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2016 Fall Movie Preview: 17 Blockbusters and Popcorn Offerings To Check Out This Season

Looking for a fall movie with some blockbuster flair and popcorn appeal? We've got you covered.

All this week, IndieWire will be rolling out our annual Fall Preview, including offerings that span genres, a close examination of some of the year’s biggest breakouts, all the awards contenders you need to know about now and special attention to all the new movies you need to get through a jam-packed fall movie-going season. Check back every day for a new look at the best the season has to offer, and clear your schedule, because we’re going to fill it right up.

“Morgan,” September 2

"Morgan"

“Morgan”

Stepping out of your father’s shadow is never easy when said father is beloved and successful, but it’s got to be especially difficult when it’s Ridley Scott. Sitting in the director’s chair for his very first feature, Luke Scott looks to bring the kind of white-knuckle tension and mysterious head games to the sci-fi genre as his father has done time and time again. “Morgan” stars Kate Mara as a risk-management consultant who is brought into a secluded lab to decide whether or not an artificial being should be terminated. That being is played by “The Witch” breakout Ana Taylor-Joy, and she’s not going to go down without a fight. A similar set up to “Ex Machina” is clearly on deck here, though the battles between the two women should provide a whole new level of complexities. -ZS

“Blair Witch,” September 16

"Blair Witch"

“Blair Witch”

Lionsgate

Surprise, it’s a Blair Witch movie! Adam Wingard’s latest scarefest — made and initially delivered under the title “The Woods” — shocked audiences at this year’s Comic-Con when it was revealed to be an actual, factual, dyed in the wool, fashioned into scary stick people in the woods, real, totally existent sequel to “The Blair Witch Project.” Surprises are so few and far between in the entertainment world these days, and that Wingard and his crew could pull this kind of jaw-dropper off is admirable enough, but that they did it for a property that so cannily capitalized on its own spread of misinformation as marketing in the early days of the widely used internet is especially smart. Stay away from the particulars on this — some people go into the woods, bad things happen — and buckle up for an experience that’s nearly impossible to replicate. -KE

“Bridget Jones’s Baby,” September 16

Bridget Jones's Baby

“Bridget Jones’s Baby”

Bridget is back, and is as woefully misguided as ever. Renee Zellweger and Colin Firth return for the third cinematic installment of the beloved franchise, and it does not seem like much has changed here. Bridget (Zellweger) is still adorably inept at life and love, Mark (Firth) is still a bit too rigid for his own good and their relationship is again on the rocks and once again at the mercy of a smoothie suitor (this time around, it’s Patrick Dempsey). It’s the same story as ever, but at least fans of Bridget and Mark can feel safe in the knowledge that the film isn’t cribbing right from Helen Fielding’s latest Bridget book, which is all about a dead Mark and a trying-to-get-into-online-dating-widow Bridget. Sometimes the old formulas really are best. -KE

“The Magnificent Seven,” September 23

"The Magnificent Seven"

“The Magnificent Seven”

When it comes to raw charisma, Antoine Fuqua’s remake of “The Magnificent Seven” (technically a remake of a remake) is going to be tough to beat. The time-honored story appears to be unchanged: The residents of a poor Western town, sick of being terrorized by the brigands that regularly ride through the streets and raid their supplies, hire a ragtag group of gunslingers to keep them safe. Steve McQueen (and Toshiro Mifune) certainly left big, stylish shoes to fill, but Denzel Washington might be the only one of today’s stars who we could trust to wear them with style. Joined by the likes of Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, and Korean superstar Byung-hun Lee (“I Saw the Devil”), the film’s ten-gallon charm should be enough to distract from the fact that Fuqua could never hope to outshoot John Sturges or Akira Kurosawa. –DE

“Deepwater Horizon,” September 30

"Deepwater Horizon"

“Deepwater Horizon”

The first of Peter Berg’s two 2016 directorial forays into recent American history (his “Patriot’s Day” is slated for a limited release just before Christmas), “Deepwater Horizon” looks to be a large-scale tribute to ordinary heroes that seems to be a union of two previous Berg efforts: “Friday Night Lights” and “Battleship.” Putting a human face to the BP oil spill story that dominated headlines six short years ago, Mark Wahlberg (also the star of “Patriot’s Day”) leads the ensemble cast as Mike Williams, one of the rig workers who helped to evacuate crew members after the fateful explosion. It’s the kind of big-budget biopic that serves as the ideal transition point between summer bloat and fall prestige. -SG

“Masterminds,” September 30

"Masterminds"

“Masterminds”

If you did a 180-degree turn from the effortless cool and glamor of “Ocean’s Eleven,” odds are good that you’d land somewhere facing the muted awkwardness of “Napoleon Dynamite.” So it makes sense that “Dynamite” director Jared Hess is behind the camera for this real-life amateur heist comedy with an impressive ensemble. Stuffed with SNL vets from cast members (Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis, Leslie Jones) to former hosts (Zach Galifianakis) alike, it looks like there’s plenty of goofiness to go around. Toss in Owen Wilson and some late-’90s period wackiness and you have a cyclone of styles that might just work in spite of itself. -SG

“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” September 30

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”

It hasn’t been easy for Tim Burton as of late. Everyone always hopes each new film will restore his gothic glory, and yet efforts like “Alice In Wonderland,” “Dark Shadows” and “Big Eyes” haven’t exactly shown the best of what the director can do. And yet despite these duds, it’s impossible not to look forward to “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children.” Based on the novel by Ransom Riggs, the story about ostracized oddballs living in strange harmony on a deserted island couldn’t be more perfect for Burton. Even better, Eva Green sinks her teeth into the lead role. “Miss Peregrine” might be Burton’s last chance to redeem himself, and it’s perhaps the best project to do so. -ZS

Check out October’s best blockbuster offerings on the next page. 

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