2016 Universal Pictures Preview

Universal Pictures led the charge in 2015, raking in $2.4 billion at the domestic box office with mega champs like FURIOUS 7, JURASSIC WORLD, and yep, MINIONS. PITCH PERFECT 2, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, and STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON were also big winners for the studio and although there are no sequels to any of those films in 2016, there's still plenty to choose from, with notables being Duncan Jones' WARCRAFT, a new Matt Damon-led Bourne film, NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING, THE HUNTSMAN WINTER'S WAR, and THE GREAT WALL. Still, even with those notables, you have to wonder how the studio will fare without dinosaurs and fast cars.

Take a look at what Universal has in store for 2016!

Sing (December 21st)

Director Garth Jennings (A HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY) gets in the animation game with SING, an ensemble animated musical about a koala named Buster who gets his friends together in a singing competition to help get his theater business booming again. An all-star line-up includes Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johansson, Reese Witherspoon, Taron Egerton, Nick Offerman, Seth MacFarlane, and John C. Reilly. So if singing anthropomorphic creatures are your thing or your kids happen to see the trailer, then we know where you'll be in late December.

SING opens on December 21st.

The Great Wall (November 23rd)

Director Yimou Zhang (THE FLOWERS OF WAR, HERO) brings together a Chinese and American cast that includes Matt Damon, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Pedro Pascal, Tian Jing, and more. The film centers on an elite band of soldiers who help defend the construction of the Great Wall from not only the Mongols, but also against mythical creatures. The long-in-development pic grew wings when it partnered with Chinese investors to get off the ground, pulling in a $135-150 million budget, which included the construction of an elaborate fake wall in Qingdao. It's an interesting premise and much has been put into making the film happen. Now, we'll just have to see if it pays off.

THE GREAT WALL hits theaters on November 23rd.

A Meyers Christmas (November 11th)

After the success of RIDE ALONG 2, Producer Will Packer will be attempting another coup with A MEYER'S CHRISTMAS, a comedy that centers on an estranged family coming together for their first Christmas after the death of the family Matriarch. The film stars Gabrielle Union, Romany Malco, Danny Glover, Omar Epps, Kimberly Elise, and Mo'Nique. Hopefully this is more than the eye-roll comedy stylings of the RIDE ALONG franchise.

A MEYERS CHRISTMAS opens on November 11th.

Ouija 2 (October 21st)

Well, I guess enough of you enjoyed the first one to make it a success (despite a 7% rotten score on RT), so here ya go...OUIJA 2. The sequel brings in Elizabeth Reaser, Henry Thomas, and legendary man-in-suit actor Doug Jones for what appears to be...more of the same. It's real simple; people fuck with a Ouija board and get what's coming to 'em. The end. You're welcome.

OUIJA 2 challenges the original's RT score on October 21st.

Kevin Hart: What Now? (October 14th)

Kevin Hart brings his comedic skills to the stage with his latest What Now? series in this new concert film that was recorded outdoors in front of a crowd of 50,000 people at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field. With Hart seemingly on fire at the box office and his previous stand up film (LET ME EXPLAIN) becoming the 3rd-highest grossing stand-up film of all time, WHAT NOW? is sure to drum up some coin.

KEVIN HART: WHAT NOW? kicks off on October 14th.

The Girl on the Train (October 7th)

Originally part of Disney/Dreamworks line-up, THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN was snatched up by Universal when the prior studios did not renew distribution deals. The Emily Blunt led flick, based on the novel by Paula Hawkins, will likely see release this fall, but the October 7th date could shift. Directed by Tate Taylor (THE HELP), the film centers on an alcoholic woman (Blunt) "who spends her commute fantasizing about a seemingly perfect couple who lives in a house that her train passes every day. One morning, she sees something shocking there and becomes entangled in a mystery." Joining Blunt are Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Laura Prepon, Allison Janney, and Edgar Ramirez. The book has been a hot commodity for a while now and many are calling it this year's GONE GIRL. Either way, we're "on board".

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN arrives in theaters on October 7th (maybe).

Bridget Jones's Baby (September 16th)

If you're a BRIDGET JONES DIARY fan then get ready to be happy. If not, just click that next arrow and move along. Starring Renee Zellweger in one of the roles that helped define her, this latest film in the series follows her titular character as she enters her 40's and, you guessed it, is pregnant. The only problem is that she doesn't know who the father is. Time to call Maury Povich! Colin Firth and Patrick Dempsey co-star as the potential sperm donors and hijinks ensue. Hey, look, your mom doesn't get to go to the movies very often, so just let her have this one, okay? All right.

BRIDGET JONES'S BABY starts the paternity test on September 16th.

Spectral (August 12th)

Described as a "supernatural BLACK HAWK DOWN" SPECTRAL stars 13 HOURS cast members James Badge Dale and Max Martini as part of a special ops team sent to fight a batch of supernatural beings who have taken over a European city. I'm guessing they won't be using live ammo. Perhaps...proton packs? It's an intriguing idea, one that sounds kind of like a serious version of GHOSTBUSTERS or something. Dale and Martini are solid action guys, so if nothing else they've already got the right men for the job. Now we just need to see how the story holds up.

SPECTRAL sweeps into theaters on August 12th.

Untitled Bourne Sequel (July 29th)

It's been nine years since BOURNE gave his ULTIMATUM and since then all we've seen is an attempt at a spinoff that didn't quite catch with BOURNE LEGACY. Now, director Paul Greengrass (SUPREMACY & ULTIMATUM) is back at the helm with original star Matt Damon as the rogue badass agent Jason Bourne in a new adventure that...well, we don't know shit about the story. We don't even know the title for that matter. What we do know is that Bourne is back and that's more than enough to get us stoked. Joining Damon in his return to the role are Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel, Tommy Lee Jones, and another returning cast mate, Julia Stiles. If the film is anything like the previous three Damon versions, then we're more than ready to be Bourne again.

Jason Bourne kicking ass and taking names Part 4 (our unofficial title) hits theaters on July 29th.

The Secret Life of Pets (July 8th)

What do your pets do when you leave for the day? That's the premise of THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS, the latest animated flick from the folks that brought you the DESPICABLE ME/MINIONS flicks. It's a really fun premise and based on the latest trailer appears to take the adventure well beyond the home front, which should make for a few laughs. The film stars just about everyone, including Louis CK, Lake Bell, Kevin Hart, Ellie Kemper, Jenny Slate, Steve Coogan, Hannibal Buress, Albert Brooks, Dana Carvey, and more. It looks way more fun than it should and we're definitely suckers for cute and fuzzy animals. Even if one of them is a rabbit voiced by Kevin Hart.

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS opens on July 8th.

The Purge 3 (July 1st)

THE PURGE franchise is churning out another one from the folks at Blumhouse and director James DeMonaco. With the great success of the last two, both of which capitalized on a modest budget, the once-a-year Purge continues with surviving ANARCHY member Frank Grillo once again leading the charge. Joining him in this outing is Lost's Elizabeth Mitchell and Bubba himself, Mykelti Williamson. With the low cost and firm standing in the cheap thrills genre, THE PURGE 3 should do well, especially for fans of the series.

THE PURGE 3 unleashes on July 1st.

Warcraft (June 10th)

Director Duncan Jones has labored for years over the Blizzard game adaptation of WARCRAFT, the online RPG that has stolen years away from the lives of men and women all over the world. Now, they're only asking for a few more hours to enjoy the spectacle of orcs, knights, magicians, and the like all fighting for or against one another in a massive epic that promises, if nothing else, some really impressive CGI. However, with Jones at the helm we'd stack the deck in his favor of something really cool and are holding out hope that the film can live up to that. Starring Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Robert Kazinsky, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, and Clancy Brown, WARCRAFT has been a long time coming. We're just hoping it's worth the wait.

WARCRAFT stomps into theaters on June 10th.

Top Secret Untitled Lonely Island Movie (June 3rd)

Also known as CONNER4REAL, the Untitled Lonely Island movie (unless they're going with that Conner thing) stars Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer (aka The Lonely Island music/comedy group) as a group of musicians who struggle with getting their old boy band back together after Conner4Real's (Samberg) latest album bombs. It's said to be a mockumentary type film about those "fluffy" music documentaries about Justin Beiber, Katy Perry, etc. Joining the Island in this venture is producer Judd Apatow, who bulks up the film with co-stars like Sarah Silverman, Imogen Poots, and Tim Meadows. Sounds like a THIS IS SPINAL TAP for the boy band era, which could be a lot of fun from The Lonely Island crew. We'll see how a trailer sells us.

Top Secret Untitled Lonely Island Movie hits on June 3rd

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (May 20th)

The first NEIGHBORS was a solid hit for Team's Rogen and Efron, which also helped up Efron's comedy cred, even if he had a rough year in 2015 (and early 2016 with DIRTY GRANDPA). Hopefully, this sequel will put Efron back in the green and capitalize on the raunchy fun that was the first. Rogen, rose Byrne, Dave Franco, Lisa Kudrow, Carla Gallo and Ike Barinholtz are back, this time facing off against a sorority, which includes the likes of Chloe Moretz, Selena Gomez, and Kiersey Clemons (DOPE). Director Nicholas Stoller is back at the helm and if the trailer is any indication, this should be another wild time for the NEIGHBORS crew.

NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING pledges to theaters on May 20th.

The Huntsman Winter's War (April 22nd)

After the success of SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN it seemed like we'd see a sequel sooner than later. However, the follow up tumbled around a bit (even having director Frank Darabont attached at one point) before settling on THE HUNTSMAN WINTER'S WAR, which now shifts the focus from Snow White (who is absent here) to Chris Hemsworth's Huntsman, as well as original villain Ravenna, as played by Charlize Theron. Also joining the fray are two more surprising actresses; Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain. We say surprising, because this is not their usual fare and they add some significant clout to what would normally be considered a fairly run-of-the-mill fantasy sequel. All that said...it still could be. But, we're hoping to be won over.

THE HUNTSMAN WINTER'S WAR attacks theaters on April 22nd.

The Boss (April 8th)

Comedian Melissa McCarthy may have her detractors, but she's got a strong, loyal fanbase as well. Last year's SPY was a surprise hit (and probably her best work since BRIDESMAIDS) and the crazy girl is back again with THE BOSS, which follows an industry woman sent to prison for insider training who reemerges with the intent of rebranding herself and getting back to business. It's a perfect fit for McCarthy's style and although some will be immediately put off, there's definitely some mass appeal in the idea. The flick co-stars Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage, Kathy Bates, Cecily Strong, and Kristen Schaal with McCarthy's real-life husband, Ben Falcone, at the helm. You'll know if this is for you or not, so enjoy...or don't.

THE BOSS heads to theaters on April 8th.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (March 25th)

The sequel you've been waiting for! Okay, I meant to say: The sequel your girlfriend has been waiting for! MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING is back and bigger than ever! Everything ends in an exclamation for this one! Nia Vardalos! John Corbett! Rita Wilson! John Stamos!!! If you get dragged to one romcom this year, make sure it's MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2, which finds the original couple struggling in their own marriage, while dealing with yet another bigger, fatter Greek Wedding!

MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2 waltzes into theaters on March 25th!

Hail, Caesar!

The Coen brothers are back with a cooky tale of old Hollywood that stars a blend of big namers, including Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Frances McDormand, Channing Tatum, and Jonah Hill. Brolin plays a Hollywood studio boss who has to fix a number of problems when the lead of one of his films goes missing. it looks to have the familiar oddities of a Coen Bros. flick and if that's your bag then this is your bag as well (Check out our review HERE ).

HAIL, CAESAR! swings into theaters on February 5th.

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