20 movies for 2016 you don’t know about yet, but totally should

2016 movie guide the free state of jones header
Sure, everyone knows that Batman V. Superman and the next Star Wars movie are coming to theaters later this year, but what about the films that don’t have marketing budgets the size of some countries’ gross domestic product?

The 2016 movie slate is filled with big-budget projects that we’ve heard about for a while now and will continue to hear about right up until they arrive in theaters (and in some cases, a long time after). But they’re not the only movies you’ll want to keep on your radar this year.

In the interest of making sure you don’t miss out on some of 2016’s lower-profile projects with a lot of potential, here are 20 films you’ll want to look out for in theaters this year.

Yoga Hosers


January 24

The second film in Kevin Smith’s “True North” trilogy follows a pair of Canadian teenagers (played by the daughters of Kevin Smith and Johnny Depp) who are forced to battle an ancient evil in order to attend a high-school party. The film reunites much of the cast of Smith’s 2014 horror film Tusk, and will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival before getting a wider release.

The Witch

February 26

When the first trailer for this film debuted back in August 2015, it was widely regarded as one of the scariest movie trailers in recent history and generated a lot of buzz for the film. The movie follows a Puritan family who moves out of their village and into the wilderness, only to have their lives spiral into darkness when a missing baby leads to a literal witch hunt.

Midnight Special

March 18

This film was originally expected to premiere in 2015, but the delayed release hasn’t diminished anticipation for it. It follows a father and son who go on the run after discovering that the boy has powerful psychic abilities, and the pair finds themselves being chased by a cult of religious zealots and a shadowy government agency who will both stop at nothing to get their hands on the boy. The cast includes Michael Shannon, Adam Driver, Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton, and Sam Shepard.

Miles Ahead

April 1

Don Cheadle makes his directorial debut with this biopic of jazz musician Miles Davis. The Iron Man 3 actor portrays Davis in the film, which he also co-wrote. Honestly, it’s a little surprising that it’s taken this long for a Miles Davis biopic to happen, but the film has already earned rave reviews from early screenings, so fans of Davis’ music will certainly want to mark their calendars.

Green Room

April 15

A punk band witnesses a murder at a remote venue they’re playing, only to learn that the club is run by vicious Neo Nazis who will do anything to keep the band’s members from escaping alive. While that premise alone makes for a compelling storyline, here’s the kicker: Patrick Stewart plays the leader of the skinheads. Yeah, this is definitely one to keep an eye on.

Everybody Wants Some

April 15

Described by director Richard Linklater as a “spiritual sequel” to his films Dazed and Confused and Boyhood, Everybody Wants Some follows a freshman at a Texas university enjoying the newfound freedom of college life in the ’80s. It’s been said that the film will do for the ’80s what Dazed and Confused did for the ’70s, so the bar is set pretty high for this one.

The Free State of Jones

May 13

Matthew McConaughey plays a Mississippi farmer who opts to fight against the Confederacy in this Civil War drama based on a true story. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Gary Ross (SeabiscuitThe Hunger Games) directs the film, which isn’t getting a lot of attention now, but is likely to be the focus of quite a bit of debate as we get closer to its premiere.

Money Monster

May 13

Jodie Foster directs this drama about an average Joe who loses his family’s entire savings due to a bad tip from a television investing guru and decides to take everyone on the show hostage in an attempt to raise the stock’s price. Along with Foster behind the camera, the film features a stellar cast that includes George Clooney (as the investing guru), Julia Roberts, and Dominic West.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

May 20

Neighbors generated a lot of great buzz when it first hit theaters in 2014, and the raunchy film about a young couple that goes to war with the fraternity house that moved in next door ended up being one of the year’s unexpected hits. A sequel became inevitable, and the follow-up film brings back core cast members Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, and Dave Franco, while also adding Chloe Grace Moretz and Selena Gomez to the cast. We already know that Moretz can hold her own when it comes to bawdy shock-and-awe performances (just watch Kick-Ass for proof), and the whole project is shaping up to be an even raunchier affair than the first film.

The Nice Guys

May 20

The Internet practically exploded when the first trailer for this dark comedy was released in December, as it’s exactly the sort of film director/co-writer Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang BangIron Man 3) excels at bringing to the screen, and features what seems to be some fantastic, pitch-perfect casting all around. Set in 1970s Los Angeles, the film follows a hapless private investigator played by Ryan Gosling who must team up with an intimidating leg-breaker (Russell Crowe) to solve a missing person case that goes deeper than either of them expected. Kim Basinger (L.A. Confidential), Matt Bomer (White Collar), Keith David (They Live), and Margaret Qualley (The Leftovers) play supporting roles in the film, which may have one of the year’s best trailers if online buzz is the measure.

Next page: 10 more movies you should know about

Movies & TV

'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' is one of the hero's best movies ever

One of Spider-Man's most memorable big-screen adventures, animated feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse simultaneously feels like nothing we've ever seen before and a tale that feels familiar in all the best ways.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (December 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ ‘Bumblebee,’ ‘Alita,’ and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's the first trailer for Avengers: Endgame, as well as new trailers for Alita: Battle Angel and Bumblebee.
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Home Theater

What’s new on Netflix and what’s leaving in January 2019

Our complete list of what's new on Netflix for January 2019 and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on your bingeing, and also ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming ether.
Movies & TV

Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange’ sequel conjures up a director and a release date

Doctor Strange director and co-writer Scott Derrickson will return to helm the Sorcerer Supreme's next big-screen adventure. Filming will begin in 2020, after Strange's mysterious Avengers: Endgame fate is resolved.
Movies & TV

Our first look at 'The Punisher' season 2 hints at January 2019 premiere

The Punisher is getting a second season on Netflix, with Jon Bernthal returning to play Marvel Comics' gun-toting antihero, Frank Castle. Here's everything we know about season 2 of The Punisher so far.
Movies & TV

Pedro Pascal officially cast as 'The Mandalorian' as Disney show fills out cast

The Mandalorian, Jon Favreau's live-action Star Wars series planned for Disney's streaming video service, will be one of the most expensive television shows ever made. Here's everything we know about it so far.
Movies & TV

A ‘Venom’ sequel is on its way, and Spider-Man could play a role

'Venom' screenwriter Jeff Pinker confirms that a follow-up to Sony's Spider-Man spin-off is in the works. Could a certain friendly neighborhood webslinger join the action? Pinker says that it's "not impossible."
Home Theater

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ season 2 gets a new, Spock-heavy trailer

CBS has released a new trailer for Star Trek: Discovery season 2, which premieres January 17 on CBS All Access. The new trailer features series newcomers Spock and Christopher Pike prominently.
Movies & TV

Netflix is testing an instant scene-replay feature, but would you use it?

Ever felt like Netflix was missing a scene-replay button? The company is currently trialing a feature that lets you skip back to the start of the scene you just watched, though early tests appear to be annoying some viewers.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Movies & TV

Celebrate the 25th anniversary of ‘The X-Files’ with the show’s 10 best episodes

The X-Files premiered 25 years ago, so here are the 10 best episodes of the award-winning sci-fi series. From alien-abduction drama to hilarious satires, these are the best episodes from all 11 seasons of the hit series.
1 of 2