Disney’s 2016 Slate: 13 Titles Include ‘Alice’ Sequel, ‘Star Wars’ Spinoff

Alice Through the Looking Glass
Courtesy of Disney

Disney scooped up giant hunks of the world’s movie audience in 2015, concluding the year with the record-busting “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” The studio’s Disney’s complete movie calendar for 2016, released with synopses and artwork Tuesday, is highlighted by “Star Wars” spinoff “Rogue One,” along with potential powerhouses from its Pixar and Marvel subsidiaries.

“Rogue One” is a stand-alone in the Star Wars universe, depicting events prior to “Star Wars: A New Hope.” The Christmas-season film tells the story of resistance fighters out to steal plans to the malevolent Death Star.

The 13-film Disney list includes blockbusters-in-waiting like “Rogue One” and Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War,” but also lesser known offerings, such as “The Finest Hours” and a remake of a much-loved piece from the studio’s library in “Jungle Book,” the Jon Favreau retelling of the Rudyard Kipling story, employing an amalgamation of live action with animated elements.

Disney finished 2015 with a company record with $5.85 billion in worldwide grosses. Little is left to chance for most of the 2016 followups in the Mouse House, with the majority of its films spun off from previous films or classic stories that will be released on the following dates:

Jan. 29: “The Finest Hours” — Chris Pine stars in the story of a daring Coast Guard rescue mission.

March 4: “Zootopia,” is the 55th feature from Disney Animation Studios and features a bunny who is a rookie cop on the Zootopia police force, teaming with a conniving fox to solve a mystery. The starring roles are voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin as officer Judy Hopps and Jason Bateman as the fox, Nick Wilde.

April 15: “Jungle Book,” centered on man-cub Mowgli, returns to the screen April 15, with newcomer Neel Sethi in the title role and an array of name actors as the animated jungle characters, including the panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley), the free-spirited Bear Baloo (Bill Murray) and the mother wolf Raksha (Lupita Nyong’o.)

May 16: “Captain America: Civil War” — Chris Evans’ Captain America squares off against Robert Downey Jr.’s Ironman in the May 16 Marvel release, dividing the rest of the hero universe into warring camps.

May 27: “Alice Through the Looking Glass” has Alice back in Underland on a mission to save the Mad Hatter, played by Johnny Depp. Director James Bobin will imagine a new take on Lewis Carroll’s story, as Tim Burton did with 2010’s “Alice in Wonderland.”

June 17: “Finding Dory” is a sequel to 2003’s “Finding Nemo,” which won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. The blue tang Dory goes looking for answers about her past, with an assist from Nemo and others.

July 1: “The BFG” has director Steven Spielberg reinventing the classic Roald Dahl story of a little girl who befriends a Big Friendly Giant and others in Giant Country. It’s the final DreamWorks film released by Disney before Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners enters a new distribution deal with Universal.

August 12: “Pete’s Dragon” re-imagines an earlier Disney family film of the same name, about a boy named Pete and his best friend, a dragon named Elliott. Among the stars are Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley and Wes Bentley.

Fall: “Queen of Katwe” marks an exception to the Disney formula: It’s an original story. Starring Lupita Nyong’o, the film tells the story of a girl whose world expands from the streets of Uganda to a larger world when she becomes a chess whiz. Along with her voice work in “The Force Awakens” and “Jungle Book” and her live action turn here, Nyong’o is fast becoming a Disney mainstay.

Nov. 4: Doctor Strange features Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role, as a doctor who discovers magic and alternative realities after suffering a terrible accident. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Rachel McAdams also star in the second film of the year from the world of Marvel.

Nov. 23: “Moana” is Disney animation’s story about a girl who sets out on a mission to prove herself, with the aide of a demi-god, Maui. The title role goes to newcomer Auli’i Cravalho, who emerged from a casting call that spanned the Pacific and involved hundreds of young women. Dwayne Johnson voices Maui.

Dec. 16: “Rogue One” — Director Gareth Edwards leads a cast that includes Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn and Forest Whitaker.

Unknown: “The Light Between Oceans” from DreamWorks Pictures has been looking for a release window for some time. It still doesn’t have one for the film, starring Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander that the studio says is about “fate, love, moral dilemmas and the lengths to which one couple will go to see their dreams realized.”



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  1. Emily says:

    The Light Between Oceans is a Dream Works film, not a Disney film.

  2. Ian.b.waterhouse@gmail.com says:

    Moana is not Pixar. It is Walt Disney Animation Studios.

  3. chris says:

    Moana is not from Pixar.. It’s Disney only..

  4. Bea of FakeABaby says:

    Wow, it’s gonna be an awesome 2016 for sure! Finding Dory would be my fave. :D

  5. Courtney says:

    Moana isn’t a Pixar film, it’s a Disney Animation film. 👌

  6. jluckhurst41 says:

    like many before me has said, so many errors in this article. not just release date of civil war which is wrong, moana not being pixar but disney animation, it even says it included 13 releases, yet only 12 are mentioned. missing is probably zootopia which everyone here in comments are reacting to.

    also, whole things is basically just advertising for disney. this is what they want when they send out these press releases. why fall for the hype. do a write up for all film from all companies, or pick out interesting offerings from all across the board coming in the next year or whatever. i guess this is easy work, done in a few minutes. shame really, not variety worthy.

  7. hnim says:

    I’m pretty sure Queen of Katwe does not count as an “original story” when it’s based on the same-titled non-fiction book by Tim Crothers.

  8. Moana is Walt Disney Animation Studios film, not Pixar.

  9. crossie says:

    Actually counting, you apparently remembered ‘Zootopia’, just forgot to list it.

  10. Liz says:

    Where is the girl on the train?

  11. Anonymous says:

    May 6th release date for Civil War, not 16th; Rogue One, not Rogue War; poor write-up, not quality journalism; etc;

  12. Anonymous says:

    Seriously, Variety has gone downhill…

  13. Pixworks says:

    So no Zootopia and Moana is DISNEY not PIXAR. This writer has almost no idea what he’s writing about.

  14. imustseemovie.com says:

    can’t wait for Alice

  15. Will says:

    Moana is not Pixar

  16. crossie says:

    So, uh, ‘Zootopia’?

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