The argument can be made, Disney is King. The long-standing studio may not put out as many films a year as a Fox or Universal, but that’s because they’re more about quality over quantity. Sure, every major studio operates because of the green, but Disney is one of the very few names you can count on way more times than not. Not only do the two single biggest universes operate under their name, Star Wars and Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, but their own original content has come a long way over the last decade.
Then you add in the fact that the animation gods in Pixar is also run under Disney, and the argument is pretty much over. But it isn’t just Pixar, Disney’s own animation division has also come a very long way in just the last few years. While many of their properties are adapted from previous work, there still isn’t a way you can’t get excited about it, and that’s no different this year. Here is Disney’s 2016 slate with their studio preview:
The Finest Hours
Official synopsis: On February 18, 1952, a massive nor’easter struck New England, pummeling towns along the Eastern seaboard and wreaking havoc on the ships caught in its deadly path, including the SS Pendleton, a T-2 oil tanker bound for Boston, which was literally ripped in half, trapping more than 30 sailors inside its rapidly-sinking stern. As the senior officer on board, first assistant engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) soon realizes it is up to him to take charge of the frightened crew and inspire the men to set aside their differences and work together to ride out one of the worst storms to ever hit the East Coast. Meanwhile, as word of the disaster reaches the U.S. Coast Guard station in Chatham, Massachusetts, Warrant Officer Daniel Cluff (Eric Bana) orders a daring operation to rescue the stranded men. Despite overwhelming odds, four men, led by Coast Guard Captain Bernie Webber (Chris Pine), set out in a wooden lifeboat with an ill-equipped engine and little, if any, means of navigation, facing frigid temperatures, 60-foot high waves and hurricane-force winds.
Starring Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Casey Affleck, Holliday Grainger Kyle Gallner, and Eric Bana.
Release date: January 29th.
Official synopsis: In the animal city of Zootopia, a fast-talking fox who’s trying to make it big goes on the run when he’s framed for a crime he didn’t commit. Zootopia’s top cop, a self-righteous rabbit, is hot on his tail, but when both become targets of a conspiracy, they’re forced to team up and discover even natural enemies can become best friends.
Starring the voices of Jason Bateman, Ginnifer Goodwin, Idris Elba, J.K. Simmons, and Alan Tudyk.
Release date: March 4th.
The Jungle Book (2016)
Official synopsis: The Jungle Book is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear Baloo (voice of Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (voice of Scarlett Johansson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (voice of Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire.
Starring Neel Sethi and the voices of Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken.
Release date: April 15th.
A Beautiful Planet
Official synopsis: Our world—a magnificent blue planet, dotted with gossamer clouds and gleaming in the brilliant flood of sunlight—is changing. From space, the Earth blazes at night with the electric intensity of human expansion across the globe. But it is within our power to protect the planet. While we continue to explore and gain knowledge of our galaxy, we also develop a deeper connection to the place we all call home.
Release date: April 29th.
Captain America: Civil War
Official synopsis: Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War finds Steve Rogers leading the newly formed team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. But after another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps—one led by Steve Rogers and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability.
Starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Emily VanCamp, Paul Rudd, Chadwick Boseman, Frank Grillo, Daniel Brühl, and Martin Freeman.
Release date: May 6th.
Alice Through the Looking Glass
Official synopsis: Alice Kingsleigh (Wasikowska) has spent the past few years following in her father’s footsteps and sailing the high seas. Upon her return to London, she comes across a magical looking glass and returns to the fantastical realm of Underland and her friends the White Rabbit (Sheen), Absolem (Rickman), the Cheshire Cat (Fry) and the Mad Hatter (Depp), who is not himself. The Hatter has lost his Muchness, so Mirana (Hathaway) sends Alice on a quest to borrow the Chronosphere, a metallic globe inside the chamber of the Grand Clock which powers all time. Returning to the past, she comes across friends – and enemies – at different points in their lives, and embarks on a perilous race to save the Hatter before time runs out.
Starring Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Rhys Ifans, and Sacha Baron Cohen.
Release date: May 27th.
Official synopsis: Finding Dory takes place about a year after the first film, and features returning favorites Marlin, Nemo and the Tank Gang, among others. Set in part along the California coastline, the story also welcomes a host of new characters, including a few who will prove to be a very important part of Dory’s life.
Starring the voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ty Burrell, Willem Dafoe, Diane Keaton, and Eugene Levy.
Release date: June 17th.
Official synopsis: The BFG (Mark Rylance), while a giant himself, is a Big Friendly Giant and nothing like the other inhabitants of Giant Country. Standing 24-feet tall with enormous ears and a keen sense of smell, he is endearingly dim-witted and keeps to himself for the most part. Giants like Bloodbottler (Bill Hader) and Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) on the other hand, are twice as big and at least twice as scary and have been known to eat humans, while the BFG prefers Snozzcumber and Frobscottle. Upon her arrival in Giant Country, Sophie, a precocious 10-year-old girl from London, is initially frightened of the mysterious giant who has brought her to his cave, but soon comes to realize that the BFG is actually quite gentle and charming, and, having never met a giant before, has many questions. The BFG brings Sophie to Dream Country where he collects dreams and sends them to children, teaching her all about the magic and mystery of dreams.
Starring Ruby Barnhill, Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader, and Mark Rylance.
Release date: July 1st.
Synopsis: A young orphan seeks refuge from his abusive adoptive parents with the help of a pet dragon and a couple who live in a lighthouse.
Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Karl Urban, Wes Bentley, Robert Redford, and Oakes Fegley.
Release date: August 12th.
The Girl on the Train (2016)
Official synopsis: The story centers on Rachel (Blunt), a woman who’s jobless and an alcoholic and who spends her daily train ride fantasizing about the seemingly perfect couple living in a house that she passes. After coming home one night covered in blood and unable to remember much from a blackout drinking episode, she begins to realize that she may have witnessed or been involved in a crime.
Starring Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Luke Evans, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, and Edgar Ramirez.
Release date: October 7th.
Synopsis: Dr. Strange was a self-centered New York surgeon robbed of his touch after a car accident. After a stint as a wandering derelict, he encounters a healer in the Himalayas and learns to tap into psychic powers to battle wrongdoers.
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton.
Release date: November 4th.
Official synopsis: In the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania, Moana, a born navigator, sets sail 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.
Starring the voices of Dwayne Johnson and Auli’i Cravalho.
Release date: November 23rd.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Synopsis: Following the formation of the Galactic Empire, a rogue band of resistance fighters unite for a daring mission to steal the Death Star plans.
As with every movie studio, there are plenty of films that will become known as the year and film festivals go on; more films will continue to be introduced under the Disney umbrella.
Below you can check out our other studio previews for 2016:
- 2016 Studio Preview: Universal Pictures
- 2016 Studio Preview: Warner Bros. Pictures
- 2016 Studio Preview: Paramount Pictures
- 2016 Studio Preview: Lionsgate Films
- 2016 Studio Preview: Sony Pictures