2016 has been a great year for films. 4 of them have crossed the $1 billion mark, a rare feat that shows the strength of the films released last year. Most of them though are high-budget sci-fi movies, animated films or had superhero characters. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that the film industry has done a great job in 2016 when a lot of people thought it would continue to decline. There were even some films that surprisingly made it to the top even if there was no hype surrounding them.
Let us take a look at 10 of the highest grossing films of 2016 and determine why they were such a huge hit, not just in the US, but also around the world.
10. Suicide Squad
Bad reviews just can’t put a film down in some cases. Suicide Squad is an example. On its opening week, this film has already amassed a huge amount, making it the biggest opening weekend of all time for a film released in August. After negative reviews started flooding the Internet, its second week income dropped by 67.5%. Luckily, it did well internationally, raking over $400 million. This star-studded film had a really crappy storyline, but the producers were able to market it really well. Hence, its opening weekend comprised 41% of its total income. As soon as more people saw the film, it became apparent that it was really not to their liking. This discouraged other viewers from watching. Some obscure DC Comics villains were tasked to fight even more obscure villains in order to save the world. If that storyline isn’t already funny, what is? The only good thing to come out of this movie was Margot Robbie who did a phenomenal job as Harley Quinn, and has propelled her to stardom.
9. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
This Harry Potter spin-off was already expected to do well. Harry Potter fanatics just can’t get enough of the novel that has taken the world by storm in the 2000’s. It has been some time since the last installment of the film was released. Therefore, seeing a spin-off at this point has awakened the Harry Potter fan in all of us. Earning over $746 worldwide, it was one of Warner Bros. biggest films in 2016. However, coming from a Harry Potter franchise, they expected it to perform better.
This movie was the biggest shocker of 2016 for several reasons. The story itself was totally unique, and something that you have never heard of before. Superhero movies, especially those that came from Marvel or DC, are expected to do well. However, 20th Century Fox, came up with a novel idea, presenting a quirky character in a naughty superhero film that had an R rating. With the help of their clever marketing techniques, Deadpool was well-received. It earned over $363 million in the US and over $700 worldwide. It is also the highest grossing R-rated film of all time. It even did better than X-Men. Its massive success propelled rumors that there could be a Deadpool 2. The more shocking part is that the film also earned positive reviews from critics. It was even nominated for Golden Globes. Even Ryan Reynolds was nominated for an acting award. Considering that Reynolds didn’t have a massive hit since 2012’s Safe House, this movie has totally transformed his career. There were even rumors that it could get the Academy’s nod too. Sadly, it didn’t happen.
7. The Secret Life of Pets
2016 was not necessarily a great year for Universal, especially after coming off from a great 2015. The good thing is that this film has made a mark and reached over $875 million in worldwide income. Animated films did really last year and this film was one of the recipients. It is also the only non-Disney animated film to have made it in the top 10 highest grossing films of 2016. In fact, the plot was very simple. It was just a story of what pets normally do when their owners are not around to see them. During this movie’s release, Finding Dory was still in theater. However, it held its own and managed to make it big. Perhaps, being just a feel-good, somewhat funny movie, tailor-made for kids, made it a success.
6. The Jungle Book
This Disney film didn’t have high expectations at first. It was just a simple remake of a classic cartoon entitled man-cub. It revolves around a boy’s adventure with wild animals around him. This was considered a huge gamble for Disney as it did not involve an extremely popular character or a unique plot. It is also a re-imagination of a 1967 animated film, which pretty much no one remembers. However, this gamble paid off when they have almost hit the $1 billion mark. In the US, it performed quite well with over $364 million. Its overseas receipts though have put it over the top. The great review it has received from critics was the main reason why it did really well on the big screen.
5. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
After taking home over $870 million in the box office, you might think that this film was a major success. In fact, it was one of the biggest bombs of 2016. There was too much hype surrounding this Warner Bros. DC Comics film. Upon release, it earned negative reviews from critics, seriously affecting the film. This is also a new beginning for DC Comics as it plans to release more films in 2017. Therefore, they didn’t just need this film to do well. They want it to be on top. Apparently, it didn’t, and it could seriously put the upcoming films in question. The hype surrounding the film was due to the inevitable battle between two major superhero characters. Apparently, the film barely touched that subject and the actual fight between the two was a snoozefest to say the least. It was also an obvious commercial for the upcoming movies that they are planning to release. Hence, it earned the ire of several DC Comics fans.
2016 was definitely Disney’s year. Zootopia is another surprise hit of 2016, taking home $1.023 billion. It only made $341.2 million in the US, but was a big hit overseas. The reason behind its success is that it earned fantastic reviews and has impressed critics. It also has a surprising message about stereotypes, bringing some political themes into the fold. The whole film was a kiddie version of a crime drama, involving a cute little bunny and a sly fox. Who wouldn’t love that?
3. Finding Dory
Yet another Disney film that reached the $1 billion mark is Finding Dory. This long-awaited sequel didn’t disappoint, with kids of all ages raving over it. In 2003, Disney released Finding Nemo which also did well in the big screen. Fourteen years later, the sequel was released. It was quite a long gap between the first movie and its sequel. In fact, not all belated sequels have succeeded. Zoolander 2 and Bridget Jones’s Baby were huge movie bombs of 2016. In the case of Finding Dory, not only did it do well, it was also dubbed as the highest-grossing opening for a movie rated PG and the highest grossing PG movie ever. This film centers on the forgetful Dory who was searching for her parents. Nemo and his father tried helping her along the way. With the popular Ellen DeGeneres as the voice behind Dory, this movie became even more popular. It would be a challenge for the creators attempting to have another sequel in the future.
2. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
It was a close match between Rogue One and Captain America: Civil War for the highest grossing film of 2016. Nevertheless, both movies did an amazing job. For Rogue One, it was already expected that it would do really well. Previous Star Wars movies have also reached over $1 billion in the box office. Though it is a high figure, it was a lot lower than The Force Awakens that reached the $2 billion mark. It was a wise move for Disney to release the movie on the last few weeks of 2016, so it continues its dominance until 2017, including the holiday season. Of course, this movie didn’t disappoint. The storyline was very simple but the visual effects and the buildup of the story made fans wanting for more. It centered around a group of rebels with the leadership of Jyn Erso played by Felicity Jones, who wanted to steal the plans to the Death Star just before bigger events are set to happen.
1. Captain America: Civil War
Topping the list is Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, amassing $1.153 billion. Note that this is the Marvel’s only film that has made the top 10 highest grossing films on 2016. It was indeed a great year for Marvel. For a film that casts almost all superheroes you can think of, it is no longer a surprise that it came out on top. With Chris Evans reprising his role as Captain American and Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man plus the appearance of the new Spider-Man, Tom Holland, it was a star-studded cast that made superhero fans go crazy. In the US alone, it has brought home over $408 million. The reviews were just fine though. The movie was set as a fight between Team Captain America and Team Iron Man, with their own set of squads. They marketed it in such a way that people have to watch to see who wins. Nevertheless, it didn’t disappoint.
Let us see what is in store for us for 2017. There are a lot of big movies lined up. It would be great to see which of them would end up on top, and which one would bomb in the theaters.