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Movie Chart

Movie Licensing 2016–2019: Comics to Account for Almost One-Third of All Titles

This is the era of the comic book movie, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon.

If the fact that Avengers: Age of Ultron took in $191 million in the U.S. in its opening weekend this month, en route to a projected $1 billion globally, isn’t proof enough, consider this: TLL’s chart of films with strong licensing potential scheduled for release in 2016 through 2019 shows 31 films based on comic book properties headed to theaters. They represent a brash 29% of the 106 films on the list, almost double last year’s 16%.

The increase is overwhelmingly due to the aggressive development schedule that Disney, Fox and Sony have established for Marvelbased movies: 17 Marvel movies appear on the list, 16% of the total, as sequels and spin-offs proliferate for the Avengers, X-Men, Spider- Man and Fantastic Four franchises.

The development of films based on DC Comics at Warner Bros. is a lesser but still potent factor. The studio will follow 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with six more titles including two movies about the Justice League as a group and three based on individual members Wonder Woman, Aquaman and the Flash. Valiant Comics will also get into the act, with Bloodshot planned for a 2017 release.

In a reverse from last year, a smaller percentage of films on the list are sequels: 46%, compared to 56% in 2014. This is due in part to the comics properties, since some of the films in developments are spin-offs of well-known franchises, rather than sequels to prior films. The list does, however, reflect two sequels to James Cameron’s Avatar, the highest grossing film of all time. Reboots (also known as remakes) also grew to 14% of the total, from 11% last year.

The percentage of movies based on familiar toy or television properties also grew, with toys spawning 7% and TV 8% of films in the pipeline. Last year, TV was the source of 5% of films, and toys 2%.

Source of Licensable Film Projects for Release from 2016–2019
Note: The same film may appear in multiple categories.
(in millions of U.S. dollars)
Source Number Percentage
Sequels 49 46%
Book adaptations 24 23%
Comic books/strips 31 29%
Reboots 15 14%
Video games/apps 5 5%
TV 9 8%
Toys 7 7%

From a licensing perspective, it is important to recognize that the most licensable titles are those with a history of past success, and film sequels, reboots, and those inspired by TV and toys all can fall into this area.

The number of new titles that are original to the film medium grew to 10 on the current chart (9% of all titles), from 4 (5%) a year ago. This includes two Star Wars films, however, that are spinoffs from the franchise but not technically sequels or reboots, so they have been included as original films. Seven of the other eight original properties are animated.

Book adaptations fell slightly to 23% of listed films, from 27% a year earlier, and video games/apps inspired 5% of listed films (6% last year).

All of the release dates for movies on the list have been checked against multiple sources, but there is still a high probability that dates will change. The further in the future a film is, the more likely its release date is to move.

See an updated version of the chart below here.

Licensed Feature Films
Film (Description)Planned ReleaseFilm CompanySequelRebootBookGameToyComicOriginalTV
The Nut Job 2Sequel to 2014's The Nut Job, based on a short film. Cupcake Digital made a mobile game for the first film.1/15/16Open Road FilmsX
Ride Along 2Sequel to 2014 comedy Ride Along, in which a security guard (Kevin Hart) tries to prove himself by joining a 24 hour police patrol.1/15/16UniversalX
Kung Fu Panda 3Jack Black again voices Po in the third film in the Kung Fu Panda franchise.3/18/16DreamWorks AnimationX
DeadpoolRyan Reynolds stars in this X-Men spin-off as the former Special Forces operative turned mercenary who gains accelerated healing powers after a rogue experiment. 2/12/1620th Century Fox X 1 X
Zoolander 2Sequel 15 years in the making reteams Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson as international fashion superstars Derek Zoolander and Hansel.2/12/16ParamountX
Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesLily James (Disney's Cinderella) stars in the adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s 2009 novel, a mashup of the zombie genre with Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” Book sold over 1.5 million copies in the U.S.2/5/16Screen Gems X
Ben HurA falsely accused nobleman survives years of slavery to take vengeance on his best friend who betrayed him in this MGM remake of the 1959 Charlton Heston classic. 2/26/16Paramount Pictures XX
Peregrine's Home for PeculiarsTim Burton's adaptation of the Ransom Riggs' young adult novel.3/4/1620th Century Fox X
ZootopiaCG animated film about a fox framed for a crime and chased by a rabbit police officer. Directed by Tangled's Byron Howard.3/4/16Walt Disney Studios X
Christ the Lord: Out of EgyptIn this Easter release based on the novel by Anne Rice, a 7 year-old Jesus Christ discovers the truth about his birth and his purpose in life. 3/11/16Universal Pictures X
Monster TrucksLive action/CGI film based on the popularity of the titular vehicles.3/18/16Paramount Pictures X
The Divergent Series: Allegiant (Part 1)Second sequel and Part 1 of the finale to the Divergent young adult trilogy, starring Shailene Woodley.3/18/16Lionsgate X X
Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeZack-Snyder directed sequel to Man of Steel, once again starring Henry Cavill as Superman, with Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman.3/25/16Warner Bros. X 1
Beverly Hills Cop 4Eddie Murphy returns as Axel Foley, this time in Detroit. Directed by Brett Ratner.3/25/16Paramount PicturesX
The Jungle BookLive action version of the Disney adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling novel, directed by Jon Favreau and featuring the voices of Idris Elba and Scarlett Johansson.4/15/16Walt Disney Studios XX
The Best Man WeddingNext installment in the Best Man franchise. 4/15/16UniversalX
The HuntsmanChris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron reprise their roles in sequel to 2012's Snow White and the Huntsman.4/22/16UniversalX X
Captain America: Civil WarThe third Captain America film will be rooted in the Civil War story line from Marvel's comic books.5/6/16Walt Disney StudiosX 1
Friday the 13th RebootReboot is being teased as answering the decades-old question of why slasher Jason Voorhes can't be killed. Michael Bay is a producer.5/13/16Paramount Pictures X
Angry Birds3-D animated film developed, produced and financed by IP rights owner Rovio Entertainment. Licensing partners for the game include Commonwealth (toys), Penguin (publishing) and Calego (bags).5/20/16Sony Pictures X
X-Men: ApocalypseThird sequel in the Origins series and eighth film in the X-Men series.5/27/1620th Century FoxX 1
Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking GlassJohnny Depp and Mia Wasikowska reprise their roles in the sequel to 2010's Alice in Wonderland. Tim Burton again directs. 5/27/16Walt Disney StudiosX X
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2This $1 billion licensing brand is back with the pizza-loving Turtles in a new adventure.6/3/16Paramount Pictures X 1 X
Sausage PartyR-rated animated film based on a story by Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill, who also lend their voices. 6/3/16Sony Pictures X
WarcraftDuncan Jones directs Colin Farrell in a film based on Blizzard Entertainment's popular action/fantasy series.6/10/16Universal Pictures X
Finding DoryAlbert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres reprise their voicing roles in Finding Nemo sequel. Licensees for the original film include Zak Designs, Random House.6/17/16Walt Disney StudiosX
Independence Day 2Director Roland Emmerich is behind the camera again for this sequel to 1996 blockbuster Independence Day.6/24/1620th Century FoxX
TarzanLive action 3D film featuring the Edgar Rice Burroughs character, starring Alexander Skarsgaard, Samuel L. Jackson, Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz.7/1/16Warner Bros. X
The BFGSteven Spielberg helms this adaptation of the Roald Dahl book about a young girl on an adventure with a benevolent giant.7/1/16Walt Disney Studios X
Star Trek 3Third film in the new Star Trek series. Chris Pine and other key cast members reprise their roles. The Fast & Furious franchise's Justin Lin directs. 7/8/16Paramount PicturesX X
The Secret Life of PetsIllumination Entertainment created an original 3D animated movie about the daily lives of pets after their masters leave home. Featuring the voices of Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet and Kevin Hart.7/8/16Universal Pictures X
Ice Age 5Fourth sequel in the CG-animated film series about animals traveling during the Ice Age. Previous licensees for the series include Bioworld (apparel), Activision (video games), Gameloft (mobile games).7/15/1620th Century FoxX
Ghostbusters Reboot of the 1984 action comedy, this time with women (including Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig) as the Ghostbusters.7/22/16Sony Pictures X
Knights of the RoundtableGuy Ritchie's retelling of the King Arthur story, which the studio hopes to make a new franchise of multiple installments.7/22/16Warner Bros. X
Suicide SquadIn this DC Comics property, a group of supervillains is recruited for duty deemed too dangerous for superheroes. Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto and Jesse Eisenberg are part of the squad.8/5/16Warner Bros. 1
Pete's DragonLive action, non-musical reimagining of the 1977 film about orphan Pete and his best friend Eliot, who is a (CGI) dragon. 8/12/16Walt Disney Studios X
StorksAnimated adventure featuring the voices of Andy Samberg and Kelsey Grammer.9/23/16Warner Bros. X
GambitChanning Tatum stars in this X-Men spinoff.10/7/1620th Century Fox 1
Monster HighBased on the Mattel toy line, children of famous monsters experience high school in this live action musical. 10/7/16Universal Pictures 1 X
Dr. StrangeBenedict Cumberbatch stars as the brilliant but arrogant surgeon who is trained by a sorcerer to defend the world against evil.11/4/16Walt Disney Studios 1
Trolls Animated film based on the classic dolls tells the stories of how the Trolls came into their colorful hair.11/4/16DreamWorks Animation 1
Sinister SixSpinoff designed to strengthen Sony's Spider-Man franchise focuses on Spidey's supervillain enemies. 11/11/16Sony Pictures 1
Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find ThemThis Harry Potter spinoff, by J.K. Rowling, is based on the Hogwarts text book and follows the adventures of author Newt Scamander.11/18/16Warner Bros. X
MoanaA bold teenage girl travels through the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania.11/23/16Walt Disney Studios X
Star Wars: Rogue One The first Star Wars "anthology film" (aka spinoff), Rogue One is set between Episodes III and IV. Directed by Gareth Edwards. 12/16/16Walt Disney Studios X
Assassin's CreedBased on the Ubisoft video game series, plot centers on a man played by Michael Fassbender who learns his ancestors were trained assassins and travels back in time to retrieve historical artifacts.12/21/1620th Century Fox X
PopeyeSony Pictures Animation revives the comic character controlled by Hearst's King Features Syndicate. Originally set for a fall 2014 release. TBA 2016Sony Pictures X 1
G.I. Joe 3Second sequel in the current franchise based on Hasbro's venerable action figure, following 2009's The Rise of Cobra and 2013's Retaliation.TBA 2016Paramount PicturesX 1
The Adventures of Tintin: Prisoners of the SunSteven Spielberg produces and Peter Jackson directs this sequel about a young Belgian reporter and world traveler, and his canine companion.TBA 2016Paramount PicturesX X
Noah's ArkCGI animated Biblical tale told from the perspective of the animals.TBA 2016Unified Pictures X
Boss BabyA 7 year-old must overcome his jealousy to work together with his baby brother to preserve love in the world. Alec Baldwin and Kevin Spacey provide voices.1/13/17DreamWorks Animation X
Power RangersA group of high school kids harness their superpowers to save the world in the newest take on this Saban brand. 1/13/17Lionsgate X X
Fifty Shades Darker Sequel to bondage blockbuster Fifty Shades of Grey, based on the E.L. James novels. Officially licensed goods for the first film included adult toys from Lovehoney.2/10/17Universal Pictures X X
The LEGO Batman MovieSpinoff of the 2014 LEGO Movie, based on DC Comics' Batman character. Will Arnett voices the Caped Crusader.2/10/17Warner Bros. X11
The Maze Runner: The Death CureBased on the third novel in the series by James Dashner. Sequel to the 2015's The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.2/17/1720th Century FoxX X
Untitled Wolverine SequelHugh Jackman will don the claws one last time in this sequel.3/3/1720th Century FoxX 1
Kong: Skull IslandAction/adventure story centered on King Kong's origins.3/10/17Universal Pictures X
Beauty and the BeastAnother live-action Disney adaptation of its own animated film. Emma Watson plays Belle. 3/17/17Walt Disney Studios XX
The Mummy A reboot of The Mummy franchise, set in the present day.3/24/17Universal Pictures X
The Divergent Series: Allegiant (Part 2)Fourth and final film in The Divergent Series. Shailene Woodley and Theo James star.3/24/17Lionsgate X X
Ghost in the Shell Scarlett Johansson stars in this adaptation of the Japanese comic and anime films about a member of a covert ops unit that fights technology related crime.3/31/17Walt Disney Studios X 1
Untitled Animated SmurfsMandy Pantinkin voices Papa Smurf in this all-animated film focusing on the origins of the Smurfs.3/31/17Sony Pictures X 1
FerdinandBlue Sky Studios' adaptation of the classic Munro Leaf children's book.4/7/1720th Century Fox X
Furious 8Vin Diesel returns in the eighth film in the franchise.4/14/17Universal Pictures X
Blazing SamuraiAnimation, loosely based on 1974's Blazing Saddles. On his quest to become a samurai, Scrappy young dog Hank fights to save a town from a feline warlord.4/17/17Open Road Films X
Guardians of the GalaxySequel to 2014's Marvel tale of oddball superheroes.5/5/17Marvel/DisneyX 1
Terminator 2Untitled sequel to 2015's Terminator: Genisys.5/19/17Paramount PicturesX
Star Wars: Episode VIIIPicks up where 2015's Episode VII: The Force Awakens leaves off. Second film in Disney's new Star Wars sequel series since acquiring Lucasfilm.5/26/17Walt Disney StudiosX
The Fantastic Four 2Sequel to Fox's 2015 reboot of the Fantastic Four series.6/9/1720th Century FoxX 1
Toy Story 4It's one more Pixar play date for Tim Allen and Tom Hanks.6/16/17Walt Disney StudiosX
Wonder WomanAn Amazon princess becomes the greatest of DC superheroines.6/23/17Warner Bros. 1 X
Despicable Me 3Third sequel and fourth film (including Minions) in the Despicable Me series from Illumination Entertainment.6/30/17Universal PicturesX
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesJohnny Depp swashbuckles again for producer Jerry Bruckheimer. 7/7/17Walt Disney StudiosX
Untitled Planet of the Apes sequelSequel to 2014's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.7/14/1720th Century FoxX
Untitled Spider-Man rebootSony will reboot the Spider-Man franchise without Andrew Garfield and with help from Disney's Marvel Studios. 7/28/17Sony Pictures X 1
Pacific Rim 2Guillermo del Toro directs this robots vs. monsters sequel to 2012's Pacific Rim. 8/4/17UniversalX
NinjagoBig-screen animation based on LEGO's popular ninja-inspired building sets and figures.9/22/17Warner Bros. 1 X
Jungle Book: OriginsAndy Serkis directs this live action tale of an orphan boy raised by animals in the jungle. Animal voices by Benedict Cumberbatch, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett. 10/6/17Warner Bros. X
Thor: RagnorakChris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston are again Thor and Loki. In this third Thor installment they deal with the Norse apocalypse .11/3/17Walt Disney StudiosX 1
Justice League: Part 1The DC gang's all here in this story focused on the original incarnation of the Justice League: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash and Green Lantern.11/17/17Warner Bros. 1 X
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole ChristmasReimagining of the Dr. Seuss Christmas tale from animation studio Illumination Entertainment.11/17/17Universal Pictures XX
The Croods 2Sequel to the 2013 caveman hit.12/22/17DreamWorks AnimationX
Avatar 2 Sequel to the highest grossing film of all time, expected to focus on filmmaker James Cameron's in-depth look into Pandora's oceans.12/25/1720th Century FoxX
Captain UnderpantsEd Helms and Kevin Hart voice this animated film based on Dav Pilkey's 8 book series. TBA 2017DreamWorks Animation X
Transformers 5Reportedly the first in a new Transformer trilogy. Hasbro Studios is a producer.TBA 2017Paramount PicturesX 1
BloodshotFirst film for the Valiant Comics superhero.TBA 2017Sony Pictures 1
Fifty Shades FreedThird installment in the Fifty Shades trilogy details the couple's life after marriage.2/9/18UniversalX X
LarrikinsFollows a young, desert-dwelling marsupial who ventures out from his sheltered life.2/16/18DreamWorks Animation X
The FlashScientist Barry Allen becomes the super fast superhero, a member of DC Comics' Justice League.3/23/18Warner Bros. 1
Avengers: Infinity War (Part 1)This time the Avengers face the menace of Thanos.5/4/18Walt Disney StudiosX 1
The LEGO Movie sequelSequel to 2014's block building blockbuster.5/18/18Warner Bros. X 1
Godzilla 2Gareth Edwards directs the sequel to 2014's Godzilla. Monsters Mothra, Rodan and Ghidorah return.6/8/18Warner Bros. X 1
Terminator 3Untitled second sequel to 2015's Terminator: Genisys6/29/18Paramount PicturesX
How to Train Your Dragon 3Continues the adventure of young Viking Hiccup and his dragon, Toothless.6/29/18DreamWorks AnimationX
Black PantherThe royal leader of an African nation is bestowed with superpowers. Chadwick Boseman stars.7/6/18Walt Disney Studios 1
Untitled Animated Spider-Man featureThe LEGO movie directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are producing this installment being develop separately from the live action Spider-Man movies.7/20/18Sony Pictures 1
AquamanThe king of the seven seas will appear in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the Justice League movie before anchoring his own feature.7/27/18Warner Bros. 1
Captain MarvelMarvel's first female superhero movie follows Captain Marvel, aka Carol Danvers, who can fly and shoot energy bursts from her hands.11/2/18Walt Disney Studios 1
Avatar 3Second sequel to the highest grossing film of all time. Dec. 201820th Century FoxX
Star Wars: Boba FettStandalone "anthology" film telling the story of the bounty hunger sent to capture Han Solo.TBA 2018Walt Disney Studios X
Shazam!Dwayne Johnson plays the titular ancient Egyptian wizard with a magical connection to a shy boy. 4/5/19Warner Bros. X
Avengers: Infinity War (Part 2)Second half of the third Avengers film.5/3/19Walt Disney StudiosX 1
Justice League: Part 2Sequel follows the DC Comics-based superhero team.6/14/19Walt Disney StudiosX 1 X
InhumansIn this Marvel film, an isolated community of superhumans fight to protect themselves.7/2/19Walt Disney Studios 1
Avatar 4Third sequel to the highest grossing film of all time.Dec. 201920th Century FoxX
Star Wars: Episode IXFinal chapter of the newest Star Wars trilogy.TBA 2019Walt Disney Studios X


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