Top 10 Most Popular Films for 2016

I cannot believe I am going to say this: amongst the top 10 most popular films for 2016, the top five on the list came from a mega movie company that had its fortunes paid full dividends following years of acquiring valuable assets under the stewardship of Bob Iger. 2016 also proved to be one of the worst years for one Sony Pictures Entertainment, but for the sake of this list, we’re not going to list out why.

Also, please click here to check out our review of the most popular movies of 2015.

Without further ado, here are the top 10 most popular films for 2016 as per Box Office Mojo’s database.

10. Suicide Squad

Synopsis

Following the death of Superman, the world needs a new band of supers to step up and replace the Man of Steel. Senior US Intelligence officer Amanda Waller comes up with a bold but risky plan – fight crime using extreme criminals with special abilities, in exchange for reduced sentences. Task Force X is the official name of this band of crime-fighting criminals, but the nature of their mission calls for a better name — Suicide Squad.

Review

At one point in the mess, Will Smith’s character gripes that he and his team of reluctant “do-gooders” must battle “the swirling portal thing in the sky.” That’s a pretty concrete description of the movie as a whole, too: It’s massive, confusing and noisy. And that sucks.

In Warner Bros.’s continuing efforts to create a shared-universe based on DC Comics characters—similar to the well-established (and, currently, superior) Marvel Cinematic Universe—Suicide Squad is just about as unpleasant as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice but for different reasons. Following a group of supervillains forced to work together as a team to fight a powerful foe, Suicide Squad is actually trying to be funny, or at least it’s trying to find that cheekiness that made Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy such twisted entertainment. With a few rare exceptions, the attempts at comedy in Suicide Squad land with a “thud!”—that is if you can even hear that sound over the deafening gunfire and that ridiculous score.

Box Office

$325,100,054 (US) + $421,746,840 (Foreign) = $746,846,894 (Total)

Recommendation

Just like Batman v Superman, everything in this film is just simply dreadful to a T. Despite DC’s attempt to make Suicide Squad feel more like Guardians of the Galaxy, while the comedy and action scenes work in that Marvel flick, it does not go well in this one.

 

9. Deadpool

Synopsis

Wade Wilson is a fast-talking mercenary is diagnosed with terminal cancer, and he finds the possibility of healing in a covert organization. Recovered, but with an accelerated healing factor and an insane sense of humor, he adopts the alter-ego Deadpool to seek vengeance against the one who ruined his life (and his face).

Review

Deadpool, an insanely funny big-screen showcase for the best wise-cracker of Marvel’s comic-book creations — a disfigured and disreputable mercenary who likes to snark, bust heads wide open and lay waste to the idea that he’s the people’s champion. And given the resurgence of fanboy interest following an awesome trailer at 2015’s Comic-Con, Deadpool showed plenty of life at the box office, especially as an R rated film.

Box Office

$363,070,709 (US) + $420,042,270 (Foreign) = $783,112,979 (Total)

Recommendation

Fun and insanely hilarious, this is one film that most Marvel fanboys are going to be talking about for years to come… or at least until Deadpool 2 comes out. I highly recommend this to those who can stomach and look pass all that R-rated blood and gore just to see all of this mercenary’s antics that could even rival the Joker.

 

8. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

Synopsis

The year is 1926 and Newt Scamander has arrived in New York, having just completed a worldwide expedition to discover and document a wide array of extraordinary, magical creatures. He might have come and gone anonymously however…were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s captured beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.

Review

The first in an ambitious five-film series, Fantastic Beasts is yet another imagination-tickling fantasy adventure and at the same time a deeply troubled commentary with regards to tolerance, fear, and bigotry in the world today.

Box Office 

$234,037,575 (US) + $580,000,000 (Foreign) = $814,037,575 (Total)

Recommendation

To be honest, I am no Harry Potter fan by any stretch, so I did not know what to expect heading into the theatre to watch this movie. But at the end when I came out of it, I thought that the movie was okay in my book. The main character is likable, and the story is strong enough to carry on ’til the end. But truly, if you are a Harry Potter fan, this is the movie for you.

 

7. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Synopsis

In the wake of Superman’s controversial fight with Zod in Metropolis, the people try to determine whether Superman should be praised as a hero or if he should turn himself over to the authorities as a criminal. Batman, however, believes Superman poses a serious threat to the world and prepares to take on the Man of Steel himself. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor plots to destroy mankind while Diana Prince/Wonder Woman pursues her own plans. Will one triumph over the other? Or will the world face certain destruction?

Review

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is such a dark, disconcerting and troubling mess that in spite of the few promising moments that appear, it’s nearly unwatchable.

Like much of Snyder’s previous work Man of Steel, Batman v Superman is filled beyond the brim in its attempts to be gritty. The conversations become clichéd and awkward because of it, and the characters also suffer tremendously, appearing two-dimensional. The fight choreography, a common aspect of Snyder’s films, is dull and shallow, leading to uncontrollable yawns and eye-rolling, especially during the biggest scenes. There are so much more cons than pros in this film that it’s difficult to find moments where Snyder gets things actually right, but there are a few scenes that at least tried to revolve around Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman.

Ultimately, however, Batman v Superman fails to entertain and continues to divide the film community greatly, between the DC fanboys and the general audience and critics.

Box Office 

$330,360,194 (US) + $543,274,725 (Foreign) = $873,634,919 (Total)

Recommendation

A big fat “NO!”. For a film that was positioned to kick-off DC’s own shared universe to rival Marvel, it does a poor job of establishing its characters in a balanced way. From the poor writing to the multiple plot points that feel like 10 movies mixed into one, Batman v Superman falls short of all expectations and it is a basic example of what happens when Warner Bros. attempts to rush straight into directly challenging Disney’s Marvel shared universe to possibly dethrone it.

 

6. The Secret Life of Pets

Synopsis

Max’s peaceful life as a dog gets interrupted when his owner brings home a huge dog Max quickly dislikes. They soon get into trouble upon stepping foot outside their home and are sent to the pound, and Max’s best friend Gidget and a diverse group of pets journey to find them.

Review

The Secret Life of Pets is a kind-hearted, simple story about the unique relationship not only between pets and their owners but between pets and major cities like New York. Although to be more direct, it’s an almost rip-off Pixar’s Toy Story, with the idea that deals with our unawareness of what our toys/pets do while we’re gone and the “new guy who turns things around” storytelling dynamic. In the end, however, it’s too likable to hate—given the great character design and magnificent voice work—but at the same time too shallow and forgettable to fully register. The best-animated movies give us themes to discuss with our kids when they’re over and work for both adults and children. The Secret Life of Pets, on the other hand, is a disposable, summer diversion that many families will be looking for as the summer temperatures rise and the start of school seems so far away, but most won’t be able to remember after they see it.

Box Office 

$368,384,330 (US) + $507,073,607 (Foreign) = $875,457,937 (Total)

Recommendation

Watching this film for the first time, I took note of the similar storyline to Toy Story, and that’s pretty much it. It also borrows heavily from Toy Story 2, in terms of the main characters searching far and wide to find their lost friend. It tries to become its own thing, but perhaps it did it too hard, and that was what made it shallow. So this film is okay overall for just one screening, but for me, I would most definitely give it a pass if I were to watch a great summer animated film.

 

5. The Jungle Book

Synopsis

The man-cub Mowgli flees the jungle following Shere Khan’s dark threat. Guided by Bagheera and Baloo, Mowgli embarks on a journey of self-discovery, though he also meets creatures who may or may not have his best interests at heart.

Review

From the opening sequence which features Mowgli (Neel Sethi) running through the jungle alongside his adoptive wolf family and his black panther guardian Bagheera (Ben Kingsley), through its setpieces and the layabout personality of Baloo the Bear (Bill Murray) and its sinister interlude with the mysterious Kaa (Scarlett Johansson), the despot orangutan King Louie (Christopher Walken) and the scarred and vengeful Shere Khan (Idris Elba), the movie strings you along on a tamed flow of enchantment, climaxing in a dramatic action sequence that shines while tying up every plot point and gathering up all the bits of folklore, iconography and dream symbols that have been strewn throughout the story like Hansel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs.

Box Office 

$364,001,123 (US) + $602,549,477 (Foreign) = $966,550,600 (Total)

Recommendation

This is one of the best Disney remakes that feels much more different as compared to the original animated film. It is the right balance of drama and conflict. So yes, I definitely recommend this film.

 

4. Zootopia

Synopsis

For all types of mammals large and small, the city of Zootopia is a bustling metropolis where various mammalian animals live in peace and harmony. But when a hopeful Judy Hopps becomes the first rabbit to join the Zootopia Police Department, she quickly learns how tough it is to uphold the law. Determined to prove herself, Judy jumps at an opportunity to solve a mysterious case. Unfortunately, that also means working with Nick Wilde, a con artist fox who keeps making her life and job difficult.

Review

In this time of dissent and hate, Zootopia is the movie you need.

It’s goofy and joyful. It has a strong message that’s not shy about expressing directly, one that’s filled with depth that goes beyond the usual “be nice to each other.” And its plot is surprisingly clever on a structural level, reaching what feels like a conclusion and then blowing right past it to make a more straightforward point.

Box Office 

$341,268,248 (US) + $682,515,947 (Foreign) = $1,023,784,195 (Total)

Recommendation

A definite “YES!” from me! In recent memory, Zootopia has proven to be one of Disney’s best contemporary animated films. But only time will tell if the film will remain timeless in the long run.

 

3. Finding Dory

Synopsis

One year after rescuing Nemo, Marlin’s forgetful blue tang fish friend, Dory, begins to remember bits and pieces of her past, prompting her to venture out to continue her life-long search for her long-lost parents.

Review

Finding Dory doubles down on Finding Nemo‘s idea with an entire story focused on coping with disability and despair in the usual Pixar antic-filled adventure. Finding Nemo’s titular character has one undersized fin and is not a good swimmer, but adversity and a similarly fin-impaired fish character helped build his confidence. Similarly, Finding Dory has a character with a handicap who develops coping methods, gets help whenever she can, moves forward when help isn’t available and succeeds in her own way. In a way, this is another “Believe in yourself and you can do anything” story. But by refining and refocusing that message, the directors make it much more relevant. Many kids won’t notice the message: Finding Dory doesn’t explain it in patronizing detail. But it’s likely to hit home for the viewers who need it the most and identify most closely with the story.

Box Office 

$486,295,561 (US) + $542,275,328 (Foreign) = $1,028,570,889 (Total)

Recommendation

I absolutely fell in love with this movie. As far Pixar sequels go, this is by far one of the animation studio’s best. Although the first half of the film felt a little stale at times, the real fun starts once Dory enters the Jewel of Morro Bay, California. For families wishing to help their children cope with their own issues, this film is the one that allows them to sympathize and relate to the main character.

 

2. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Synopsis

Hope is all but lost for the Rebellion as they learn of a new superweapon constructed by the Empire, the Death Star. But when a possible weakness in its construction is uncovered, a band of unlikely allies set out on a risky suicide mission to steal the plans of the Death Star. The fate of the galaxy now rests upon their success.

Review

Being the first stand-alone chapter in the Star Wars franchise, Rogue One is no definite bridge between then and now that J.J. Abrams cleverly constructed last year with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As a movie, it can feel rather slow and rushed, stuck together out of sorts, and require more time on the drawing board. But the damn thing is alive and bursting with the same joy of discovery that dripped us in all that adventurous fun nearly four decades ago. Not once do you doubt that the new characters are breathing the same air as the original trilogy characters!

Box Office 

$532,177,324 (US) + $523,879,949 (Foreign) = $1,056,057,273 (Total)

Recommendation

Rogue One is the first bold move by Star Wars; it is an anthology film. And it is really well done for the most part. It is a first that this film really delves deeper into the gritty environment of a real war, in comparison to the fantasy lore of the trilogies, and you really feel that sense of realness. And also that one scene at the end of the movie (I will not give it away if you haven’t seen it yet)… it is things like this that separates Star Wars from every other franchise out there.

 

1. Captain America: Civil War

Synopsis

Following an incident involving the Avengers which results in costly damage, political pressure prompts the United Nations to sign a bill for an accountability system, headed by a government to oversee and direct the superheroes. This new law causes the Avengers to split in two, which results in two teams – one by Steve Rogers and his goal for the Avengers to defend the world without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s decision to support government oversight.

Review

Captain America: Civil War is easily one of the best to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  First, and most importantly, it does what the best Marvel films do: balancing out multiple characters so each is allowed his/her moment in a story that pushes forward the Cinematic Universe’s overall continuity, while also forming and concluding Captain America’s cogent plot.

Box Office 

$408,084,349 (US) + $745,220,146 (Foreign) = $1,153,304,495 (Total)

Recommendation

Yes with two thumbs way up. There, we said it. For a comic book movie that has a ton of characters, it really does balance everything out, from the charming characters, comedy, drama and the action. This is the film that both Age of Ultron and Batman V Superman should have been like, because it is a ton of fun, and it also has a great story that delves deep into the complications of being free to do whatever you want, as well as limitations set by those you strive to protect.

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