By Savannah Barrow | Contributor
Following the end of the year release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the bar is set high for 2016 cinema. The Force Awakens has already generated a return nine times its original budget of $200 million. The upcoming 2016 movies on this list have a budget of half that; right around $100 million and we’ve picked them out to be fly-or-fail gambles.
1) Ghostbusters: Dan Akroyd has been trying for years to get a third film made of this beloved franchise. Due to a stubborn Bill Murray, Akroyd was unsuccessful. Columbia Pictures stepped-in and decided to reboot it altogether with a star-studded female cast which includes Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Chris Hemsworth is also cast. Three leading ladies hailing from Saturday Night Live is sure to attract movie-goers seeking hilarity. However, the original Ghostbusters is beloved by its fans. For generations it has managed to surpass barriers and appeal to viewers of all ages. Wiig and McCarthy have proven themselves capable of carrying a movie on their backs, but will their performance be enough for die-hard fans of the original? Dan Akroyd and Bill Murray have spots on the cast list alongside original costar Sigourney Weaver, so we may be able to expect a cameo from them in the film.
Barrow’s Bet: Kristen Wiig is hilarious and I will battle the rancor over it. This movie has the funniest female cast since Bridesmaids. If fans of the original can’t let themselves love the remake, the collective fan base of the leading ladies will. This one is a hit.
2) Assassin’s Creed: The popular video game is getting its own movie. The film appears to have a few good things going for it. New Regency, the production company which is responsible for the Oscar-winning films Birdman and 12 Years a Slave, is producing the movie. Michael Fassbender, who played Magneto in X-Men First Class, will play the lead role. Marion Cotillard will co-star. However, Assassin’s Creed has a few apparent weak spots. Its director is Justin Kurzel, director of the latest Macbeth film. Macbeth and Assassin’s Creed are two of five of Kurzel’s directing credits. Also, if the Kurzel/Fassbender/Cotillard collaboration pans out as it did in Macbeth, the quality of the acting may be questionable.
Barrow’s Bet: Roll the dice on this one. Let’s hope for some classic Mad Max style action sequences with quality special effects. If our eyes aren’t amazed,something tells me are hearts won’t be either.
3) Zoolander 2: The original fun, deliberately dim-witted comedy is either one you love or can’t stand. However, even those who are big fans of the first film may be skeptical. What can we expect? Familiar antics of the original cast? Throw back jokes from the first film?
Barrow’s Bet: I think the fate of this movie will ultimately play out similarly to that of Anchorman 2, drawing a lot of excited viewers in the beginning and dwindle in the weeks following. Not a lot of hype surrounding Ben Stiller these days and this movie might make him a has-Ben.
4) Warcraft: A second movie based from a video game, this movie draws its plot from the massive multiplayer online role-playing game, World of Warcraft. Having grossed over 10 billion dollars as of July 2012, it is also the highest grossing video game of all time. In January 2014, it was announced that more than 100 million accounts had been created over the game's lifetime. It’s being directed by Duncan Jones, who directed Source Code back in 2011 and scored with the critics.
Barrow’s Bet: The movie was announced back in 2009 so it’s been anticipated by fans of the video game since they were still actually playing it. Although Warcraft at one time could draw a good audience, interest had dwindled since its peak. I’m not sure Warcrafters will be joining back up with their guilds to raid the theaters for this one, but I believe in Duncan’s talent. Its appeal to gamers combined with its potential for action and crazy special affects is bound to draw crowds. Go see it. If you’re a long-time fan of the game andhope competition doesn’t water down the movie’s potential for its success: Allegiant Part 1 comes out the following weekend.
5) The Huntsman: Winter’s War: This is a sequel to the film Snow White and the Huntsman that came out in 2012, an original that was only slightly entertaining and didn’t warrant a sequel. However, Universal cleverly chose to drop Snow White from the story and focus in on Eric the Huntsman, a role that will be reprised by Chris Hemsworth. The story follows the Huntsman and his forbidden love interest as they take on a mission to stop two evil sisters, Ravenna and Freya, from taking over the land. Here is where the gamble gets even riskier: It’s directed by Cedric Nicolas- Troyan, the second unit director for the original. Although Nicolas- Troyan was the second unit director on Snow White and the Huntsman, this is the first movie he has been in charge of himself. Also, if this film is anything like its predecessor, the script will likely be confusing and shifty. The only thing this movie really has going for it right now is Chris Hemsworth as the lead.
Barrow’s Bet: Are you a Hemsworth fan? The name alone won’t be enough to draw crowds, though it might draw a few. Very rarely have sequels out-performed there originals. The verdict is don’t expect much and you might be impressed.