The 2016 Film Release Calendar: December

Every January, I preview all the films that are scheduled to come out for that year. I go through the existing release calendar, month by month, and guess how much or how little I’m going to like each of the films.

The major benefit is that it allows me, come the end of the year, to see which movies ended up surprising me for better or for worse, or which ones I had wildly disproportionate expectations for. It also gives me a chance to know what’s coming out and what to look forward to.

I also take all the films that are filming or in post and theoretically able to come out that year and preview those too, along with all the films from the previous year(s) that have yet to come out that I’ve been tracking. In all, I end up previewing more films than pretty much anyone else, I’ve been told.


Strangers 2

They’ve announced this, but it hasn’t shot yet. I haven’t seen the first one, but I hear good things. I have no reason to think this won’t be shot in time, since they can start shooting in April and have it ready for December.

I’ll need to see the first one before I see this, otherwise it’s a skip.

But for now, 2.5 stars.

Let It Snow

Also announced but hasn’t shot yet.

Based on the guy who did Fault in Our Stars and two other authors’ short stories. Three romances take place on Christmas Eve.

They haven’t cast this yet. How can they possibly get it done in time? We’ll see, I guess.

3 stars. No real reason why.

No director on this. I don’t think this actually comes out.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rebels set out on a mission to steal the plans for the Death Star.

The premise is exciting. It’s a great idea.

Gareth Edwards is directing. I loved Monsters and Godzilla.

Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn, Alan Tudyk, Forest Whitaker, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen.

There’s no way they don’t have a Vader cameo, right? How could they not?

Either way, 4 stars. I like the universe, I know the story. This has to be worthwhile.

Chicken Soup for the Soul

Another one they haven’t shot yet.

Can it really be possible that three movies they haven’t shot yet are gonna get shot and come out?

This one doesn’t even have a director.

No way this comes out. No way.

2.5 stars.

Assassin’s Creed

When Callum Lynch explores the memories of his ancestor Aguilar and gains the skills of a Master Assassin, he discovers he is a descendant of the secret Assassins society.

Okay, okay.

Never played the game, but it sounds interesting enough. Plus, Fassbender and Cotillard give promise. And the director did Macbeth, which was real solid.

Brendan Gleeson, Jeremy Irons and Michael K. Williams are also in this.

3.5 stars. I’m hoping for 4. Don’t think it’ll go higher than that, but 3.5 stars would be really nice for a movie like this.


A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in one of its sleep chambers. As a result, a single passenger is awakened 60 years early. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he eventually decides to wake up a second passenger.

Anyone else noticing a complete lack of movies that look really good this year? Last year, I had a bunch I was crazy excited for. This year, it feels like everything was either a franchise movie or a horror movie I may or may not skip. All the major directors are between films. I’m worried.

This is Morten Tyldum’s follow up to The Imitation Game. The script has been floating around for a while and looks terrific. Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence star. Michael Sheen looks like he’s voicing a computer. Laurence Fishburne is also in it.

I mean, the cast, the story — 4.5 stars. I had nothing else to guess high on, so this feels like a slam dunk.


A koala named Buster recruits his best friend to help him drum up business for his theater by hosting a singing competition.

Uh huh.

Starring Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johansson, Taron Egerton, Reese Witherspoon, Nick Offerman, Seth MacFarlane, John C. Reilly, Peter Serafinowicz, Nick Kroll, Leslie Jones, Jay Pharoah.

Oh, and the director also did Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Son of Rambow. Which is promising.

I can’t assume 3.5 stars, so I’ll go 3 stars and hope it’s great.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiars

Teenager Jacob follows clues that take him to a mysterious island, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores the abandoned bedrooms and hallways, he discovers that its former occupants were far more than peculiar; they possessed incredible powers. And they may still be alive.

Tim Burton. He shot this a while ago. It was supposed to come out in March and they pushed it to Christmas. Does that mean they have faith in it to be great?

Burton’s been real shaky the last few films. Big Eyes was solid, but no one saw it.

Asa Butterfield, Eva Green, Samuel L. Jackson, Allison Janney, Kim Dickens, Judi Dench, Chris O’Dowd and Terence Stamp star.

Looks solid.

3.5 stars. I can’t assume 4 with Burton anymore. I just can’t. I need him to prove it to me, based on the last few.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow we go over the films that don’t yet have release dates.

One response

  1. Yeah, this is looking like another year with a lot of very solid films but not much that really jumps out at you. God knows what’ll be up for Oscars (and it’ll sting if they go back to a fixed 10 nominees and then have an incredibly weak year to draw on).

    January 23, 2016 at 11:46 pm

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