In just a few short days, we'll be saying au revoir to 2015, and ringing in 2016, a year ripe with cinematic potential. This coming year will mark the first time that two iconic superheroes will share the big screen (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), the start of Marvel Phase Three (Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange), and the end of a beloved superhero trilogy (X-Men: Apocalypse). Oh yeah, and another Star Wars movie is coming out as well (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). All of these aforementioned movies are either sequels or part of an established universe, and they all very well may be some of the biggest movies of the year. But there are also a slew of follow-ups that you may not be so familiar with.
It's certainly no secret that sequels and big franchise movies have been dominating at the box office lately. This year, seven of the top 10 movies are either sequels, or spinoffs of an existing universe (Jurassic World, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Furious 7, Minions, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 and Spectre). Of the remaining three, one was a live action remake (Cinderella), another was an adaptation (The Martian) and the other was a wholly original movie (Inside Out).
In fact, if you look farther back, you'll see that sequels have run rampant at the box office throughout the first 16 years of the 21st Century. From 2000 to 2015, the highest-grossing movie of each year belonged to a sequel in each year except five: 2014 (American Sniper), 2012 (Marvel's The Avengers), 2009 (Avatar), 2002 (Spider-Man) and 2000 (Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas). Of course, three of those were adaptations, one brought together all of the characters from the highly-successful Marvel Phase One and the the other was completely original. Are you seeing a trend developing here?
The plain and simple reason why there are so many sequels is because they make money. Every studio wants that franchise to latch onto for the long haul. Sometimes, the right sequel can turn a movie into a true franchise, but it's certainly not a sure thing. For every The Godfather: Part II, the first sequel ever to win Best Picture at the Oscars, there's a Batman & Robin, which brought the Dark Knight's franchise to a screeching halt... before it was resurrected again less than a decade later. 2016 is chocked full of sequels, reboots and other movies set in massive cinematic universes, but we're focusing our attention on 13 follow-ups that you may not be quite so familiar with... or that you have forgotten about entirely.
Some of these sequels have been in the works for years, while others are coming shortly after the original made some sort of mark at the box office. While these follow-ups may be off your proverbial cinematic radar now, some of these movies may end up being some of the biggest movies of the year, boasting A-list stars and directors alike. Of course, it's also possible that these projects fade into oblivion shortly after their release, but we'll have to wait and see if the moviegoing gods smile upon these sequels or not.
Before we begin, I'll tell you up front not to expect big-ticket projects like the aforementioned Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which is essentially a super-sized sequel to 2013's Man of Steel. You also won't find follow-ups like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Now You See Me 2, Star Trek Beyond or Independence Day: Resurgence, because they are huge, big-budget follow-ups, and because they all recently had trailers released. While some of the movies you'll find below do have trailers already out there, they aren't as highly-publicized as these aforementioned projects. So, with all of that in mind, take a look at our 13 under the radar sequels for 2016, presented in order of their theatrical release. Keep in mind, some of these release dates may changed at any point in time, so stay tuned.
1Ip Man 3 - January 22
How can you go wrong with Donnie Yen and Mike Tyson in one movie? Answer: you can't. Ip Man 3 rounds out this critically-acclaimed trilogy, with Donnie Yen reprising his role as the title character from Ip Man and Ip Man 2, a legendary martial artist who is perhaps best known as the teacher and mentor of Bruce Lee. This explosive third installment of the blockbuster martial arts series centers on Master Ip taking a stand against a band of brutal gangsters led by a crooked property developer (Mike Tyson), as they make a play to take over the city. Kwok-Kwan Chan also stars as a young Bruce Lee, but, initially, that wasn't always the case. Director Wilson Yip, who directed the first two movies as well, had originally planned on using a CGI recreation of Bruce Lee, but the late martial arts star's family filed a lawsuit against the production, to stop the use of his image through CGI. While we never got an official update on the lawsuit, Kwok-Kwan Chan was eventually cast as Bruce Lee. If you're a martial arts fan and still haven't seen the first two movies, they're both available for streaming on Netflix, so you can catch up with this action-packed saga before this sequel hits theaters next month. While the first two movies were never box office juggernauts, hopefully Ip Man 3 can breathe new life into this franchise. We'll find out for sure on January 22.