Top 5 Movies of 2016 by Disney

Who would have thought that Star Wars: The Force Awakens would have been such a runaway hit?  Okay.  Everybody.  While it was no surprise that the newest film in the Star Wars universe broke all domestic box office records, Disney released a slate of movies in 2015 that ranged the gamut of emotion-filled animation to avenging superhero action to a real life story that gave your heart a run for its money.   As the new year starts, Disney promises another wide-ranging slate of films so I thought I would share with you the top 5 Disney released movies I’m most looking forward to as well as my predictions for top 5 highest domestic grossing films of the year.  First, the top 5 I’m most looking forward to seeing:

Doctor Strange – Based on the Marvel comic and set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this film could go in so many ways.  Scary, mystical (he is the Sorcerer Supreme after all), action (still a Marvel film), comedic, high-adventure – it will be fun to discover which way it unfolds.  Being partial to Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role is also a huge draw for me and the legions of Sherlock fans who follow the show.  How will Doctor Strange fit into the Marvel Universe?  That is what we will all be waiting to see! (11/4)

From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes ?Moana,? a sweeping, CG-animated comedy-adventure about a spirited teenager on an impossible mission to fulfill her ancestors' quest. A born navigator, Moana sets sail from the ancient South Pacific islands of Oceania in search of a fabled island. During her incredible journey, she teams up with her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, to traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds and ancient folklore. Directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker ("The Little Mermaid," "The Princess and the Frog," "Aladdin"), "Moana" arrives in theaters in late 2016. ?2014 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Concept art from Moana coming to theaters 11/23/2016.  2014 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Moana – This new animated feature is being set up as the family film of the year.  Being released in the coveted Thanksgiving weekend spot, it is poised to open strong.  From the few animated peeks that Disney has shown us, this looks to be one of the most gorgeous films being released and with the directing duo of Ron Clements and John Musker who brought us movies like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, it looks to be a new classic.  But will the world take to heart a Polynesian “princess” created from an original story?  Unlike previous Disney animated hits, this one is not adapted from an established fairy tale.  I wonder if that means we won’t see Moana pop up on the hit TV series Once Upon A Time? (11/23)

The Jungle BookIt’s hard to know where this one will land in the box office.  On one hand, it has Jon Favreau at the helm who has a pretty impressive record at Disney with Iron Man and Iron Man 2.  And with such renowned actors as Scarlett Johansson (a personal favorite), Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, and Bill Murray in it, it seems like a smash hit.  But will it have the “Bare Necessities” to make it?  To be sure, the CGI is already out of this world and Favreau is a wonderful storyteller but the direction of the movie is pretty unclear.  Will it stick to the basics of the story as told by Disney or will audiences be shocked/happily surprised by Favreau’s choices?  I definitely want to see it to find out! (4/15)

Captain America: Civil War – While this movie seems to depart pretty drastically from the Marvel Comics original storyline in some key places, it’s hard not to be excited about a film they could easily have called Avengers: Civil War or Avengers 3.  Starring the two key figures of that franchise, Captain America and Iron Man, the trailers have been downright exciting.  Just the action sequence alone of Iron Man fighting Cap and the Winter Soldier looks awesome!  Will it flow together as easily as Captain America: Winter Soldier did or will the star-laden cast make it unwieldy?  My bet is that it will knock us out of our seats. (5/6)

Star Wars: Rogue One..L to R: Actors Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, Felicity Jones, Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen..Photo Credit: Jonathan Olley..?Lucasfilm 2016
Star Wars: Rogue One..L to R: Actors Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, Felicity Jones, Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen..Photo Credit: Jonathan Olley..copyright Lucasfilm 2016

Star Wars: Rogue One – This film doubles as the number one film in both anticipation AND box office cred.  Rogue One will likely be the top dog but Captain America could give it a serious run for its money.  A brand new story set in the familiar Star Wars universe, this film looks to delve into parts unknown.  Telling the tale of a band of rebels out to steal the plans for the Death Star, we know it won’t happily for all of them.  But this movie is super intriguing!  Will it be a thriller / heist film?  Will it be hard-core military action-adventure?  Some blend of the two?  Or something completely different?  Guess we’ll just have to wait to find out! (12/16)

Disney has tons of great movies coming out this year which made choosing them hard.  I think I’m going to LOVE Zootopia (3/4) and all it’s cute furry animals.  Ginnifer Goodwin is just perfect as Officer Judy Hopps.  And of course Finding Dory (6/17) is the sequel people have been hoping to see for a long time.  Who doesn’t love Ellen DeGeneres as Dory? And Pete’s Dragon (8/12) with Robert Redford?  And there’s even more! – Alice Through the Looking Glass (5/27), The BFG (7/1), and the already released The Finest Hours which you can read about on the blog.  Wow.  It should be a good year for Disney movies.

So which films do I predict will make box office gold?  Here are my 2016 predictions (but go see them all anyway):

  1. Star Wars: Rogue One
  2. Captain America: Civil War
  3. Finding Dory
  4. Moana
  5. Doctor Strange

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