How original are 2016’s summer blockbuster movies?

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Updated on December 10, 2021

It’s time once again to take a look at this summer’s blockbuster films, and see how they’ll rank on the basis of originality. That’s as outlined by an episode of the 90s TV series “The Critic,” where Jay Sherman stated one should skip seeing a film if it’s:

  1. Based on a TV show.
  2. After Roman numeral II.
  3. A remake of a classic.

Going by that logic, I’ll sort which films this summer are reasonably original fare, and which ones aren’t. Much like the famous Bechdel Test, this analysis doesn’t guarantee what passes is actually good. In this case, it just draws attention to an overreliance on a lack of creativity.

Here’s the list of major release films coming out between the first weekend of May and last weekend of August. Films released are as of this writing and based on what’s on Box Office Mojo.


  • The Darkness
  • Free State of Jones
  • Money Monster
  • The Angry Birds Movie
  • Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
  • The Nice Guys
  • Alice Through the Looking Glass
  • Me Before You
  • Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
  • The Bye Bye Man
  • The Conjuring 2
  • Now You See Me 2
  • Warcraft
  • Central Intelligence
  • Finding Dory
  • Independence Day: Resurgence
  • The Shallows
  • The BFG
  • The Legend of Tarzan
  • Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates
  • The Secret Life of Pets
  • The Infiltrator
  • Lights Out
  • Bad Moms
  • The Founder
  • Suicide Squad
  • Nine Lives
  • Ben-Hur
  • Sausage Party
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Spectral
  • Arms and the Dudes
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • The Space Between Us
  • War Dogs
  • Don’t Breathe
  • Hands of Stone


  • Captain America: Civil War. It’s a part three.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse. It’s part six by now. And that’s excluding the various Wolverine films.
  • The Purge: Election Year. It’s a part three.
  • Ghostbusters: It’s a reboot.
  • Ice Age: Collision Course. It’s a part five.
  • Star Trek Beyond. It’s based on a TV show and a part three.
  • Jason Bourne. It’s a part five.
  • Pete’s Dragon. A remake of the classic animated/live-action 1977 film.
  • Mechanic: Resurrection: A sequel to a remake. I’ll assume being a part two doesn’t exempt it from failing (since it’d be odd that a remake and remake’s part three could both fail, but not a part two.)


That makes 38 out of 47 films that pass, or 81%. A pretty decent rate, about even with last year’s 79%.

As usual, I assume comic-based movies are based on the original comics, versus being reboots of a previous series of comic films. I also assume films based on public domain material (like Tarzan) are OK.

I’ll probably revise this list as it gets closer to summer blockbuster season, given film release dates can shift. And, of course, I’ll also do an end-of-summer look back at the summer movie season.

Here’s previous years’ analyses in comparison:

What films do you plan on watching this summer?

(Updated 1/11/17)

Anthony Dean

Anthony Dean is the owner of Diverse Tech Geek and Diverse Media Notes.

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