Special Feature: Summer 2016 preview

2016 is looking like a major year in film. As has become typical, many of the big budget projects are slated for summer releases. As publicity intensifies for some of these films and the early reviews come out, a lot can change when it comes our perception of which projects will be most successful. But right now, these are looking like the blockbusters for next summer. There are a number of films coming out right on the cusp of summer that may end up trumping Disney Pixar's Finding Dory in terms of box office success, but for fans of Finding Nemo (2003) few sequels have been as eagerly awaited.

Three superhero sagas - X-Men: Apocalypse, Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Captain America: Civil War - will likely be some of the biggest films of 2016, but they're all technically scheduled for spring releases. Going by current schedules, that makes Finding Dory potentially the first true blockbuster of next year's summer season. Finding Nemo was one of the most successful animated films of all time. Given the enduring reputation of Disney Pixar and the legacy of the original film, this title should bring out droves of cinema fans. The synopsis for the film is vague as of now, but we can likely expect another tale of perseverance, friendship and family values. The trailer recently debuted online.

Star Trek Beyond
The third film in the modern Star Trek series is sure to draw a crowd, though some are worried about the transition to Justin Lin as director. J.J. Abrams effectively reinvigorated the Star Trek saga with Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), but he's now extraordinarily busy doing the same for the Star Wars franchise. Lin will represent a big change, but that shouldn't stop the waves of Star Trek fans from showing up at the cinema.

Rumours are somewhat spread out and unreliable at this stage and only seven or eight months away from the release we really don't know a whole lot about what to expect. However, the one consensus appears to be that the crew will be embarking on a deep space mission this time, which should liven things up. While Abrams' two films were pretty heavy on action, most of it took place in relatively isolated settings, as opposed to journeys into the galaxy.

The Ghostbusters reboot may just be the most fascinating film of summer 2016, simply because it's making some radical changes. Most notably, the main Ghostbusters team will be played by women in a powerful statement about gender roles in Hollywood. Melissa McCarthy may be the most notable name attached, but Saturday Night Live veterans Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong will also play major roles. Paul Fieg is directing and Dan Akroyd and Bill Murray will reprise their roles.

Rebooting a classic always carries some risk, but enthusiasm for the Ghostbusters remake is already boiling over, indicating this is going to be a very popular release. Here you can find a fun little Ghostbusters video game that's making the rounds online. The game functions primarily as a slot machine, but it also has some amusing animations based on the original film and it even includes an appearance by the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. And elsewhere, there's a documentary coming out about "Ghostbusters fandom".

Bourne 5
The fourth film in the Jason Bourne series represented a pretty significant drop-off from the quality of the original trilogy. This was in part because of a relatively unimaginative plot, but also due mostly to the fact that Matt Damon sat out. Jeremy Renner filled in adequately, not as Bourne but as another agent. However, the franchise just didn't look or feel the same without Damon's presence.

Fortunately for fans of the series, Damon is back in action in Bourne 5 and that alone should make this film one of the most exciting and eagerly anticipated experiences of next summer. Damon has indicated that this new film will delve into the modern nature of spy agencies and surveillance, but beyond that not a whole lot is known. Set photos are already getting people speculating, however, about a more rugged take on the Bourne character.

Suicide Squad
As mentioned, most of the major superhero releases of 2016 are coming out in the spring. But the studios are saving one for late summer and in ways it's the most intriguing one of the bunch. Suicide Squad is expected to set the stage for a new phase of DC Comics film projects, focusing not on the popular superheroes from the comics but on the villains. The Suicide Squad comic concept involves these villains doing work as agents for the government, which is a pretty bizarre idea in the context of modern superhero cinema. It's a bold move by DC to launch a number of new characters in a single film (without individual origin stories), but fans are excited, particularly to see Jared Leto and Margot Robbie as the Joker and Harley Quinn, respectively.


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