2016 movies to geek out for (pictures)

New Star Trek, Star Wars and Harry Potter adventures are among the sci-fi, fantasy, animated and action treats heading to theaters in the coming year.

Richard Trenholm
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Richard Trenholm
1 of 44 Marvel

Captain America: Civil War

There's a rift among Marvel's mightiest as Chris Evans' Captain America faces off against Robert Downey Jr's Iron Man. Hero Black Panther makes his big screen debut, while Spider-Man finally joins the official Marvel cinematic universe.

2 of 44 Warner Bros

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

In another superhero scrap, DC's man of steel, Henry Cavill, faces off against dark knight Ben Affleck in Zack Snyder's in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." Also along for the ride are Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Jeremy Irons as Alfred the butler and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.

3 of 44 Columbia Pictures


Who ya gonna call? Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones ain't afraid of no ghosts.

4 of 44 Warner Bros

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Expecto a new adventure in the magical world of "Harry Potter," based on the story by JK Rowling. Eddie Redmayne is Newt Scamander, a wizard hunting magical creatures in 1920s New York.

5 of 44 Zade Rosenthal/Paramount Pictures

Star Trek Beyond

Simon Pegg is on co-writing duties, and "Fast and Furious" director Justin Lin directs the action at warp speed for the third in the rebooted Trek series. Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Zoe Saldana are joined on their continuing mission to explore strange new worlds by Idris Elba and "Kingsman" star Sofia Boutella.

6 of 44 Jeff Goldblum

Independence Day: Resurgence

Director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin return to the 1996 alien invasion hit. Jeff Goldblum is back, pictured above being photo-bombed by co-star Liam Hemsworth. Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Vivica A. Fox and Brent Spiner also return, but Will Smith won't be welcoming anybody to earth this time round.

7 of 44 Eric Thayer/Reuters/Corbis


Comic double act Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele bring along Method Man, Gabrielle Union and Will Forte for their own movie, inexplicably named Keanu. Woah.

8 of 44 Jay Maidment

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Former "Doctor Who" star Matt Smith mashes up Jane Austen and the undead.

9 of 44 Splash News/Corbis

Patient Zero

Matt Smith turns zombie-whisperer once again in this undead adventure, this time alongside "Game Of Thrones" and "Hunger Games" star Natalie Dormer.

10 of 44 Warner Bros. Pictures

Suicide Squad

A lineup of villains from the pages of DC Comics join forces for a suicide mission against Jared Leto's Joker. Will Smith, Cara Delevingne and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje are on the team along with Margot Robbie as cosplay favorite Harley Quinn.

11 of 44 Fox


Hotly anticipated comic book action with Ryan Reynolds as the fast-talking "merc with a mouth," Wade Wilson. Oscar-winning animator Tim Miller, the man behind the stylish opening sequences of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and "Thor: The Dark World," makes his directorial debut. Very adult carnage ensues.

12 of 44 20th Century Fox

X-Men: Apocalypse

The ninth X-Men movie sees Marvel's heroes face off against Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant, played by "Star Wars" star Oscar Isaac (pictured above with blue on his face). James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence lead the cast of multiple mutants.

13 of 44 Michael Muller/Marvel

Doctor Strange

People are strange as Benedict Cumberbatch takes on the role of Marvel's mystical medic, joined by Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelsen and Tilda Swinton.

14 of 44 Marvel


The ragin' cajun is the latest X-Men character to get his own movie, with Channing Tatum holding all the cards.

15 of 44 Lucy Nicholson/Reuters/Corbis


Speaking of Marvel stars, it doesn't get much hotter than Guardian of the Galaxy Chris Pratt and X-Woman Jennifer Lawrence in this original story of space travellers thawed out early from cryogenic sleep. "The Imitation Game" director Morten Tyldum is in charge.

16 of 44 Summit Entertainment

The Divergent Series: Allegiant

Shailene Woodley diverges once again in the third of four movies based on the novels by Veronica Roth.

17 of 44 Columbia Pictures

The 5th Wave

Chloë Grace Moretz battles aliens in this adaptation of the young adult novel by Rick Yancey.

18 of 44 Universal Pictures

Bourne 5

Matt Damon is Bourne again, with Paul Greengrass back in the director's chair for more amnesiac action adventure. Tommy Lee Jones joins "Ex Machina" star Alicia Vikander.

19 of 44 Imaginechina/Splash News/Corbis

The Great Wall

Zhang Yimou, director of "Hero" and "House of Flying Daggers," directs Matt Damon and Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau in this English language 3D fantasy adventure, the most expensive ever shot in China.

20 of 44 Mario Anzuoni/Reuters/Corbis

War Machine

Hollywood power couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are both bringing feature-length films to Netflix in 2016. Jolie's next directorial outing is an adaptation of harrowing memoir "First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers" for the streaming service. And Pitt stars as a general embroiled in the Afghanistan conflict in real-life-inspired political comedy "War Machine", directed by David Michôd.

21 of 44 Amazon

The Neon Demon

"Drive" auteur Nicolas Winding Refn directs Elle Fanning (pictured) and Keanu Reeves in this horror movie for Amazon.

22 of 44 Serge Benhamou/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny

The belated sequel to the 2000 martial arts classic sees Michelle Yeoh defying gravity once again on Netflix.

23 of 44 Disney


Roald Dahl's beloved children's tale of snozzcumbers and gizzardgulpers gets the live action treatment from Steven Spielberg, with Mark Rylance as the big friendly giant, Bill Hader as The Bloodbottler and Jemaine Clement as The Fleshlumpeater.

24 of 44 Disney

The Jungle Book

Disney continues its run of live action-ifying its library of animated classics. Jon Favreau directs with Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong'o, Scarlett Johansson and Christopher Walken lending their voices.

25 of 44 Universal Pictures

The Huntsman: Winter's War

Ditching Snow White for not one but two evil queens, this fairy tale sequel stars Charlize Theron and Emily Blunt alongside Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain and Nick Frost.

26 of 44 Disney

Alice Through the Looking Glass

This one's a sequel to Tim Burton's movie "Alice in Wonderland" based on the Lewis Carroll classic, starring Mia Wasikowska, with Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway and Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. Stephen Fry, Alan Rickman, Michael Sheen and Barbara Windsor lend their voices.

27 of 44 Pixar

Finding Dory

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, Ellen DeGeneres is back as absent-minded Dory with Albert Brooks in the animated sequel to "Finding Nemo."

28 of 44 Paramount Pictures

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Michael Bay's mean green merchandise machine shells out again, with fan favorite villains Bebop and Rocksteady joining the antics. Megan Fox returns as April O'Neil, while Johnny Knoxville and wrestler Sheamus are among the voices

29 of 44 Sony

The Angry Birds Movie

Remember Angry Birds? "Game of Thrones" star Peter Dinklage is joined by "Saturday Night Live" stars Jason Sudeikis, Maya Rudolph and Bill Hader as they lend their voices to the big-screen animated versions of the furious fowl from 2009's most vexed mobile game.

30 of 44 Universal

Warcraft: The Beginning

"Moon" director Duncan Jones takes us into the world of Warcraft, the popular fantasy role-playing game.

31 of 44 Focus Features/Gramercy Pictures

Ratchet & Clank

Fans of the game will recognize the voices of James Arnold Taylor as mechanic Ratchet and David Kaye as escaped robot Clank, not to mention Jim Ward as Captain Qwark. Paul Giamatti, Rosario Dawson and Sylvester Stallone also lend their voices.

32 of 44 20th Century Fox

Assassin's Creed

Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard sneak about in a movie adaptation of the time-bending Ubisoft video game.

33 of 44 Mario Anzuoni/Reuters/Corbis

Midnight Special

Inspired by the John Carpenter classic "Starman," Jeff Nichols directs "Boardwalk Empire" star Michael Shannon and "Star Wars" baddie Adam Driver, pictured above left showing some love to his "Force Awakens" co-star Oscar Isaac.

34 of 44 Millennium Films


Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman and Tommy Lee Jones have a craggy-old-man-off as Alice Eve and Gal Gadot (pictured above) star alongside Ryan Reynolds in a tale about a death row inmate implanted with superspy knowledge.

35 of 44 Columbia

The Brothers Grimsby

Small-town loser Sacha Baron Cohen gets into the spy game with his long-lost brother, top agent Mark Strong.

36 of 44 Zade Rosenthal/Marvel


It's special-ops vs specters in this supernatural action thriller starring Emily Mortimer and James Badge Dale (pictured above in "Iron Man 3").

37 of 44 Splash News/Corbis

Kubo and the Two Strings

Charlize Theron (pictured), Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes and George Takei lend their voices to this stop-motion animation about an aspiring samurai.

38 of 44 Universal Pictures

Hail, Caesar!

Get ready for a star-studded homage to the golden age of Hollywood from Joel and Ethan Coen, directing Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, and Ralph Fiennes.

39 of 44 Claire Folger

The Finest Hours

Chris Pine and Casey Affleck face disaster on the high seas in this 3D recounting of the true-life Pendleton rescue of 1952, when US Coast Guard crewmen heroically battled to save the crews of two stricken oil tankers.

40 of 44 Open Road


Firebrand director Oliver Stone directs Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the true-life story of Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee who leaked classified information about government surveillance to the media. Zachary Quinto and Nicolas Cage co-star.

41 of 44

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Tim Burton and Jane Goldman, writer of "Kingsman", "Kick Ass" and "X-Men: First Class" send Eva Green (pictured above in Penny Dreadful), Judi Dench and Samuel L. Jackson to a mysterious island in this adaptation of the Ransom Riggs novel.

42 of 44 STX Entertainment

The Boy

Lauren Cohan, pictured above dodging the undead in "The Walking Dead", is in horror territory once again as a nanny who discovers the young boy she's hired to look after is actually a porcelain doll. Creepiness ensues.

43 of 44 Focus Features

The Forest

"Game of Thrones" and "Hunger Games" star Natalie Dormer can't see the woods for the trees in this macabre horror set in Aokigahara, a reputedly haunted real-life forest at the base of mount Fuji in Japan where many people have ended their own lives.

44 of 44 Jonathan Olley/Leah Evans/Disney

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a group of rebel spies attempt to steal the plans for the first Death Star. Wonder how that will end... "Godzilla" helmer Gareth Edwards directs Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, and Alan Tudyk.

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