSS (Universal) Budget: $29M. Domestic Gross: $63.3M Total: $78.8M Verdict: Hit.
CRIMINAL (Lionsgate) Budget: $31.5M. Domestic Gross: $14.7M Total: $38.8M Verdict: Lost Money.
THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR (Universal) Budget: $115M. Domestic Gross: $48.4M Total: $165.0M Verdict: Lost Money.
RATCHET AND CLANK (Focus) Budget: $20M. Domestic Gross: $8.8M Total: $13.0M Verdict: Flop.
BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT (New Line) Budget: $20M. Domestic Gross: $54.0M Total: $55.0M Verdict: Made Money.
MOTHER’S DAY (Open Road) Budget: $25M Domestic Gross: $32.5M Total: $43.8M Verdict: Lost Money
NINE LIVES (Relativity/EuropaCorp) Budget: $30M. Domestic Gross: $19.7M Total: $44.2M Verdict: Lost Money.
EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! (Paramount) Budget: $10M. Domestic Gross: $3.4M Total: $4.6M Verdict: Flop.
DEMOLITION (Fox Searchlight) Budget: $10M. Domestic Gross: $2.0M Total: $4.1M Verdict: Flop.
THE GREEN ROOM (A24) Budget: $5M. Domestic Gross: $3.2M Total: $3.8M Verdict: Flop

That’s it for now. Keep your eyes peeled for our Summer Preview at the end of April, followed by our next Fall/Holiday Preview at the end of August. We’ll have more Marvel goodness as well as the Universal horror universe getting underway as well as a shared cinematic universe of Giant monsters joining in. There will also be more entries into the DC Universe and a pair of Stephen King adaptations. Plenty of new entries in ongoing franchises will be presented as well as potential new franchises to be established. There is an awful lot to look forward to but there is certainly plenty here in the meantime to keep your cinematic urges satisfied. Don’t forget that the dates here are subject to change; there will doubtlessly already be some by the time you read this. To keep abreast of what’s being released, check out our weekly preview which will inform you as to what’s opening in the Orlando area that week, or our Coming Soon pages which go out a little bit further afield. We try to keep that as up to date as possible. In the meantime, there’s no time to waste – let’s go check out some of the bounty that will be 2017. See you at the multiplex!


2016 Fall/Holiday Preview

ThanksgivingAfter a record-breaking 2015, the summer of 2016 was a bit of a lull. There have certainly been a share of hits; Captain America: Civil War dominated the early part of the summer and Finding Dory dominated the middle; while Suicide Squad was the dominant force at summer’s end. Otherwise the summer was pretty marginal from a box office standpoint although there have been a few other films that have done some decent box office numbers: The Conjuring 2, for example, as well as The Angry Birds Movie, Independence Day: Resurgence, Central Intelligence, The Secret Life of Pets and X-Men: Apocalypse. However we’ve had our share of box office disappointments as well.

There are a goodly number of releases to eagerly anticipate this fall and holiday season. Of course, what has to be uppermost on every moviegoer’s mind is the first standalone Star Wars film ever – Rogue One which Disney is I’m sure hoping to keep the LucasFilm train roaring down the tracks. There’s also the next installment on Marvel’s license to print money, Dr. Strange and a new film from J.K. Rowling set in the Harry Potter Wizarding World, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

It is at this time of year that Oscar buzz begins to get generated. It’s a little early yet to get contenders firmed up, but I think we can safely say that Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk will be a contender, as likely will be the latest from Ben Affleck, The Accountant. We can also expect some Oscar voters taking a good, hard look at Loving, the newest from up-and-coming director Jeff Nichols. Birth of a Nation which was an early favorite after a triumphant Sundance debut, may be hampered in its bid for Academy love following the revelations that director and star Nate Parker was accused (and acquitted) of rape when he was a student at Penn State.

At the end of the year we’ll need all the laughs we can get, so expect a surfeit of comedies including Bad Santa 2 and the standup concert film Kevin Hart: What Now? Once that question is answered, we can also find some grins from Bridget Jones’ Baby as well as from Keeping Up with the Joneses, Office Christmas Party, The Greasy Strangler and Why Me. Speaking of sequels, we will not only get Bad Santa 2 and Bridget Jones’ Baby but also Ouija: Origin of Evil, Jack Reacher: Never Look Back, Rings and Inferno (while Rogue One: A Star Wars tale is ostensibly one, it is a stand-alone film in the Star Wars universe and thus not a true sequel).

There is a cornucopia of biographies this season, with Snowden finally set for release (we’ll believe it when it actually hits theaters), Deepwater Horizon, Masterminds, The Queen of Katwe and Sully. Families will get some diverse fare with Disney’s Moana, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Sing, Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, The Wild Life, Trolls and Storks. Those who prefer scary to kids flicks (and kids flicks can be scary) will have plenty of nightmare-inducing movies to check out, including Rod Zombie’s 31, Rings, Morgan, Before I Wake, Incarnate, The Bye-Bye Man, Delirium, Ouija: Origin of Evil, The Ninth Life of Louis Drax and Keep Watching.

There will be plenty of science fiction to whet your appetite for space, with such movies as Passengers, The Space Between Us and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Action and adventure will go hand in hand with such films as Assassin’s Creed based on the popular videogame; also you can look forward to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Allied, Desierto, Inferno, The Magnificent Seven and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.

The holidays always bring out the stars and those shining in 2016 will include Tom Hanks (Sully, Inferno), Tom Cruise (Jack Reacher: Never Look Back), Brad Pitt (Allied), Eddie Redmayne (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Strange), Chris Pratt (Passengers, The Magnificent Seven), Michael Fassbender (The Light Between Oceans, Assassin’s Creed), Kristin Wiig (Masterminds), Lupita Nyong’o (Queen of Katwe), Billy Bob Thornton (Bad Santa 2), Vin Diesel (Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk), Jennifer Connelly (American Pastoral), Denzel Washington (The Magnificent Seven), Dwayne Johnson (Moana), Kevin Hart (Kevin Hart: What Now?), Ben Affleck (The Accountant), Zach Galifianakis (Masterminds, Keeping Up with the Joneses), Mark Wahlberg (Deepwater Horizon), Jennifer Lawrence (Passengers), Andy Samberg (Storks), Marion Cotillard (Assassin’s Creed, Allied), Emma Stone (La La Land), Bryan Cranston (Why Him?), Renee Zellweger (Bridget Jones’ Baby), Rachel McAdams (Dr. Strange), Alicia Vikander (The Light Between Oceans) and Owen Wilson (Masterminds). There are also some high-profile directors with projects big and small this season including Jeff Nichols, Oliver Stone, Ron Howard, Tim Burton, Ang Lee, Mira Nair, Rob Zombie and Denis Villeneuve.

Generally speaking, the release dates listed here will be obsolete the moment this is published. Studios have a habit of shuffling release dates, and the further out you go the more likely they are to change. Don’t be left in the cold; check our weekly previews for movies opening in Central Florida, our monthly Pick of the Litter feature for previews of especially deserving films or our Coming Soon section for regular updates of the release schedule for movies with budgets big and small. Until then, you’ve got a preview to read – better get cracking!


As summer wanes and Labor Day signals the end of the blockbuster and barbecue season and the beginning of school and football season, the studios tend to take a deep breath and program movies here that are not quite so exciting, although there are often a few gems among the rocks. This month we’ll be looking at a true-life mountain adventure, the sequel to a hit Halloween-themed animated feature, the biography of a notorious American criminal and the sequel to a surprise hit young adult sci-fi novel adaptation.

The Magnificent Seven



RELEASE DATE: September 23, 2016
STUDIO: Columbia/MGM
STARRING: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Haley Bennett, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung Hun Lee, Vinnie Jones, Peter Sarsgaard, Matt Bomer
GENRE: Western
STORY: A desperate town, controlled by a ruthless industrialist, sends a plea for help which is answered by an unlikely ragtag group of outlaws, desperados, bounty hunters, gamblers and gunslingers. As they prepare for the final showdown with the ruthless mercenaries who have been hired as a private army by the industrialist, what began as a job for these seven men becomes something much more.
PROSPECTS: Pratt is on a major roll right now with two huge franchise films that he’s been a part of. Denzel continues to be one of the most popular actors in Hollywood, and this movie is a remake of one of the all-time classic Westerns that a fairly high percentage of modern audiences may be unfamiliar with.
OBSTACLES: Westerns are not super-popular. One has to wonder with a cast with this kind of star power why the movie got exiled to the doldrums of September.
FACTOID: This is a remake of a 1960 Western which itself is a remake of the 1954 Akira Kurosawa classic Seven Samurai.



RELEASE DATE: September 9, 2016
STUDIO: Warner Brothers
STARRING: Tom Hanks, Anna Gunn, Laura Linney, Aaron Eckhart, Autumn Reeser, Sam Huntington, Jerry Ferreira, Holt McCallany
GENRE: Biographical Drama
STORY: After landing his disabled plane on the frigid Hudson River and saving all 155 lives aboard, Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger became a national hero. However, behind the scenes, the accolades and the paparazzi an investigation was quietly launched that threatened to destroy his career, his reputation and his life.
PROSPECTS: Sullenberger remains an object of hero-worship throughout America, and Hanks is one of the most likable actors ever. Add director Clint Eastwood to the mix and you have a movie that is going to pique the interests of a very large demographic.
OBSTACLES: May be a little bit too much like Flight which may suck some of the box office thunder out of it.
FACTOID: Linney and Eckhart played a couple on an episode of Frasier.


RELEASE DATE: September 30, 2016
STUDIO: Summit
STARRING: Mark Wahlberg, Kate Hudson, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Ethan Suplee, Dylan O’Brien, Gina Rodriguez, Joe Chrest
GENRE: True Life Drama
STORY: The story of the events of April 20, 2010 when the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon suffered an explosion and a fire that would lead to one of the worst man-made disasters in history. The courage of the crew of the rig will finally get told to a worldwide audience.
PROSPECTS: People tend to have a morbid fascination with disasters and disaster movies. Wahlberg is a charismatic lead whose films tend to be solid performers.
OBSTACLES: Not getting a ton of buzz nor is it getting a lot of push from the studio which leads one to believe they don’t have a whole lot of confidence in the film.
FACTOID: This will be the first time that Kate Hudson has worked on the same movie with her stepfather Kurt Russell.


RELEASE DATE: September 30, 2016
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox
STARRING: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Chris O’Dowd, Ella Purnell, Alison Janney, Samuel L. Jackson, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp, Dame Judi Dench
GENRE: Young Adult Fantasy
STORY: A young man stumbles into a deep mystery where children with amazing powers have found refuge in the home of the lovely Miss Peregrine. However, the children are threatened by enemies both secret and overt, who are equally powerful and who want to exploit them; the young man must stand and fight for them but also, in the process, discover who he himself is and what he is capable of.
PROSPECTS: Seems tailor-made for the talents of director Tim Burton. It’s based on a best-selling young adult novel series which gives it an instant audience.
OBSTACLES: Burton’s output has been uneven the last decade or so. Young adult bestsellers haven’t necessarily translated to box office gold overly much.
FACTOID: In the books the character of Dr. Golan was male, but here the character is played by Allison Janney.



RELEASE DATE: September 23, 2016 (Limited; expands September 30, 2016)
STUDIO: Disney
STARRING: Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Madina Malwanga, Russel Salvadier, Charity Rose Pimer, Maurice Kirya
GENRE: True Life Drama
STORY: A little girl from a Ugandan slum discovers the allure of chess and quickly shows aptitude for the game. Supported by family and community, she develops the confidence needed to become a grandmaster.
PROSPECTS: Director Mira Nair is one of the most poetic directors in the business. While the subject matter may not be the stuff of blockbusters, this could garner some Oscar buzz come Awards season; certainly Oscar should be giving the actors of African descent a good hard look considering how they’ve been ignoring actors of color the past couple of years.
OBSTACLES: Chess isn’t exactly the most cinematic game there is. Disney seems to be hedging their bets a little in not planning a full wide release for the film.
FACTOID: Nair decided to do the film after directing a documentary based on the life of Ugandan chess icon Robert Katende.



In THE 9TH LIFE OF LOUIS DRAX (Miramax/Summit), a young boy survives a fall off a cliff but in a coma. A neurologist tries a revolutionary new technique to enter the boy’s comatose mind to find out what really happened but unlocks a secret that not only explains how he has cheated death not just here but on eight previous occasions but also opens the door for something incredible…and possibly sinister. In KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE (RLJ) a fighter seeks revenge when his brother is brutally killed in the ring and seeks training from a legendary martial artist. Jean-Claude van Damme returns to this longtime franchise which opens in limited release. THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS (DreamWorks) is the latest from up-and-coming director Derek Cianfrance and concerns a lighthouse keeper and his heartbroken wife who, after she miscarries, discover a baby floating in a lifeboat with a dead man. Seeing this as a sign from heaven, they take the little girl as their own but eventually they realize that they know who the real mother is. MAX ROSE (Paladin) stars the legendary Jerry Lewis in his first onscreen role in 21 years, playing a retired jazz pianist who after his wife of 60 years passes away, discovers that his marriage isn’t what he thought it was. This is opening in limited release. Kate Mara stars in MORGAN (20th Century Fox) as a corporate troubleshooter who goes to a remote lab to investigate a mysterious accident. She discovers that at the center of it is a teenage girl with incredible powers who shows great promise – and great danger. Opening in limited release is Kevin Smith’s latest, YOGA HOSERS (Invincible), the second in his Canada trilogy and brings back two convenience store clerks and a somewhat rumpled Canadian detective from Tusk brought together to fight an incalculable evil from underneath the good Manitoban soil of Winnipeg.


THE DISAPPOINTMENTS ROOM (Rogue) is about a family that moves into a quaint New England home and discovers a small door in the attic that doesn’t appear in any blueprints. When they see the ghost of a child beckoning to them to open the locked door, they unleash a supernatural firestorm of spirits who want to ensure that door stays locked – and the secrets within kept hidden – forever. KICKS (Focus World) is a cautionary tale concerning a set of stolen sneakers, the status they confer on the wearer and how far a 15-year-old boy will go to get his shoes back. WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS (Screen Gems) stars Morris Chestnut and Regina King as an urban professional couple who have done everything to have a baby and are now trying surrogacy. The surrogate mom, however, turns out to be a lot more than they bargained for as her unhealthy obsession with the father threatens their very lives. THE WILD LIFE (Summit) is an animated feature that tells the Robinson Crusoe story – from the point of view of the animals on the island and it looks none too favorably on the famous castaway.

SEPTEMBER 16, 2016

BLAIR WITCH (Lionsgate) is a sequel to one of the most successful independent films of all time and finds another group of kids entering the woods which are said to be haunted by the Blair Witch, only to find that the tales are frighteningly true. BRIDGET JONES’ BABY (Universal) stars Renee Zellweger in one of her signature roles as the plucky British girl who after years of romantic misadventures is now trying motherhood on for size – with two different men who could be the father. Opening in limited release as well as on Hulu, EIGHT DAYS A WEEK: THE BEATLES – THE TOURING YEARS (Abramorama) documents the brief period that the Beatles toured from 1963 until their last concert in 1966 (excluding the impromptu show they gave on top of the building where their Apple Records was headquartered) and utilizes much behind the scenes footage as well as never-before-seen concert footage. MR. CHURCH (Cinelou) stars Eddie Murphy as a cook/handyman/housekeeper whose services are  paid for by the boyfriend of a dying mother for six months but whose relationship with her daughter keeps him working for the family for 15 years. This is opening in limited release. SNOWDEN (Open Road) is the oft-delayed Oliver Stone biopic of the notorious whistle-blower (some say traitor who alerted us to the NSA’s program that is in essence spying on the American people. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in the title role.

SEPTEMBER 23, 2016

In DIRTY 30 (Lionsgate) lifelong BFFs come together to throw a 30th birthday party for a third friend which turns into a This Is Your Life-kind of affair which quickly descends into chaos. This is opening in limited release. GOAT (Paramount) stars Nick Jonas in a movie that shows just how deadly fraternity hazing can be. It is getting a brief theatrical release in New York and Los Angeles while simultaneously opening on VOD, something unusual for a major studio. STORKS (Warner Brothers) is an animated feature about the birds noted for delivering babies to their parents but as that has proven unprofitable, they have become a delivery service. When an unauthorized baby is accidentally created, a resourceful stork and the only human on Stork Mountain must find a way to deliver it before the boss finds out.

SEPTEMBER 30, 2015

Opening in limited release, AMERICAN HONEY (A24) is about a rebellious adolescent from a troubled home who runs away and joins a crew of teen…magazine salesmen (I couldn’t make this up). Days of bending the law turn into nights of hard partying and maybe, young love. DENIAL (Bleecker Street) stars Rachel Weisz in the true story of a lawsuit brought about by an academic who claimed the Holocaust never happened against fellow academic Deborah Lipstadt who claimed that it did and led to her legal representatives being forced by English law having to prove that the Holocaust did indeed occur. MASTERMINDS (Relativity) is the (mainly) true story of an armored car driver who is seduced into helping a group of criminals steal $17 million from the armored car company only to be set up as the fall guy. On the run and dodging a hitman, he must find a way to turn the tables on the guys that betrayed him. Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis and Owen Wilson star.


A look back at how last year’s previewed movies did at the box office. The budgets and box office numbers are courtesy of Box Office Mojo. My verdicts are based on the typical studio formula that for a movie to break even it must make twice its production budget; any movie that achieves that will be labeled as profitable. I define hit movies as those that make three times the production budget and blockbusters as anything that makes $200 million in domestic box office or more, or made five times the production budget with a minimum of $100 million in domestic box office. The first four movies listed are the four main previewed items; I’ve also chosen a selection of other major releases that made the preview issue as well.

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 (Columbia) Budget: $80 Million. Domestic Gross: $169.7M Total: $473.2M Verdict: Blockbuster.
MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS (20th Century Fox) Budget: $61M. Domestic Gross: $81.7M Total: $312.3M Verdict: Big Hit.
EVEREST (Universal) Budget: $55M. Domestic Gross: $43.5M Total: $203.4M Verdict: Hit.
THE WALK (TriStar) Budget: $35M. Domestic Gross: $10.1M Total: $61.2M Verdict: Made Money.
SICARIO (Lionsgate) Budget: $30M. Domestic Gross: $46.9M Total: $84.9M Verdict: Made Money.
THE INTERN (Warner Brothers) Budget: $35M. Domestic Gross: $75.8M Total: $194.6M Verdict: Big Hit.
THE VISIT (Universal) Budget: $5M. Domestic Gross: $65.2M Total: $98.5M Verdict: Big Hit.
A WALK IN THE WOODS (Broad Green) Budget: $8M. Domestic Gross: $29.5M Total: $36.0M Verdict: Big Hit.
THE PERFECT GUY (Screen Gems) Budget: $12M. Domestic Gross: $57.0M. Total: $60.3M. Verdict: Big Hit.
THE TRANSPORTER REFUELED (Relativity/EuropaCorp) Budget: $25M. Domestic Gross: $16.0M Total: $72.6M Verdict: Made Money.
PAWN SACRIFICE (Bleecker Street) Budget: $19M. Domestic Gross: $2.4M Total: $5.4M Verdict: Flop.
THE GREEN INFERNO (High Top) Budget: $5M. Domestic Gross: $7.2M Total: $7.2M Verdict: Lost Money.


As the weather grows cooler and kids minds turn to trick or treating, the local multiplex will have a pillowcase full of treats, including a new installment in the cinematic franchise of a bestselling cryptography series, the movie version of a Philip Roth novel, the return of a Tom Cruise action hero, the reboot of a series of films based on an iconic Japanese horror movie and a concert film from America’s most popular stand-up comedian.




RELEASE DATE: October 28, 2016
STUDIO: Columbia
STARRING: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Ben Foster, Irrfan Khan, Omar Sy, Ana Ularu, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Ida Darvish
GENRE: Thriller
STORY: Professor Robert Langdon is once again called upon to solve a seemingly unsolvable puzzle but this time the stakes are much higher, involving a plague that could potentially wipe out half of the world’s population – and Langdon is one of the suspect’s in the investigation!
PROSPECTS: The first two installments in the cinematic franchise based on Dan Brown’s bestselling novels were box office blockbusters.
OBSTACLES: Neither of the films have exactly swept audiences and critics off their feet.
FACTOID: Sy and Khan both appeared in Jurassic World.



RELEASE DATE: October 7, 2016
STUDIO: Universal
STARRING: Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Luke Evans, Laura Prepon, Justin Theroux, Allison Janney, Edgar Ramirez, Lisa Kudrow
GENRE: Mystery
STORY: A woman who has been devastated by a recent divorce sees a “perfect couple” in a house that her commuter train passes every day and fantasizes wistfully about them. When she witnesses something truly shocking, she is caught in a nightmare in which she may not be an innocent bystander after all.
PROSPECTS: Blunt has been waiting for the right script to elevate her to the next level and this one might be it. The trailer is absolutely Hitchcock-ian.
OBSTACLES: The mystery genre has lately been out of vogue.
FACTOID: This is the first film directed by Tate Taylor in which Octavia Spencer does not appear.


RELEASE DATE: October 14, 2016
STUDIO: Warner Brothers
STARRING: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, Jon Bernthal, J.K. Simmons, John Lithgow, Jeffrey Tambor, Cynthia Addai-Robinson
GENRE: Drama
STORY: A high-functioning math savant is a freelance accountant for some of the most ruthless criminal organizations in the world. When he takes on a legitimate client, it turns out that it could be far more dangerous than the crime bosses he’s used to dealing with.
PROSPECTS: Affleck is a hot commodity these days between his directing triumphs and his roles on-camera as well. Gavin O’Connor is a director who knows how to tell a good story properly.
OBSTACLES: There is a lot of competition for this type of film out there during the month.
FACTOID: The song playing over the trailer is “Everything in Its Right Place” by Radiohead off the Kid-A album. It also played during the opening scene of Vanilla Sky.


RELEASE DATE: October 21, 2016
STUDIO: Paramount
STARRING: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Robert Knepper, Aldis Hodge, Holt McCallany, Danika Yarosh, Wolfgang Stegemann
GENRE: Action
STORY: When a friend of Jack Reacher is arrested and charged with espionage, well, that’s just something he can’t let go. Where the law can’t go, Reacher kicks down the doors and takes names..
PROSPECTS: Cruise is still a big box office draw.
OBSTACLES: The first Jack Reacher film was only a middling success.
FACTOID: The first film was based on the ninth book in the Lee Childs novel series; the sequel is based on the eighteenth.


RELEASE DATE: October 28, 2016
STUDIO: Paramount
STARRING: Laura Wiggins, Aimee Teegarden, Johnny Galecki, Lizzie Brocheré, Bonnie Morgan, Alex Roe, Zach Roerig, Matilda Lutz
GENRE: Horror
STORY: When her boyfriend gets caught up in the urban legend about a videotape that kills you seven days after you view it, a young woman sacrifices herself to save him, but finds out something even more horrifying – that there is a movie within the movie.
PROSPECTS: This is a cult favorite among horror fans, particularly those who love Americanized J-horror. It is also the highest profile release of the Halloween season.
OBSTACLES: It has been eleven years since the sequel appeared, which is a long time for a franchise.
FACTOID: Although there were rumors that this would be a prequel, it was recently confirmed on Twitter by the film’s director that it is a sequel set in present day.



RELEASE DATE: October 7, 2016
STUDIO: Fox Searchlight
STARRING: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Mark Boone Junior, Colman Domingo, Aunjanue Ellis, Gabrielle Union, Penelope Ann Miller, Jackie Earle Haley
GENRE: Historical Drama
STORY: Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher, is used by his financially strapped owner to subdue unruly slaves. A witness to countless atrocities, he is inspired to lead a slave revolt in the days prior to the Civil War.
PROSPECTS: One of the most anticipated indie films of the year drew rave reviews following a triumphant debut at Sundance this past January.
OBSTACLES: Parker, who also directed the film, has been embroiled in a scandal following an interview in which he discussed a 2003 trial when he was accused and acquitted of rape while still a student at Penn State. The outcry of this revelation may end up causing Fox to reassess their strategy with this film which is considered a likely contender for Oscars if released this year.
FACTOID: Fox paid $17.5 million for the rights to the film, a Sundance record.


OCTOBER 7, 2016

THE GREASY STRANGLER (FilmRise) which appeared at this year’s Florida Film Festival and is now opening in limited release is about a browbeaten son and his degenerate father who are vying for the same girl, right about the time an oily serial killer nicknamed “The Greasy Strangler” shows up to terrorize the women of Los Angeles. MIDDLE SCHOOL: THE WORST YEARS OF MY LIFE (CBS) is based on a best-selling series of young adult books in which an authority-hating young tween boy finds himself in a middle school with a veritable cornucopia of rules. VOYAGE OF TIME (Broad Green) is director Terrence Malick’s ten-years-in-the-making treatise on the birth and death of the universe; it is opening in limited release and in IMAX in selected theaters.

OCTOBER 14, 2016

Opening up in limited release, CERTAIN WOMEN (IFC) is a Montana-set ensemble piece by acclaimed director Kelly Reichardt following three different women whose lives intersect in unexpected ways.  DESIERTO (STX) is a thriller from Mexican director Jonás Cuaron about a group of illegal aliens crossing the U.S./Mexican border who are stalked by a deranged Texan with a high powered rifle and a dog trained to kill. KEVIN HART: WHAT NOW (Universal) is the latest concert film from America’s most popular comedian Kevin Hart on his most recent tour; his historic sold-out stadium performance is bookended by a 007-like spy vignette.

OCTOBER 21, 2016

31 (Saban/Lionsgate) is Rob Zombie’s latest horror epic in which five carnival workers are kidnapped and forced to play a life or death game against an endless parade of homicidal maniacs. This is getting a brief limited theatrical run (including a special Fathom Events presentation which is followed by a live Q&A with the director) with a simultaneous release on VOD. AMERICAN PASTORAL (Lionsgate) is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Philip Roth regarding an American family shaken to the core when their rebellious daughter disappears after being accused of an unspeakable crime. BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN (Lionsgate) stars Tyler Perry as the popular character Madea as she takes on all manners of ghosts and ghouls and scariest of all – a group of uppity teens. All Hallows Eve will never be the same. Opening in limited release, THE HANDMAIDEN (Magnolia/Amazon) is the latest from South Korea’s most acclaimed director Park Chan-wook and tells the tale of a maid installed in a wealthy woman’s household staff who is secretly a con artist working with a heartless partner.  IN A VALLEY OF VIOLENCE (Focus World) stars John Travolta as a world-weary sheriff in a town in the Old West in which his troublemaking son picks a feud with a mysterious drifter who has a skeleton or two in his closet, which escalates into mayhem; it opens in limited release. KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES (20th Century Fox) stars Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher as a couple who become obsessed with a mysterious seemingly perfect couple who move in next door but turn out to be much more than they seem. OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL (Universal) is a prequel to the surprise 2014 hit and establishes how the house and its accompanying Ouija board got haunted. It’s not a pretty story.

OCTOBER 28, 2016

Opening in limited release THE EAGLE HUNTRESS (Sony Classics) is a documentary chronicling the attempt of a 13-year-old Mongolian girl struggling to become the first female to become an Eagle Hunter, a prestigious position in which trained eagles are used to hunt.


CRIMSON PEAK (Universal) Budget: $55M. Domestic Gross: $31.1M Total: $74.7M Verdict: Lost Money.
THE MARTIAN (20th Century Fox) Budget: $108M. Domestic Gross: $228.4M Total: $630.2M Verdict: Blockbuster.
PAN (Warner Brothers) Budget: $150M. Domestic Gross: $35.1M Total: $128.4M Verdict: Flop.
BRIDGE OF SPIES (DreamWorks) Budget: $40M. Domestic Gross: $72.3M Total: $165.5M Verdict: Big Hit.
JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS (Universal) Budget: $5M. Domestic Gross: $2.2M Total: $2.3 Verdict: Flop.
SUFFRAGETTE (Focus) Budget: $14M. Domestic Gross: $4.7M Total: $32.0 Verdict: Made Money.
STEVE JOBS (Universal) Budget: $30M. Domestic Gross: $17.8M Total: $34.4M Verdict: Broke Even.
LEGEND (Universal) Budget: $25M. Domestic Gross: $1.9M Total: $43.0M Verdict: Lost Money.
GOOSEBUMPS (Columbia) Budget: $58M. Domestic Gross: $80.1M Total: $150.2M Verdict: Made Money.
SCOUT’S GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE (Paramount) Budget: $15M. Domestic Gross: $3.7M Total: $14.9M Verdict: Flop.
THE LAST WITCH HUNTER (Summit) Budget: $90M. Domestic Gross: $27.4M Total: $140.4M Verdict: Lost Money.
BURNT (Weinstein) Budget: $20M. Domestic Gross: $13.7M Total: $36.6M Verdict: Lost Money.


As the cold weather begins to make its appearance in earnest, the cold hearts of studio accountants are warmed by the thoughts of potential blockbusters coming their way. This year, Marvel gets mystical with their second film of the year while J.K. Rowling makes a welcome return to the cinematic medium. Disney makes a bid for more animated income and director Ang Lee looks to garner Oscar gold with his latest film.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them



RELEASE DATE: November 18, 2016
STUDIO: Warner Brothers
STARRING: Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell, Zoë Kravitz, Jon Voight, Ron Perlman, Gemma Chan, Katherine Waterston, Samantha Morton
GENRE: Fantasy
STORY: Newt Scamander is returning home to England in the 1920s after a global excursion in which he has been cataloguing and collecting magical creatures. A stopover in New York City proves disaster as a no-maj (American for muggle) inadvertently lets some of these creatures loose on an unprepared city.
PROSPECTS: The return of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World is being met with extreme anticipation; her Harry Potter series is one of the most profitable of all time.
OBSTACLES: Muggle cinema viewers may not be as eager to see a Wizarding World film without Harry Potter in it.
FACTOID: Rowling, who is making her screenwriting debut, has characterized the film as a spin-off or extension of the Potter universe without being a direct prequel or sequel; no characters from the Potter books appear here (although Scamander is mentioned as the author of the textbook of the same name and has his own chocolate frog card).



RELEASE DATE: November 4, 2016
STUDIO: Disney/Marvel
STARRING: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Benedict Wong, Scott Adkins, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt
GENRE: Superhero
STORY: A gifted surgeon is badly injured in an auto accident and loses the use of his hands. Devastated by his loss, he discovers a secret world within our own, one of magic and mysticism. He must learn to put aside his ego and become the sorcerer supreme, protector of the mortal realm from threats from other planes.
PROSPECTS: This will be another very different Marvel movie, and much like Guardians of the Galaxy has the opportunity to defy expectations and once again break the bank at the box office.
OBSTACLES: May be a bit too much like Christopher Nolan’s non-Batman films to ignore.
FACTOID: The creators of the character, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, based the comic book appearance of Dr. Strange on Vincent Price. They even gave him the middle name of Vincent in tribute.


RELEASE DATE: November 4, 2016
STUDIO: DreamWorks Animation/Fox
STARRING THE VOICES OF: Anna Kendrick, Zoey Deschanel, Justin Timberlake, James Corden, John Cleese, Russell Brand, Gwen Stefani, Christine Baranski, Ron Funches
GENRE: Animated Feature
STORY: When the Trolls are kidnapped from their village by the villainous Bergens, only the terminally optimistic Poppy and the equally as pessimistic Branch remain to save their fellow Trolls.
PROSPECTS: The voice cast is literally an all-star cast; while we didn’t have room to list everyone, there are a lot of familiar voices that will be in play.
OBSTACLES: The trailers for the movie have been underwhelming.
FACTOID: The original trolls were created by Thomas Dam in Gjøl, Jutland, Denmark in 1958.


RELEASE DATE: November 23, 2016
STUDIO: Disney
STARRING THE VOICES OF: Dwayne Johnson, Auli’i Cravalho, Jemaine Clement, Alan Tudyk, Nicole Scherzinger, Temuera Morrison
GENRE: Animated Feature
STORY: A brave Pacific Islander teen girl must make a perilous voyage to save her people. Aided by the disgraced demigod Maui, she will battle impossible odds and terrifying creatures in the open ocean to fulfill an ancient quest and bring her people to a beautiful paradise.
PROSPECTS: Although the Pixar division gets the lion’s share of attention, Disney’s own animated division has been putting out some very nice films of their own as of late.
OBSTACLES: Anyone remember Lilo and Stitch?
FACTOID: Lin-Manuel Miranda, best known for his work for Hamilton, is the composer of the music and co-writer of the songs. Should he win an Oscar here, he will become just the third person ever to win a Pulitzer, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony (joining Marvin Hamlisch and Richard Rodgers).



RELEASE DATE: November 23, 2016
STUDIO: Miramax/Broad Green
STARRING: Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates, Tony Cox, Christina Hendricks, Brett Kelly, Ryan Hansen, Jeff Skowron, Jenny Zigrino
GENRE: Comedy
STORY: Willie Soke returns with his angry sidekick Marcus as the two prepare to knock over a Chicago charity on Christmas Eve. This time they’re joined by Willie’s horror show of a mother.
PROSPECTS: This is as cult film as it gets; the first Bad Santa remains a Christmas favorite for people who don’t particularly like Christmas.
OBSTACLES: It’s been 13 years since the original, and while it did decent box office and had a pretty good home video run, its popularity really hasn’t endured.
FACTOID: Bernie Mac co-starred in the original but has passed away since then; his role was not recast out of respect.


NOVEMBER 4, 2016

HACKSAW RIDGE (Summit) is the story of Desmond Doss, the first conscientious objector who ever received a Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II. LOVING (Focus) is also a true story, this time regarding the interracial marriage of Richard and Mildred Loving which was deemed illegal by the state of Virginia. The couple fought this injustice and took it all the way to the Supreme Court, paving the way for anyone to marry whomever they love regardless of race, creed, color or sexual orientation.

NOVEMBER 11, 2016

ALMOST CHRISTMAS (Universal) is a Christmas comedy about a beloved family patriarch whose wish is for one more Christmas with the entire family together under one roof. However, if this dysfunctional family can manage to make it five days without killing one another it will be a miracle of Biblical proportions. ARRIVAL (Paramount) stars Amy Adams as one of the world’s most expert linguists who is brought in to do the most important work of her career – to help translate for an alien race that has landed in their spacecraft as mankind teeters on the brink of a global war. This is the latest from director Denis Villeneuve who is rapidly becoming one of the best in the business. BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK (TriStar) is director Ang Lee’s latest as an Iraqi War veteran who survived a harrowing battle is brought home temporarily for a victory tour, culminating in a spectacular halftime show for a Thanksgiving Day football game. As the pomp and circumstance unspools, we learn what really happened in Iraq – and how it differs from our own perceptions of the realities of war. ELLE (Sony Classics) which opens in limited release stars Isabelle Huppert as the ruthless CEO of a videogame company whose home invasion assault lands her in a vicious game with the man who attacked her. Also opening in limited release, SEASONS (Music Box) is a documentary about the seasons of the year and their effects on humans – and animals. SHUT IN (EuropaCorp/Relativity) stars Naomi Watts as a widowed child psychologist who lives an isolated, reclusive existence in New England. During a vicious winter storm she must find a way to rescue a young boy before he disappears forever.

NOVEMBER 18, 2016

In THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN (STX) an awkward high school junior with enough self-respect issues to begin with is mortified when her “golden boy” brother starts dating her BFF. Drama, drama, drama! MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (Roadside Attractions/Amazon) which is opening in limited release stars Casey Affleck as a troubled soul who is shocked to discover that when his older brother passes away unexpectedly that he has been made legal guardian of his nephew, forcing him to move back to the quiet Massachusetts fishing village where he grew up.

NOVEMBER 23, 2016

ALLIED (Paramount) comes to us from director Robert Zemeckis and stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard as an Army intelligence officer and a French resistance fighter respectively who fall in love during a mission behind enemy lines and after being reunited in London find the pressures of war tearing them apart. BLEED FOR THIS (Open Road) is the story of boxer Vinny Pazienza, who suffered a broken neck in a car accident. Told he would never fight again, he risks everything to try and get back into the ring. This is opening in limited release on the 11th and then opening wide in time for Thanksgiving. NOCTURNAL ANIMALS (Focus) opens in New York and Los Angeles on the 18th and then in a limited run here and stars Amy Adams as an art gallery owner whose ex-husband writes a novel whose violence and depravity she interprets as a veiled threat against her. Tom Ford directs this from an Austin Wright novel. In RULES DON’T APPLY (20th Century Fox) Warren Beatty stars as the eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes who hires a new driver who in turn falls for a devout Baptist starlet that Hughes takes an interest in.

NOVEMBER 25, 2016

Opening in limited release, LION (Focus) stars Dev Patel as a young man who as a five-year-old wandered on a train and was transported across India to Calcutta where he was discovered wandering in the streets by an Australian couple who adopted him. Years later, armed only with a handful of vague memories and Google Earth he sets out to find his home and true parents and in the process discover who he is. This is based on a true story.


SPECTRE (MGM/Columbia) Budget: $245M. Domestic Gross: $200.1Total: $880.7M Verdict: Hit.
THE PEANUTS MOVIE (20th Century Fox) Budget: $99M. Domestic Gross: $130.2M Total: $246.2M. Verdict: Made Money.
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 2 (Lionsgate) Budget: $160M. Domestic Gross: $281.7M Total: $653.4M Verdict: Big Hit.
THE 33 (Warner Brothers) Budget: $26M. Domestic Gross: $12.2M Total: $24.9M. Verdict: Flop.
TRUMBO (Bleecker Street) Budget: $15M. Domestic Gross: $7.9M Total: $8.2M Verdict: Flop.
CREED (MGM/New Line) Budget: $35M. Domestic Gross: $109.8M Total: $173.67M Verdict: Blockbuster.
BROOKLYN (Fox Searchlight) Budget: $11M Domestic Gross: $38.3M Total: $62.1M Verdict: Big Hit.
THE GOOD DINOSAUR (Disney) Budget: $200M Domestic Gross: $123.1M Total: $332.2M Verdict: Lost Money.
THE NIGHT BEFORE (Columbia) Budget: $25M. Domestic Gross: $43.1M Total: $52.4M Verdict: Broke Even.
VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN (20th Century Fox) Budget: $40M Domestic Gross: $5.8M Total: $34.2M Verdict: Flop.
THE DANISH GIRL (Focus) Budget: $15M Domestic Gross: $11.1M Total: $64.2M Verdict: Big Hit.


The last month of the year is often a profitable one as Hollywood counts on people hitting the multiplex while out Christmas shopping. This year should be no exception as we return to the land of Star Wars for a standalone tale that fills in the blanks for the very first film in the franchise, the cinematic debut of a videogame franchise, a star pairing between Jennifer Laurence and Chris Pratt and a new musical from the director of Whiplash.

Star Wars Rogue One



RELEASE DATE: December 18, 2016
STUDIO: Disney
STARRING: Felicity Jones, Riz Ahmed, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Diego Luna, James Earl Jones, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Warwick Davis, Ben Mendelsohn, Jimmy Smits
GENRE: Science Fiction
STORY: Have you ever wondered how those plans of the Death Star wound up in the hands of the Rebellion? Wonder no more.
PROSPECTS: Well, the Star Wars universe is alive and well after the reboot last year took the world by storm. While there are a few familiar faces here, this is again mostly an all-new cast and is the very first standalone Star Wars film.
OBSTACLES: It’s a new concept for the franchise and…oh, who are we kidding? Expect big box office pretty much no matter what.
FACTOID: Both Smits and Genevieve O’Reilly appeared in Star Wars Episode III: Return of the Jedi as Bail Organa and Mon Mothma, respectively and are reprising those roles here.



RELEASE DATE: December 2, 2016 (New York/LA; opens limited 12/9 and wide 12/16)
STUDIO: Summit
STARRING: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Finn Wittrock, J.K. Simmons, Rosemarie DeWitt, John Legend, Callie Hernandez
GENRE: Musical
STORY: A man and a woman come to Hollywood to find their dreams and instead find each other. However as they also find success, stardom threatens to rip them apart.
PROSPECTS: This is a unique spin on the old-time Hollywood musical by Whiplash director Damien Chazelle. The film has enormous buzz and may be an Oscar contender as his first film was.
OBSTACLES: Musicals have largely been hit and miss at the box office as of late, although they tend to have a better chance of success this time of year.
FACTOID: Stone and Simmons have experience in Spider-Man films; Simmons played J. Jonah Jameson in the original trilogy, Stone played Gwen Stacy in the Amazing-Spider Man films.


RELEASE DATE: December 21, 2016
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox
STARRING: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Michael Kenneth Williams, Brendan Gleeson, Ariane Labed, Callum Turner, Brian Gleeson
GENRE: Adventure
STORY: An executed criminal who has been resurrected discovers he is part of an ancient order of assassins and is sent back in time to occupy the body of an ancestor in order to stop a plot by an oppressive and ruthless order.
PROSPECTS: This is one of the most cinematic of the videogame franchises and the star power of Fassbender and Cotillard should be able to attract some non-gamers into the theaters.
OBSTACLES: “Based on the popular videogame franchise” hasn’t exactly been magic when it’s come to box office.
FACTOID: During the fabrication of a set in Malta, the island was struck by a hurricane and the set damaged, causing a slight delay.


RELEASE DATE: December 21, 2016
STUDIO: Columbia
STARRING: Jennifer Laurence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Aurora Perrineau, Kimberly Batista, Vince Foster
GENRE: Science Fiction
STORY: On a spaceship travelling to a distant planet on a 120-year journey, a malfunction wakes a mechanic a century early. Alone with only robots for company, he impulsively wakes a passenger. They fall in love but soon realize that something is very wrong with their ship.
PROSPECTS: Pratt and Laurence are two of the biggest stars in Hollywood at the moment.
OBSTACLES: There hasn’t been a lot of buzz about this and the studio has been a bit reticent to release a trailer or any footage, not a good sign.
FACTOID: This was originally developed as a star vehicle for Keanu Reeves with Rachel McAdams in the female lead.


RELEASE DATE: December 21, 2016
STUDIO: Universal/Illumination
STARRING THE VOICES OF: Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johansson, Reese Witherspoon, Taron Egerton, Nick Kroll, Leslie Jones, Nick Offerman, Seth MacFarlane, John C. Reilly
GENRE: Animated Feature
STORY: A desperate theater owner decides that the only way to save his struggling venue is to stage a major singing competition, which attracts other desperate sorts trying to seize a chance at a better life.
PROSPECTS: Illumination has released some of the most successful animated features of the last five years. The trailer is absolutely charming.
OBSTACLES: The fourth movie this year with anthropomorphic animals which might have worn out its welcome.
FACTOID: The first animation that MacFarlane has voiced that he didn’t have creative input for.



RELEASE DATE: December 21, 2016
STUDIO: STX Entertainment
STARRING: Asa Butterfield, Gary Oldman, Britt Robertson, Carla Gugino, BD Wong, Janet Montgomery, Colin Egglesfield
GENRE: Science Fiction
STORY: The first human to be born on Mars comes to Earth to discover who his father is, but finds that he can only live a short time on Earth.
PROSPECTS: A pretty decent cast and a solid premise will attract at least a little bit of attention.
OBSTACLES: Has more of a young adult romance novel feel more than science fiction which might put off sci-fi fans.
FACTOID: The first movie to film at New Mexico’s Spaceport USA.


DECEMBER 2, 2016

INCARNATE (High Top), opening in limited release, stars Aaron Eckhart as an exorcist confronted by the demons of his past – literally. In KEEP WATCHING (Screen Gems) two serial killers break into a family’s home, which is unbeknownst to them filled with hidden cameras documenting their every move. KIDNAP (Relativity) stars Halle Berry as a desperate mother willing to go to any extreme to get back her kidnapped son. MAN DOWN (Lionsgate) is about a war veteran trying to come to grips with his past and his present in a post-apocalyptic landscape.

DECEMBER 9, 2016

THE BYE-BYE MAN (STX Entertainment) is a horror film about an evil entity that possesses you when you think about his name – and then forces you to do unspeakable horrors. MISS SLOANE (EuropaCorp/Relativity) is about a ruthless lobbyist who will do anything it takes to win, even if it means hurting the ones she loves most. OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY (Paramount) features an all-star cast and is about a branch office that puts on an epic Christmas party in order to impress a would-be client and save all their jobs.

DECEMBER 16, 2016

COLLATERAL BEAUTY (New Line) stars Will Smith as an advertising executive who retreats from life after a profound tragedy. His colleagues devise a drastic plan to force him to confront his grief and return to the land of the living. Denzel Washington stars in FENCES (Paramount) as an African-American father trying to raise his family in the 1950s; the movie opens in limited release and gets a wide release on Christmas day. THE FOUNDER (Weinstein) is the story of Ray Kroc, a salesman who saw the potential in a regional restaurant chain and decides to take it national, trampling on the original founders of the restaurant whose name it bears; McDonalds. The movie is getting a limited Oscar qualification run before opening wide on January 20th..

DECEMBER 21, 2016

JULIETA (Sony Classics) opening in limited release is master Spanish director Pedro Almodovar’s latest and is about a mother’s struggle to survive the uncertainty of parenthood. PATRIOT’S DAY (CBS) chronicles the events of the Boston Marathon bombing; it gets an Oscar qualifying run in New York and Los Angeles (also opening in Boston) before going to a wide release on January 13th.

DECEMBER 23, 2016

A MONSTER CALLS (Focus) is about a grieving little boy’s retreat into a world of the fantastic and how it teaches him to deal with faith, loss and love. Liam Neeson stars as the monster. The film is getting an Oscar qualifying run before opening everywhere on January 6th,

DECEMBER 25, 2016

GOLD (Dimension) stars Matthew McConaughey as a modern day prospector searching for his fortune in the jungles of Indonesia; the movie is opening in limited release. Also opening in limited release, TONI ERDMANN (Sony Classics) is a German comedy about a practical joker of a father trying to get the attention of his corporate daughter. WHY HIM? (20th Century Fox) features Bryan Cranston as a straight-laced dad whose daughter falls for a socially awkward Silicon Valley billionaire (James Franco) whom he despises.


STAR WARS EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS (Disney) Budget: $245M. Domestic Gross: $936.7M Total: $2.01B Verdict: Blockbuster.
IN THE HEART OF THE SEA (Warner Brothers) Budget: $100M. Domestic Gross: $25.0M Total: $93.9 Verdict: Flop
SISTERS (Universal) Budget: $30M. Domestic Gross: $87.0M Total: $105.0M Verdict: Hit.
CONCUSSION (Columbia) Budget: $35M. Domestic Gross: $34.5M Total: $48.6M Verdict: Lost Money.
JOY (20th Century Fox) Budget: $60M. Domestic Gross: $56.5M Total: $101.1M Verdict: Lost Money.
MACBETH (Weinstein) Budget: $20M. Domestic Gross: $1.1M Total: $16.3M Verdict: Flop.
KRAMPUS (Universal) Budget: $15M. Domestic Gross: $42.7M Total: $61.6M Verdict: Big Hit.
DADDY’S HOME (Paramount) Budget: $69M. Domestic Gross: $150.4M Total: $240.4M Verdict: Blockbuster.
THE HATEFUL EIGHT (Weinstein) Budget: $44M. Domestic Gross: $54.1M Total: $155.8M Verdict: Hit.
THE REVENANT (20th Century Fox) Budget: $135M. Domestic Gross: $183.6M Total: $533.0M Verdict: Big Hit.
ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: ROAD CHIP (20th Century Fox) Budget: $90M. Domestic Gross: $85.9M Total: $234.8M Verdict: Made Money.
POINT BREAK (Warner Brothers) Budget: $105M. Domestic Gross: $28.8M Total: $133.7M Verdict: Lost Money.
YOUTH (Fox Searchlight) Budget: $13M. Domestic Gross: $2.7M Total: $24.0M Verdict: Lost Money.

Well, that will bring the movie release schedule for 2016 to a close. As always, there will be changes but most of the big ticket items are pretty much set where they are. As you can see there’s a lot of variety to choose from and a lot of great movies to look forward to. 2017 is going to be another engaging year as well with some long-awaited sequels and series installments. A number of movies originally scheduled for 2016 will be making their appearance in 2017 but we’ll get into all that – in our 2017 preview post which should be available at the end of December. In the meantime, we at Cinema365 hope you enjoyed our preview for the upcoming fall and holiday movies and hope you found a few here that have whet your appetite for the multiplex. We’ll see you there – don’t forget to bring the popcorn and soda!


2016 Summer Movie Preview

2016 Summer PreviewAfter a record-breaking summer blockbuster season last year, most pundits agree that this year will be a little bit less dramatic, although there will be plenty of movies that will likely earn north of $200M and a few that have a good shot to go better than $300M. With alternative viewing methods – online streaming, video-on-demand and other services competing with the traditional multiplex for audiences, things will continue to change as Hollywood goes kicking and screaming into the next decade.

Likely studio accountants are going to remember with some nostalgia big budget winners like Jurassic World which dominated the summer box office in 2015; Mad Max: Fury Road which not only did bang-up business but also ended up with several Oscar nominations (and wins, albeit for the technical end). Avengers: Age of Ultron was slightly disappointing from a critical standpoint but also from the box office, while Inside Out won the family film box office derby this past summer.

Superhero movies will continue to be the 900 lb gorilla of the box office, with Captain America: Civil War opening to great hype (and the introduction of new heroes not to mention the first appearance of fan favorite Spider-Man in the MCU) and the final installation in the most recent trilogy of mutant mania X-Men: Apocalypse representing the House of Ideas, while Suicide Squad continues the rolling out of the DC Cinematic Universe.

Sequels tend to play a major role in the summer line-up and things are no different this year with the aforementioned Captain America: Civil War, Star Trek Beyond, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, X-Men: Apocalypse, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Darkness, The Conjuring 2, Now You See Me 2, Finding Dory, Independence Day: Resurgence, The Purge: Election Year, Ice Age: Collision Course, Jason Bourne and Mechanic Resurrection. There will also be a fair share of reboots and remakes including Ghostbusters, Absolutely Fabulous, The Legend of Tarzan, Ben-Hur and Pete’s Dragon.

There are always films decked to tickle your funny bone and 2016 has a few in store for us, including  Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Central Intelligence, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Ghostbusters, Bad Moms, Sausage Party and War Dogs. If its scares you’re after, look no further than The Conjuring 2, Don’t Breathe, The Darkness, Ghostbusters, Lights Out and Spectral. There will be plenty of sci-fi and fantasy goodness on the summer schedule including Star Trek Beyond, Independence Day: Resurgence, Warcraft, Equals and The Space Between Us while the action quotient will be amped up with such fare as The Nice Guys, Captain America: Civil War, Kidnap, Central Intelligence, The Legend of Tarzan, The Purge: Election Year, Jason Bourne, Suicide Squad, Ben-Hur and Mechanic: Resurrection. Last year was a good year for family films and this year has an impressive slate including Finding Dory, Alice Through the Looking Glass, The BFG, Kubo and the Two Strings, Ice Age: Collision Course, The Angry Birds Movie, Pete’s Dragon and The Secret Life of Pets. There will also be enough drama for everyone as you can check out Money Monster, Free State of Jones, Me Before You, Equity and The Founder.

There’s no better time for star-gazing than the summer and the stars will truly be out again in force this year with Kevin Hart, Melissa McCarthy, Johnny Depp, Will Smith, Robert Redford, Woody Harrelson, Robert Downey Jr., Michael Caine, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Patrick Wilson, Chris Hemsworth, Ellen de Generes, Benedict Cumberbatch, Seth Rogen, Chris Pine, Anne Hathaway, Margot Robbie, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Sudeikis, Ray Romano, Matthew McConaughey, Jeff Goldblum, Oscar Isaac, Blake Lively, Christoph Waltz, Teresa Palmer, George Clooney, Jason Statham, Russell Crowe, Chris Evans, Kevin Bacon, Samuel L. Jackson, Daniel Radcliffe, Keanu Reeves, Bill Hader, Louis C.K., Zac Efron, Mark Rylance, Kristen Wiig, Simon Pegg, Ryan Gosling, Jennifer Lopez, Aubrey Plaza, Vera Farmiga, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Lawrence, Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, Bill Murray, Mila Kunis, Anthony Mackey, Michael Keaton, Chloe Grace Moretz, Mia Wasikowska, Andy Samberg, Sam Claflin, Megan Fox , Jesse Eisenberg, Vivica A. Fox, Kristen Stewart, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Anna Kendrick, Alicia Vikander, Jeremy Renner, Jared Leto, Michelle Yeoh, Bryce Dallas Howard, Asa Butterfield, Nicholas Hoult and James McAvoy

While this probably won’t be the record-setting year that Hollywood enjoyed in 2015, there are still plenty of movies on that list that are bound to fill the cool air-conditioned multiplex on a hot summer day. So why not get to the meat and potatoes of this she-bang – let’s get to previewing!


As always, the summer movie season goes big to start off the year as not one but two Marvel superhero movies bookend the month. Also, we can expect a return to a classic magical land, a massively possible video game turned animated feature and a comedy in which a suburban couple finds that the people next door go from bad to worse.

Captain America Civil War



RELEASE DATE: May 6, 2016
STUDIO: Disney/Marvel
GENRE: Superhero
STARRING: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, William Hurt, Chadwick Boseman, Sebastian Stan, Jeremy Renner
STORY: Given the collateral damage that results in the Avengers efforts to save humanity from aliens and robots, it was inevitable that there’d be some push back. With government oversight proposed for all superheroes, the new hero registration laws fracture the Avengers into two camps; one led by Captain America preferring the Avengers be free to protect humanity as needed, the other led by Iron Man welcoming regulations and restrictions. Something has to give.
PROSPECTS: Phase III of the Marvel Cinematic Universe kicks off with a bang and it couldn’t be in better hands. The Russo Brothers last time up directed what many consider to be the best film in the franchise so far: Captain America: The Winter Soldier and their experiences here will allow them to take over the Avengers series more effectively from Joss Wheden.
OBSTACLES: The Avengers: Age of Ultron was disappointing albeit successful, both from a critical and box office standpoint. Could it be that Mighty Marvel has oversaturated the market?
FACTOID: This is the thirteenth official film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.



RELEASE DATE: May 20, 2016
STUDIO: Columbia
GENRE: Animated Feature
STARRING THE VOICES OF: Jason Sudeikis, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage, Kate McKinnon, Keegan-Michael Key, Josh Gad, Maya Rudolph, Danny McBride
STORY: An island of flightless but happy birds is visited by mysterious green pigs. It is up to a trio of outsiders to find out what the porcine invaders are up to.
PROSPECTS: One of the most popular mobile games of all time, the characters seem ready made for animated franchise-dom.
OBSTACLES: Features based on video games have traditionally not fared well.
FACTOID: The Angry Birds game has been downloaded more than a billion times since 2009.


RELEASE DATE: May 20, 2016
STUDIO: Universal
GENRE: Comedy
STARRING: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Chloe Grace Moretz, Rose Byrne, Selena Gomez, Dave Franco, Lisa Kudrow, Ike Bairnholz
STORY: Having weathered the fraternity next door, the Radners are getting ready to grow their family by one more, which will require a move to the suburbs. However, now they have a new neighbor that will make that impossible – a sorority full of girls out to prove they can be just as raunchy and badass as the boys.
PROSPECTS: The first Neighbors was a surprise hit and big comedies make excellent counterprogramming to big budget blockbusters that usually lead off the summer.
OBSTACLES: Might not have the star power to hang with other movies in the highly competitive May line-up.
FACTOID: Rogen’s first live-action sequel.


RELEASE DATE: May 27, 2016
STUDIO: Disney
GENRE: Fantasy
STARRING: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Rhys Ifans, Sacha Baron Cohen, Alan Rickman (voice), Michael Sheen
STORY: Alice discovers a magic mirror that allows her to return to Underland, only to discover that things have changed drastically since her last visit. The Mad Hatter is not himself any longer, his Muchness having disappeared. Alice goes on a desperate quest to save her friend, involving the use of a Chronsphere which will allow her to see her friends – and enemies – at different points of their lives.
PROSPECTS: Back in 2010 this was a huge hit for Disney and given the eye candy in the trailer and that much of the original cast has returned, there’s no reason to believe this won’t be too.
OBSTACLES: Tim Burton is only on board as a producer this time around and the competition might be a little too much to overcome.
FACTOID: Alan Rickman’s final film although he doesn’t appear onscreen; he passed away four months after shooting was completed.


RELEASE DATE: May 27, 2016
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox
STARRING: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Rose Byrne, Olivia Munn
STORY: The most powerful mutant in history has awakened and he doesn’t like what he sees. Determined to re-make the world in his own image he stirs up a war between mutants with only Professor Xavier’s X-Men standing in the way of a massacre of global proportions.
PROSPECTS: The latest X-Men trilogy has been both a critical and commercial success. The comic book Apocalypse storyline is one of the most successful in the history of that storied franchise.
OBSTACLES: As always, oversaturation of comic book movies.
FACTOID: The movie will take place in 1983, making this the third straight X-Men film that takes place in a different decade.



RELEASE DATE: May 20, 2016
STUDIO: Sony Classics
GENRE: Dramedy
STARRING: Greta Gerwig, Travis Fimmel, Julianne Moore, Ethan Hawke, Bill Hader, Wallace Shawn, Maya Rudolph, Kathleen Hanna
STORY: A young girl’s determination to have a baby on her own changed drastically when she falls in love with a married man, compromising his marriage.
PROSPECTS: Stellar cast including indie darling Gerwig should make this an indie standout.
OBSTACLES: Sounds like another typical Gerwig role, which her audiences may be tiring of.
FACTOID: This is director Rebecca Miller’s first film since 2009’s The Private Lives of Pippa Lee.


May 6, 2016

A BIGGER SPLASH (Fox Searchlight) stars Tilda Swinton as an international rock star recuperating on a Mediterranean island with her partner when their reverie is interrupted by the arrival than a larger-than-life producer (who happens to be an ex-lover of the rock star) and his daughter as nostalgia and desire threaten the relationship of the rock star and her man. This is opening up in limited release. Also opening in limited release is DARK HORSE (Sony Classics), a documentary about a group a group of working class blokes who decide to buy themselves a racehorse, entering a realm which has almost exclusively belonged to the very wealthy up until now.

May 13, 2016

THE DARKNESS (High Top/Blumhouse) stars Kevin Bacon and Radha Mitchell as the parents in a family just returning home from a family vacation to the Grand Canyon with an unwanted souvenir – a mysterious demonic force that preys on their darkest fears. HIGH-RISE (A24) is the first of three Florida Film Festival features debuting this week; this limited release, based on a J.G. Ballard novel, the residents of a luxury high rise find their social order breaking down as flaws in the building’s design and numerous power outages show that their high end dwelling may not be so high end after all. KIDNAP (Relativity) features Halle Berry as a mother whose son is kidnapped. As the situation grows more desperate, she mounts a rescue operation that proves that the worst possible thing you can do is come between a mother and her child. LAST DAYS IN THE DESERT (Broad Green) is a reimagined version of the encounter between Jesus and the Devil in the desert; Ewan McGregor plays both roles in this limited release. THE LOBSTER (A24) which was the opening night film at this year’s FFF, stars Colin Farrell as a man recently dumped by his wife who must now find a true love within 45 days or be turned into an animal and be released into the wild; this has been a hit on the festival circuit having won several prestigious awards. LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP (Roadside Attractions) which opens in limited release (and was also featured at this year’s Florida Film Festival) has a beautiful young widow of the titled class trying to find a husband for herself to ensure her daughter’s future, but runs into complications when she attracts the attention of several young men whose eligibility varies greatly.

May 20, 2016

Opening in limited release, HARD SELL (Momentum) is a teen dramedy about a high school student, struggling to help his ailing dog and his long-suffering mother who forms an unexpected friendship with a runaway. THE NICE GUYS (Warner Brothers) is a Shane Black-directed mystery/comedy set in the ‘70s starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling as an enforcer and a detective respectively teaming up to find a missing girl who may have witnessed a mob hit.

May 27, 2016

PRESENTING PRINCESS SHAW (Magnolia), another entry at this year’s Florida Film Festival, is a documentary opening in limited release about a YouTube wanna-be sensation whose secret admirer all the way from Israel may turn her story into a happy ending after all.


A look back at how last year’s previewed movies did at the box office. The budgets and box office numbers are courtesy of Box Office Mojo. My verdicts are based on the typical studio formula that for a movie to break even it must make twice its production budget; any movie that achieves that will be labeled as profitable. I define hit movies as those that make three times the production budget and blockbusters as anything that makes $200 million in domestic box office or more, or made five times the production budget with a minimum of $100 million in domestic box office. The first four movies listed are the five main previewed items; I’ve also chosen a selection of other major releases that made the preview issue as well.

THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (Disney/Marvel) Budget: $250 Million. Domestic Gross: $459.0M Total: $1.405B. Verdict: Blockbuster.
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (Warner Brothers) Budget: $150M. Domestic Gross: $153.6M Total: $378.4M Verdict: Made Money.
TOMORROWLAND (Disney) Budget: $190M. Domestic Gross: $93.4M Total: $209.0M Verdict: Lost Money.
SAN ANDREAS (New Line) Budget: $110M. Domestic Gross: $155.2M Total: $473.8M Verdict: Big Hit.
FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD (Fox Searchlight) Budget: N/A. Domestic Gross: $12.2M Total: $30.2M. Verdict: Likely Hit
PITCH PERFECT 2 (Universal) Budget: $29M. Domestic Gross: $184.3M Total: $287.5M Verdict: Blockbuster
ALOHA (Columbia) Budget: $37M. Domestic Gross: $21.1M Total: $26.3M Verdict: Flop.
POLTERGEIST (MGM/Fox) Budget: $35M. Domestic Gross: $47.4M Total: $95.4M Verdict: Made Money.
HOT PURSUIT (New Line) Budget: $35M. Domestic Gross: $34.6M Total: $51.7 Verdict: Lost Money.
SLOW WEST (A24) Budget: N/A. Domestic Gross: $229,094 Total: $229,094. Verdict: Likely Lost Money.


Now that school is out and the May blockbusters are dominating the box office, in come the June contenders to make their own golden impressions. A new Pixar film bringing one of their beloved characters back, one of the most successful videogame franchises gets a live action cinematic go, the return of one of the most iconic alien invasion films of all time in a sequel three decades after the fact, an spy comedy teaming one of the hottest comedians in the world with one of the most popular action stars and the sequel to a hit supernatural horror film..

Finding Dory



RELEASE DATE: June 17, 2016
STUDIO: Disney*Pixar
GENRE: Animated Feature
STARRING THE VOICES OF: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Diane Keaton, Idris Elba, Bill Hader, Michael Sheen, Dominic West, Ed O’Neill, Eugene Levy, Ty Burrell
STORY: Dory, the forgetful Angelfish who aided Marlin in his quest to find his son Nemo, suddenly has remembered something – that she has a family. Nemo and Marlin are determined to help her find her family again, but a long and dangerous journey awaits them if Dory is to reunite with her family.
PROSPECTS: One of Pixar’s all-time most popular films is finally getting a sequel, particularly since DeGeneres has been publicly lobbying for one for years. With DeGeneres pimping the movie on her insanely popular daytime talk show, plus the built-in audience any Pixar film has with families anyway this should be the runaway family film box office champ this summer.
OBSTACLES: Many of the target audience for the movie were not even born when Finding Nemo was released and those that loved it may have grown out of animated features by now.
FACTOID: This is the third Disney film this year to have Idris Elba supplying his voice without appearing onscreen.



RELEASE DATE: June 10, 2016
STUDIO: New Line
GENRE: Horror
STARRING: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Franka Potente, Frances O’Connor, David Thewlis, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Javier Botet, Sterling Jerins, Simon McBurney
STORY: The sequel to the blockbuster horror hit finds Ed and Lorraine Warren traveling to England to take on a supernatural threat that has put a single mum and her four children at risk.
PROSPECTS: The Conjuring was one of the most critically acclaimed horror hits of recent years, having already spawned a spin-off franchise. .
OBSTACLES: Horror films seem to do better at the end of the summer rather than at its beginning. The original was also released in October, a time more conducive to scary movies.
FACTOID: Director James Wan turned down a ton of money to direct Furious 8 in order to return to his horror roots.


RELEASE DATE: June 10, 2016
STUDIO: Universal/Legendary
GENRE: Fantasy
STARRING: Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Clancy Brown, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Ruth Negga, Callum Keith Rennie
STORY: An ancient evil threatens the peace of a world filled with magic and monsters. In order to save their race, the Orcs must seek the help of their hated enemy the humans. But will it be enough?
PROSPECTS: One of the most popular videogames of all time hits the big screen in all its glory. Worlds of Warcraft has millions of players around the world addicted to their game. Director Duncan Jones is a genuine talent who might make that big splash everyone has been expecting here.
OBSTACLES: Videogames have, with rare exceptions, tanked both critically and commercially. The trailer didn’t make me any more hopeful that this would be one of those exceptions.
FACTOID: The movie was originally set to be released this past December but was moved to avoid competition with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.


RELEASE DATE: June 17, 2016
STUDIO: New Line
GENRE: Action Comedy
STARRING: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Aaron Paul, Amy Ryan, Megan Park, Danielle Nicolet, Slaine, Ryan Hansen, Brett Azar
STORY: A mild-mannered accountant, missing the glory years of his “BMOC” days in high school, meets up with the most bullied boy in school – who is now a hunk who claims to be a spy. Quite against his will, the accountant gets drawn into the dangerous world of espionage by a man who may or may not be completely insane.
PROSPECTS: This is the kind of movie that tends to do well in the summer. Hart is the hottest comic actor on in Hollywood and Johnson one of the hottest action stars. The trailer got a ton of laughs.
OBSTACLES: Buddy cop movies have been on the downswing and the spy market has been oversaturated lately.
FACTOID: Johnson is exactly a foot taller than Hart.


RELEASE DATE: June 24, 2016
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox
GENRE: Science Fiction
STARRING: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox, Sela Ward, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Maika Monroe, Joey King
STORY: The war of 1996 was won and while heroes have fallen, the technology that was looted from the alien invaders was supposed to protect the planet. Now 20 years later, they’ve come back and if we’ve had 20 years to prepare, so have they…
PROSPECTS: One of the most beloved films of the 90s, this sci-fi action epic really set the bar for alien invasion films for the 20 intervening years.
OBSTACLES: 20 years is a long time between films and since this originally came out, alien invasion movies have fallen out of favor.
FACTOID: This is the first sequel that director Roland Emmerich has made.



RELEASE DATE: June 24, 2016
STUDIO: STX Entertainment
GENRE: Historical Drama
STARRING: Matthew McConaughey, Keri Russell, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mahershala Ali, Sean Bridgers, Jacob Lofland, Christopher Berry
STORY: During the Civil War, Confederate deserters, no longer wishing to fight so that slave owners could remain wealthy, returned to Jones County in Mississippi to create a slavery-free state, seceding from the Confederacy. And yes, this actually happened.
PROSPECTS: McConaughey is one of the biggest stars extant, having been on a roll lately.
OBSTACLES: This isn’t what you’d call a high-profile project and Civil War films as of late haven’t been very popular..
FACTOID: One of the extras in the film is a descendant of the main character in the story.


June 3, 2016

In ME BEFORE YOU (Warner Brothers) a plucky young English woman takes a job as caregiver to a wealthy man who has given up on life; her infectious attitude changes his mind – and his heart. POPSTAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING (Universal) comes to us from the maniacs at The Lonely Island, the acclaimed Internet comedy source. A humongously popular rapper sees his sophomore album tank, leaving everyone around him wondering what they’re going to do now that they’ve hitched their wagon to a man who is no longer the Dopest Star in Rap. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS (Paramount) is the sequel to the Michael Bay-produced reboot of the seminal comic book adaptation and brings to the screen villains and characters from the book that have never had live action versions before.

June 10, 2016

GENIUS (Roadside Attractions) which opens is set during one of the most exciting periods in the history of literature. It details the relationship between Editor Max Perkins and his mercurial but undoubted genius client Thomas Wolfe. Colin Firth and Jude Law play the two protagonists, respectively. NOW YOU SEE ME 2 (Summit) reunites Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Dave Franco (with Lizzy Caplan subbing for Isla Fisher) as the Four Horsemen, magicians and con-men who are facing a tech magnate who is holding one of their most dangerous secrets over their heads; it is up to them to turn the tables and find out who is really behind their dilemma.

June 17, 2016

CLOWN (Dimension) is a horror film about a devoted father who puts on a clown costume to entertain his son when the clown they hired for his birthday party is a no-show. But when the father is unable to remove the costume, he realizes that what he has donned is demonic…and it is changing him slowly into a creature that threatens the lives of those he loves most. SWISS ARMY MAN (A24) is a strange and magical film starring Paul Dano as a man marooned on an island who finds the body of Daniel Radcliffe washed up to shore. The corpse proves to be more lively than most and takes the castaway on a fantastic journey that looks like it could well be the most imaginative movie of the summer.

June 24, 2016

Opening in limited release, EAT THAT QUESTION: FRANK ZAPPA IN HIS OWN WORDS (Sony Classics) utilizes archival footage, rare performance video and rarely seen interviews to allow one of the most eclectic and influential musicians of his time tell his own story. THE SHALLOWS (Columbia) stars Blake Lively as a surfer who gets stranded on a shallow sandbar 200 yards from shore by a great white shark.


JURASSIC WORLD (Universal) Budget: $150 Million. Domestic Gross: $652.3M Total: $1.7 Billion. Verdict: Blockbuster.
INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 3 (Focus) Budget: $10M. Domestic Gross: $52.2M Total: $113.0M. Verdict: Big Hit.
INSIDE OUT (Disney*Pixar) Budget: $175M. Domestic Gross: $356.5M Total: $856.8M Verdict: Big Hit.
TED 2 (Universal) Budget: $68M. Domestic Gross: $81.5M Total: $216.7M Verdict: Made Money.
LOVE AND MERCY (Roadside Attractions) Budget: N/A. Domestic Gross: $12.6M Total: $28.6M Verdict: Likely Hit.
DOPE (Open Road) Budget: $7M. Domestic Gross: $17.5M Total: $18.0M Verdict: Made Money.
ENTOURAGE (Warner Brothers) Budget: $30M. Domestic Gross: $32.4M Total: $49.3M Verdict: Lost Money.
SPY (20th Century Fox) Budget: $65M. Domestic Gross: $110.8M Total: $235.7M Verdict: Hit.
MAX (Warner Brothers) Budget: $20M. Domestic Gross: $42.7M Total: $44.0M Verdict: Made Money.
ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL (Fox Searchlight) Budget: $8M. Domestic Gross: $6.8M Total: $9.1M Verdict: Lost Money.
INFINITELY POLAR BEAR (Sony Classics) Budget: $6.7M. Domestic Gross: $1.4M Total: $1.4M Verdict: Flop.


The summer continues to heat up as one of the most iconic movies of the 80s is rebooted, popular sci-fi and spy film franchises are continued, a beloved children’s book is brought to life by Steven Spielberg, one of the most iconic pulp fiction characters returns to the big screen and a recent franchise with political overtones adds another installment to its thus-far successful run.




RELEASE DATE: July 15, 2016
STUDIO: Columbia
GENRE: Horror Comedy
STARRING: Melissa McCarthy, Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Wiig, Bill Murray, Kate McKinnon, Sigourney Weaver, Elizabeth Perkins, Andy Garcia, Charles Dance
STORY: A trio of paranormal scientists is investigating an upsurge in paranormal activity in New York City. They discover that someone has developed a machine that amplifies paranormal energy. So who ya gonna call?
PROSPECTS: Some of the most popular comic actors in the business are involved, as well as the director of some of McCarthy’s biggest hits (including last summer’s Spy). This is one of the most beloved movies of its era and resonates with a very large segment of the public.
OBSTACLES: Going with an all-female Ghostbusters team has outraged some of the fanboys, which might be counted as a good thing. Also, the original is over 32 years old, which is a very long time for a continuation.
FACTOID: In Ghostbusters II a psychic predicted the world would end on February 14, 2016. Fortunately, it didn’t, allowing the sequel (although it is being pitched as a reboot) to be released five months and a day afterwards.



RELEASE DATE: July 1, 2016
STUDIO: Warner Brothers
GENRE: Adventure
STARRING: Margot Robbie, Alexander Skarsgård, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Ella Purnell, John Hurt, Djimon Hounsou, Jim Broadbent
STORY: Years after ruling the jungle as Tarzan, he has returned to England to live as Lord John Greystoke with his wife Jane. However, the machinations of an enemy bring him back to Africa, and when the murderous plot is revealed, those behind it don’t realize they’ve unleashed the Lord of the Jungle.
PROSPECTS: Tarzan is a timeless hero, known to virtually everyone. His exploits bring back a much simpler time to mind.
OBSTACLES: This kind of pulp hero has largely fallen out of favor. A big budget movie might not necessarily be the way to kickstart the genre.
FACTOID: This is the last film produced by Jerry Weintraub who passed away last July.


RELEASE DATE: July 8, 2016
STUDIO: Universal
GENRE: Animated Feature
STARRING THE VOICES OF: Louis C.K., Kevin Hart, Albert Brooks, Lake Bell, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Eric Stonestreet, Hannibal Buress, Dana Carvey, Steve Coogan
STORY: Max, a terrier certain that he is the apple of his owner’s eye, is disconcerted when she brings home Duke, a big sloppy mess of a dog. The two don’t get along well but when they find themselves alone on the streets of New York and the only two able to thwart the plans of a mad rabbit to unite ex-pets against humanity, they’ll have to work together…or miss supper.
PROSPECTS: From the same humans who made Despicable Me, Universal has been pimping the heck out of this as the summer’s potential biggest non-Pixar hit.
OBSTACLES: Comes out only three weeks after Finding Dory so there may be some overlap. Also this doesn’t have any familiar characters in it which makes it a tougher sell to the kiddies.
FACTOID: The song played on the stereo by the white poodle in the trailer is “Bounce” by System of a Down.


RELEASE DATE: July 22, 2016
STUDIO: Paramount
GENRE: Science Fiction
STARRING: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Idris Elba, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Sofia Boutella, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Deep Roy
STORY: Kirk and the U.S.S. Enterprise are attacked by a strange swarm of fighter ships, destroying their starship and marooning them on a desolate world. At least, that’s what the trailer hints at – for the moment there has been no plot details released.
PROSPECTS: The reboot of the series has been one of the most successful ever and the powers-that-be at Paramount have made sure not to oversaturate the market with TV shows and other Trek product (although a TV show is on the way this fall).
OBSTACLES: Director J.J. Abrams has moved on to that “other” science fiction franchise, leaving the franchise in the hands of someone more known for earthbound action films. There has been some whispers that Paramount isn’t entirely happy with the film and gave it no push whatsoever at the recent CinemaCon for theater owners.
FACTOID: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the franchise.


RELEASE DATE: July 29, 2016
STUDIO: Universal
GENRE: Spy Action
STARRING: Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel, Riz Ahmed, Ato Essandoh
STORY: The worst possible thing has happened; Jason Bourne has begun to remember his past. Fearing the worst, the powers that be want to take him out but as we all know that’s no easy task.
PROSPECTS: The Bourne franchise has redefined the espionage genre for the 21st century. With Paul Greengrass and Damon back aboard, there should be plenty of firepower for box office gold.
OBSTACLES: It has been almost ten years since the last Bourne movie with Damon and the younger audience may not be as excited for him to come back.
FACTOID: It was assumed that the title was going to be The Bourne Betrayal following the books in the John Le Carre series but when the teaser trailer was released the title had been changed.



RELEASE DATE: July 29, 2016
STUDIO: Sony Classics
GENRE: Drama
STARRING: Anna Gunn, James Purefoy, Sarah Megan Thomas, Alysia Reiner, Craig Bierko, Margaret Colin, Nate Corddry, Nick Gehlfuss, Carrie Preston
STORY: A woman in the very male world of investment banking gets caught up in a controversial IPO in which ethical violations may have occurred. As betrayal and deception begin to cause her world to unravel, she begins to question her ambitions in this taut drama.
PROSPECTS: A very rare view of women in high finance, a viewpoint rarely seen in the movies.
OBSTACLES: Traditionally, movies depicting finance rarely do well (with a few exceptions) at the box office.
FACTOID: This is the first ever female-driven Wall Street film.


July 1, 2016

BUDDYMOON (Gravitas), opening in limited release, stars Grimm’s David Giuntoli as a man left at the altar. His German friend Flula Borg convinces him to take the honeymoon/camping trip he’d already paid for and as both of them are thoroughly unsuited for the wilderness, makes for an interesting week. This played at the 2016 Florida Film Festival. THE BFG (Disney) is a live action version of a beloved children’s book directed by none other than Steven Spielberg. In the classic Roald Dahl tale, a young English girl is befriended by a gentle giant and taken to the Land of Giants. EQUALS (A24) is a sci-fi film starring Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult as a couple, in a dystopian future in which emotion has been genetically engineered out of the human race, suddenly falls in love. OUR KIND OF TRAITOR (Roadside Attractions) which opens in limited release, is an adaptation of a John Le Carre novel about an English couple, vacationing in Antigua, who get involved with a Russian mobster looking to defect. THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR (Universal) is the third installment in the franchise, with this time a Senator and her bodyguard forced onto the streets on Purge night trying to survive not only the usual array of unholy terrors but also being the targets of a government that wants to stop her from convincing the public and Congress to bring the Purge itself to an end.

July 8, 2016

Opening in limited release, CAPTAIN FANTASTIC (Bleecker Street) stars Viggo Mortensen as a father who has raised his six kids in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, but is forced to bring them into the “real world,” with not always predictable consequences. In MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES (20th Century Fox), Zac Efron and Adam DeVine play a couple of brothers who always, in their exuberance, ruin every family get-together. With their sister about to get married, their father orders them to bring dates who will calm down their outrageous tendencies; however, the girls they do bring (Aubrey Plaza, Anna Kendrick) are, unbeknownst to themselves, every bit as wild as themselves. OUR LITTLE SISTER (Sony Classics) which opens in limited release is a Japanese film about three sisters who, traveling to their estranged father’s funeral in the countryside, meet their shy half-sister and impulsively invite her to live with them.

July 15, 2016

THE INFILTRATOR (Broad Green) stars Bryan Cranston in the true story of the undercover drug enforcement agent who went deep undercover in Pablo Escobar’s cartel and facilitated the largest drug bust in U.S. history. PHANTOM BOY (GKIDS), which played at the Florida Film Festival, is about a young boy with powers who helps a skeptical detective solve a big case. This animated feature is opening in limited release.

July 22, 2016

ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE (Fox Searchlight) brings the cast of the hit British sitcom to the silver screen in limited release. Just remember: no smoking in the theater. In ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE (20th Century Fox) Skrat’s obsessive quest for the elusive acorn sends a large chunk of space rock headed directly for Earth, which means that Manny and his friends will have to find a new home. INTO THE FOREST (A24) is the story of two sisters struggling to survive after the collapse of society. Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood both star. LIGHTS OUT (New Line) is about a woman whose visions after dark threatened her sanity as a girl, but she returns home when her younger brother starts seeing the same things – which may not be hallucinations.

July 29, 2016

In BAD MOMS (STX) a mom who is all about her family gets pushed beyond the breaking point and decides to teach the Alpha moms, her high-maintenance kids, her milquetoast husband and his idiot of a boss a lesson. INDIGNATION (Roadside Attractions), opening in limited release, stars Logan Lerman as a young man in 1951 who goes to a conservative college in Ohio and encounters Antisemitism and sexual repression.


ANT-MAN (Disney/Marvel) Budget: $130M. Domestic Gross: $180.2M Total: $519.5M. Verdict: Big Hit.
TERMINATOR: GENISYS (Paramount) Budget: $155M. Domestic Gross: $89.8M Total: $440.6M Verdict: Hit.
MAGIC MIKE XXL (Warner Brothers) Budget: $14.8M. Domestic Gross: $66.0M Total: $122.5M Verdict: Big Hit,
MINIONS (Universal) Budget: $74M. Domestic Gross: $336.1M Total: $1.2B Verdict: Blockbuster.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION (Paramount) Budget: $150M. Domestic Gross: $195.0M Total: $682.3M Verdict: Big Hit
MR. HOLMES (Roadside Attractions) Budget: N/A. Domestic Gross: $17.7M Total: $29.4M Verdict: Likely Made Money.
TRAINWRECK (Universal) Budget: $35M. Domestic Gross: $110.2M Total: $140.8M Verdict: Big Hit.
PIXELS (Columbia) Budget: $88M Domestic Gross: $78.8M Total: $243.6M Verdict: Made Money.
THE GALLOWS (New Line) Budget: $100K. Domestic Gross: $22.7M Total: $43.0M Verdict: Big Hit.
PAPER TOWN (Fox Searchlight) Budget: $12M. Domestic Gross: $32.0M Total: $85.5M Verdict: Big Hit.
THE GIFT (STX) Budget: $5M. Domestic Gross: $43.8M Total: $59.0M Verdict: Big Hit.
SELF/LESS (Focus) Budget: $26M. Domestic Gross: $12.3M. Total: $30.5M Verdict: Lost Money.
SOUTHPAW (Weinstein) Budget: $30M. Domestic Gross: $52.4M. Total: $91.7M Verdict: Hit.
VACATION (New Line) Budget: $31M. Domestic Gross: $58.9M. Total: $104.9M Verdict: Hit.
THE END OF THE TOUR (A24) Budget: $8M. Domestic Gross: $16.2M. Total: $63.5M Verdict: Big Hit.


As summer winds down to an end there are usually one or two blockbusters left up Hollywood’s sleeve. Smart money is on the irreverent superhero tale about a team of villains, a reboot of a less familiar children’s movie from a bygone age, an anime about a Japanese folk tale and a remake of a classic swords and sandals epic.

Suicide Squad



RELEASE DATE: August 5, 2016
STUDIO: Warner Brothers
GENRE: Superhero
STARRING: Will Smith, Margo Robbie, Jared Leto, Ben Affleck, Joel Kinnaman, Cara Delevingne, Jai Courtney, Viola Davis, Adam Beach, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
STORY: Facing an insurmountable threat, a secret government agency proposes to send super-powered criminals up against it, a group of expendables who are promised freedom if they survive and death if they run. It might be another day at the office for the Justice League but for these guys it’s suicide.
PROSPECTS: Deadpool was an enormous success and this one seems to have a similar tone and irreverence. It could turn out to be one of the summer’s left field hits.
OBSTACLES: DC still continues to struggle with their cinematic universe, despite big numbers for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. It needs an unqualified success that doesn’t revolve around Batman (although the Dark Knight does appear here).
FACTOID: Affleck is the first actor to play a cinematic Batman under two different directors. He is also the first to appear as Batman in two different films to be released in the same year.



RELEASE DATE: August 12, 2016
STUDIO: Disney
GENRE: Family
STARRING: Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Karl Urban, Wes Bentley, Oakes Fegley, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Oona Laurence, Craig Hall
STORY: An orphaned boy is found in the forest; he had survived there, alone, for six years. Except he wasn’t alone; he had the help of his best friend – a living, breathing dragon. Now he is back in civilization, a different kind of wilderness. But his dragon is not about to let him tackle that forest alone.
PROSPECTS: Disney has been on a roll lately, with their animation division continuing to do gangbusters but also their live action films based on theme park attractions, animated classics and children’s books.
OBSTACLES: Pete’s Dragon isn’t exactly the most beloved or well-known of Disney properties and it likely isn’t going to resonate with kids or their parents in the same way that, say, Maleficent did.
FACTOID: Michael C. Hall (Dexter) was originally cast in the role now filled by Karl Urban.


RELEASE DATE: August 12, 2016
STUDIO: Columbia
GENRE: Animated Feature
STARRING THE VOICES OF: James Franco, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Salma Hayek, Jonah Hill, Edward Norton, Bill Hader
STORY: After falling out of a shopping cart, a sausage and his friends make a dangerous journey to get back to their aisles before the 4th of July sale begins; but when they discover the truth of their existence, will they want to get there?
PROSPECTS: A truly all-star cast of comic actors, SNL veterans and comedians make this one to keep an eye out for if you’re a comedy fan.
OBSTACLES: This raunchy animated feature is definitely not for kids, so the question is will adults want to go see a cartoon?
FACTOID: This is the first animated film to be written by Seth Rogen.


RELEASE DATE: August 19, 2016
GENRE: Animated Feature
STARRING THE VOICES OF: Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes, Art Parkinson, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, George Takei
STORY: A young boy named Kubo in a fantasy feudal Japan accidentally unleashes an ancient spirit with a vendetta against his family. On the run with only his magical music instrument and two friends to guide him, he must battle Gods and monsters if he is to save his family.
PROSPECTS: The LAIKA animation studio has consistently put out quality product that has progressively gotten more popular.
OBSTACLES: LAIKA still hasn’t had an out of the box hit yet, and this anime-style feature will have a tough time being the first.
FACTOID: The song that Kubo plays in the trailer is the Beatles’ classic “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”



RELEASE DATE: August 5, 2016
STUDIO: Weinstein
GENRE: Biographical Drama
STARRING: Michael Keaton, Patrick Wilson, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Laura Dern, Linda Cardellini, B.J. Novak, Kimberly Battista
STORY: Salesman Ray Kroc sees potential in a restaurant that serves burgers at a phenomenal rate. He sees potential and maneuvers himself to steal the company from the men who started it – the McDonald brothers.
PROSPECTS: Keaton has been nominated for an Oscar the last two years in a row; this might make it three straight, if the buzz is correct.
OBSTACLES: Does anyone really want to see a movie about how McDonald’s came to be?
FACTOID: The Coen Brothers initially expressed interest in directing the film but were unable to make it work due to conflicts with the filming of Hail, Caesar.


August 5, 2016

In NINE LIVES (EuropaCorp/Relativity) a workaholic dad becomes trapped in the body of a cat and is adopted by his own family, learning to see them in a new and unexpected light.

August 12, 2016

CAFE SOCIETY (Amazon) is the latest from Woody Allen and stars Jesse Eisenberg as a young starry-eyed man who comes to Hollywood in the 1930s to make it in the film industry, but finds love, heartache and some really good cafes instead. FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS (Paramount) is the true story of the woman whose life was fictionalized in Marguerite – a society matron who was convinced she was an opera diva but truly couldn’t sing a note. THE HOLLARS (Sony Classics) which opens in limited release is the directorial debut of star John Krasinski as a New York City artist forced to go home to his Midwestern small town when his mother falls ill and finds himself sucked in to the same small town drama that sent him scurrying away to the big city in the first place. SPECTRAL (Universal/Legendary) follows a special Ops team trying to take down an unknown enemy – who may not be of this world.

August 19, 2016

BEN-HUR (MGM/Paramount) is a remake of a classic movie that follows the tale of Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish noble who is betrayed by his Roman friend and sentenced to be a galley slave. Bent on revenge, he finds redemption through a gentle Nazarene and vindication in a chariot race. SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU (Miramax) is the story of our current First Lady and how she met an idealistic young man who persistently wooed her during the summer of 1989 – a young man named Barack Obama. This is opening in limited release. THE SPACE BETWEEN US (STX) is a young adult sci-fi story about a 16-year-old boy who was the first human born on Mars, coming back to Earth to try and piece together who is father was. WAR DOGS (Warner Brothers) stars Miles Teller and Jonah Hill as a pair of businessmen who exploit a loophole that allows small businesses to supply the U.S. Military and end up wait over their heads. This is based on a true story.

August 26, 2016

In DON’T BREATHE (Screen Gems/Ghost House) a group of young kids break into a blind man’s house, thinking it will be easy to take his stuff and get away with it. They’re dead wrong. HANDS OF STONE (Weinstein) is the story of boxer Roberto Duran, one of the most lethal punchers in the history of the sport who was on top of his career when he suddenly and mysteriously stopped boxing in mid-match against Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980, famously saying “No mas.” In MECHANIC: RESURRECTION (Summit) Arthur Bishop thought he’d left the assassination game forever, but is reluctantly brought back in to do a virtually impossible task; to take out some of the most dangerous men in the world.


FANTASTIC FOUR (20th Century Fox) Budget: $120M. Domestic Gross: $56.1M Total: $168.0M Verdict: Lost Money.
THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. (Warner Brothers) Budget: $75M. Domestic Gross: $45.4M Total: $109.8M Verdict: Lost Money.
SINISTER 2 (Focus) Budget: $10M. Domestic Gross: $27.7M Total: $52.9M Verdict: Big Hit.
HITMAN: AGENT 47 (20th Century Fox) Budget: $35M. Domestic Gross: $22.5M Total: $82.4M Verdict: Broke Even.
STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (Universal) Budget: $28M. Domestic Gross: $161.2M Total: $201.6M Verdict: Blockbuster.
RICKI AND THE FLASH (TriStar) Budget: $18M. Domestic Gross: $26.8M Total: $40.5M Verdict: Broke Even.
SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE (Lionsgate) Budget: $25M. Domestic Gross: $19.4M Total: $83.5M Verdict: Hit.

That brings us to the end of this year’s summer preview. Hope you enjoyed it and found a few new movies to look forward to once school lets out. As usual, the caveat here is that the scheduled release dates are always subject to change, and it is likely that within a week or two of this being published there will be date changes, schedule shuffling or the outright removal of some films to be quietly released direct to home video months or even years from now. Until then, you can find out more about the movies in question and when they’ll be out near you by reading our Weekly Previews and monthly Pick of the Litter series for independent film picks. But the year isn’t over at summer’s end; there’s still a whole bunch of movies coming this fall and Cinema365 will be on it with our Fall/Holiday preview at the end of August. You can expect to see previews of films like the first stand-alone Star Wars film, the first in a new trilogy of films set in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a Marvel film exploring the mystical side of the MCU, the cinematic returns of Bridget Jones, Jack Reacher and Robert Langdon, and much more. So until then, the multiplex awaits; grab your popcorn and ice cold soda, and settle down in the dark, air-conditioned movie palace of your desire. We’ll save a seat for you.


Cinema of the Heart 2016

Cinema of the Heart 2016Today Cinema365 kicks off another of our world-famous (insert ironic snarky comment here) mini-festivals as we take a look at the celebration of romance and love in the movies. Now through Valentine’s Day, we’ll be reviewing movies that look at l’amour whether in new and different ways, or in typical Hollywood fashion.

As we are nearing the Florida Film Festival in April which Cinema365 is looking forward to covering, a quick program note; we will be taking a vacation for a month starting April 26. If circumstances allow, I’ll try and post reviews when I can but I won’t be posting daily or even often. We will be returning to full-time status on May 27 with as many May blockbuster movies as we can squeeze in.

In the meantime, there’s plenty to love about the movies and this is where we celebrate love of all sorts. Hope you enjoy this year’s edition of Cinema of the Heart!