It’s important to note that the entire film industry does not halt now that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has officially opened to adoring masses.
Actors still act. Directors direct. Key grips keep gripping.
In fact, the new year promises plenty of tasty cinematic entrées: best-selling literary adaptations, superhero get-togethers, alien invasions, wizards, ghosts, zombies and Oliver Stone.
Here is a preview of the major box-office hopefuls and other significant films coming in 2016 (release dates subject to change):
Never miss a local story.
“The 5th Wave”
Promising to crank up the xenophobic paranoia in America another notch, “The 5th Wave” details the destabilizing steps unleashed by hostile extraterrestrials. Chloë Grace Moretz (“Kick-Ass”) stars in an adaptation of the twisty Rick Yancey novel as one of the few Earth survivors awaiting the final stage of a planetary conquest. (Jan. 22)
“Jane Got a Gun”
Despite a title that riffs on the ’80s rock song by Aerosmith, “Jane Got a Gun” delivers an old-fashioned Western. Natalie Portman reteams with Ewan McGregor for their first non-“Star Wars” collaboration, playing a frontier wife whose husband (Noah Emmerich) runs afoul of the brutal Bishop Boys gang led by McGregor. With no one else to help, she turns to a former fiancé (Joel Edgerton) for protection. (Jan. 29)
“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”
Many of English novelist Jane Austen’s works reside in the public domain. That’s one of the reasons she inspires so many film versions, none quite so revisionist as this one. Lily James of TV’s “Downton Abbey” stars as witty Elizabeth Bennet, who must juggle suitors from various social classes and battle a legion of the undead. (Feb. 5)
The first of the season’s superhero offerings could prove the wackiest. Ryan Reynolds (“Green Lantern”) moves from DC to Marvel to portray the title character: an irreverent, scarred mercenary with healing powers and twin swords. Expect the film to share the comic book’s penchant for breaking the fourth wall. Also, expect the R-rated flick to be far less kid-friendly to audiences anticipating another “Guardians of the Galaxy.” (Feb. 12)
“The Brothers Grimsby”
There’s something provocative about casting stoic Mark Strong as a British secret agent and zany Sacha Baron Cohen as his soccer hooligan brother. A stylistic clash for sure. Circumstances compel these men to work together and fend off the threat of a sexy terrorist (Penélope Cruz). Action veteran Louis Leterrier of “Transporter” fame directs. (March 11)
“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”
Even by this decade’s standards, 2016 seems overloaded with superhero movies. Just as “The Avengers” first gathered the Marvel heroes into one picture, “Batman v Superman” presages the Justice League, with new Batman actor Ben Affleck challenging “Man of Steel” star Henry Cavill. But that’s not all: Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Aquaman (Jason Mamoa) enter the fray. (March 25)
“Captain America: Civil War”
“The Avengers” finally assembled their full lineup in “Age of Ultron.” Now “Civil War” breaks them apart. The 13th installment of the Marvel Universe finds Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) leading opposing factions of the team. The split transpires when the government attempts to regulate the Avengers, and Cap becomes wary of those in charge. (May 6)
Hero to some, villain to others. It’s pretty clear where director Oliver Stone will side in his biopic of CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who leaked thousands of classified documents to the press. Joseph Gordon-Levitt takes the lead. Last year’s Snowden documentary “Citizenfour” won an Oscar. But Stone’s narrative film got pushed from qualifying for this year’s awards after he revealed the effects weren’t completed for the original Christmas release date. (May 13)
“X-Men: First Class” took place in the 1960s. Most of “X-Men: Days of Future Past” happened in the 1970s. Now “X-Men: Apocalypse” flirts with the most garish/annoying decade yet: the 1980s. Will they battle Reaganomics? Get forced to solve a Rubik’s Cube? No, the squad faces the world’s first mutant (Oscar Isaac), a near immortal being who threatens to radically reshape society to his vision. (May 27)
Considering how fast Pixar cranked out a “Cars” sequel, it’s surprising the animation juggernaut took more than a dozen years to craft one for “Finding Nemo.” Ellen DeGeneres returns as the spacy blue tang fish, who goes on a quest to reunite with her own family in California, accompanied by clownfish Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence). (June 17)
“Independence Day: Resurgence”
Is there really that much interest in a sequel to 1996’s “Independence Day”? Apparently enough to dedicate a $200 million budget to the alien attack project, which reunites original director Roland Emmerich with cast members Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox and Jeff Goldblum, but not Will Smith, who demanded a $50 million payday to appear. “Welcome to Earth!” (June 24)
The title is awful — and stands for something quite different to gamers — but the fact that “The BFG” is directed by Steven Spielberg means this fantasy adventure is not to be ignored. It has taken 25 years of development to produce this adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “Big Friendly Giant,” which concerns a girl (Ruby Barnhill) who befriends an outcast giant (Bill Hader) that refuses to eat children. The project marks the first reunion of Spielberg and “E.T.” writer Melissa Mathison, who died of cancer in November. (July 1)
Hard to believe such controversy could surround a reboot of a film about a group of men who chase slimy spirits and colossal marshmallows. The operative word is “men,” which evidently rattled the sensibilities of purists who objected to this all-female spin on the classic comedy helmed by Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”). Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones play the Manhattan girls who battle the ghouls. (July 15)
DC Comics’ other anticipated blockbuster is like the bizarro version of the Justice League (but without Bizarro). “The Suicide Squad” is the nickname given a task force of supervillains recruited by a clandestine government agency and sent on dangerous missions in exchange for shorter prison terms. If the notion of Jared Leto as the Joker isn’t enticing enough, then how about Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn? (Aug. 5)
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
Prequels don’t have to feature only Clones and Sith Lords. Five years after the final “Harry Potter” exited theaters comes J.K. Rowling’s adventure focusing on Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a “magizoologist” logging mystical creatures in New York’s sorcery community 70 years before young Harry ever picked up a wand. (Nov. 18)
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
See, the “Star Wars” hype never really ends. This same time next December will introduce a prequel (but not like the yucky George Lucas prequels) involving a band of rebels who embark on a mission shortly before the events of “A New Hope” to steal the plans for the Empire’s dreaded Death Star. Felicity Jones stars (as Princess Leia perhaps?), and Gareth Edwards (the awesome 2014 “Godzilla”) directs. (Dec. 16)
Jon Niccum is a filmmaker, freelance writer and author of “The Worst Gig: From Psycho Fans to Stage Riots, Famous Musicians Tell All.”