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Only one film in the top 20 highest grossing features of 2016 at the UK

box office was an original concept: the well-trained computer-animated

romp The Secret Life Of Pets. Audiences simply couldn't resist fast food

filmmaking, which served up a comforting array of sequels, prequels,

remakes and spin-offs.

Reanimation stations

It should come as no surprise that 2017 is much the same. Testosterone-fuelled showdowns torn from the pages of Marvel and DC Comics punctuate the year,

including Hugh Jackman's final bow as Wolverine in the gritty chase

thriller Logan (March 3), a groovy battle beyond the stars with Chris

Pratt and Zoe Saldana in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (April 28), and

a stand-alone origin story for Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman (June 2).

High school student Peter Parker (Tom Holland) spins a new web of

intrigue in Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7), sibling rivalry unfolds on

an epic scale, pitting Chris Hemsworth against Tom Hiddleston in Thor:

Ragnarok (October 27), and Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry

Cavill) continue to flaunt their gym-toned physiques in the superhero

smackdown Justice League (November 17), directed by Zack Snyder.

Reanimation stations

Fans of computer animation have plenty to whet their appetites - in 2D

or 3D - including a new adventure for Belgian cartoonist Peyo's loveable

blue creations Smurfs: The Lost Village (March 31), the return of

arch-villain Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and those mishap-prone Minions

in Despicable Me 3 (June 30), and one final lap of glory for Lightning

McQueen (Owen Wilson) in Pixar's Cars 3 (July 14).

Later in the year, everything is far from awesome for the Caped Crusader

in The Lego Batman Movie (August 18), and Jim Carter, Miriam Margolyes

and Tim Pigott-Smith provide voices for high-flying characters in The

Little Vampire (October 13), based on the children's book series by

Angela Sommer-Bodenburg. There are also two live action renderings of

very different animations: Disney's tale as old as time Beauty And The

Beast (March 17), which pairs Emma Watson's songbird Belle and Dan

Stevens' hideously transformed Prince, and Scarlett Johansson as a

counter-terrorist cyborg in the bullet-riddled dystopia of Ghost In The

Shell (March 31).

There will be blood...

Gore hounds, who like their horror movies bloodthirsty, will be howling

with glee at 2017's monstrous offerings. In terms of remakes, Tom Cruise

meets his match in Sofia Boutella's decaying Egyptian princess in The

Mummy (June 9), Pennywise the shape-shifting clown dances through

nightmares in Stephen King's It (September 8), and hockey mask-clad

maniac Jason Voorhees is resurrected in Friday The 13th (October 13).

Additionally, vampires and werewolves continue their feud in Underworld:

Blood Wars (January 13), Milla Jovovich completes her six-picture tour

of duty as the survivor of zombie apocalypse in Resident Evil: The Final

Chapter (February 3), the urban legend of a killer videotape resurfaces

in Rings (February 3), and Ridley Scott conducts a symphony of screams

in deep space in Alien: Covenant (May 19).

There are chills aplenty too in Annabelle 2 (May 26), World War Z 2

(June 9) starring Brad Pitt and a legion of the undead, a belated sequel

to Flatliners (September 29), the conclusion to Jigsaw's reign of terror

in Saw: Legacy (October 20), and the supernatural chills of Insidious:

Chapter 4 (November 3).

Turning over an old leaf...

Book shelves provide the inspiration for T2 Trainspotting (January 27),

which reunites director Danny Boyle, screenwriter John Hodge and the

original cast, the saucy slap and tickle of Fifty Shades Darker

(February 10), the harrowing real-life events of the bombing of the 2013

Boston marathon in Patriots Day (February 24), and a boardroom battle

royale in the computer-animated comedy, The Boss Baby (April 7).

Oscar nominee Jacob Tremblay (Room) plays a boy with a facial deformity

who proves that beauty comes from within, in Wonder (April 7), the true

story of an animal lover's bravery during the Second World War casts

Jessica Chastain as The Zookeeper's Wife (May 5), Tris (Shailene

Woodley) and her supporters face the final showdown in The Divergent

Series: Ascendant (June 9), while Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey

lock spurs in Stephen King's western horror, The Dark Tower (July 28).

Also, Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne blast into space in Valerian And

The City Of A Thousand Planets (August 4) directed by Luc Besson,

Michael Fassbender plays Detective Harry Hole in Jo Nesbo's frost-bitten

thriller The Snowman (October 13), Kate Winslet and Idris Elba are plane

crash survivors who fall in love in The Mountain Between Us (October

20), Jennifer Lawrence essays a Russian double agent in Red Sparrow

(November 10), and Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) interrogates an

all-star cast of suspects including Johnny Depp, Judi Dench and Michelle

Pfeiffer in Agatha Christie's Murder On The Orient Express (November

24).

An as-yet untitled biographical drama about AA Milne (Domhnall Gleeson),

sometimes referred to as Goodbye Christopher Robin, which focuses on the

creation of Winnie The Pooh, is also scheduled for release towards the

end of the year.

The bigger the better...

The small screen can be thanked for big-budget thrills and spills,

including a mighty morphin' new version of Power Rangers (March 24), a

tongue-in-cheek splash with the Los Angeles County Lifeguards of

Baywatch (May 12) featuring Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron in fetching red

shorts, and high-speed shenanigans on two wheels with Dax Shepard and

Michael Pena in the buddy cop caper ChiPs (August 11).

Outrageous stunts, eye-popping pyrotechnics and cuteness abound in some

of the year's biggest blockbusters and most eagerly awaited next

chapters. Vin Diesel growls and grimaces in xXx 3: The Return Of Zander

Cage (January 19), then puts his pedal to the metal in The Fate Of The

Furious (April 14), Keanu Reeves continues his renaissance as a wily hit

man in John Wick: Chapter 2 (February 17), Tom Hiddleston encounters a

hulking ape in Kong: Skull Island (March 10), and Johnny Depp is all at

sea in the swashbuckling yarn, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Salazar's

Revenge (May 26).

The war between the Autobots and Decepticons reaches a crescendo in

Transformers: The Last Knight (June 23), conflict rages between the

species in War For The Planet Of The Apes (July 14), Taron Egerton puts

his politically incorrect spy training into practice in Kingsman: The

Golden Circle (September 29), director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) goes

back to the future for Blade Runner 2049 (October 6), an accident-prone

bear searches for his marmalade sandwiches in Paddington 2 (November

10), and Mark Hamill utters his first lines of dialogue as an aged Luke

Skywalker in the as-yet-unsubtitled Star Wars: Episode VIII (December

15). A year of sequels concludes on a high note with the aca-mazing

return of the Bardon Bellas in Pitch Perfect 3 (December 22) and a new

Jumanji (December 29) replete with Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black and a

poignant tribute to Robin Williams.

Girls on film...

Additionally, in the closely contested acting categories, Natalie

Portman is spellbinding as Jackie Onassis in the aftermath of President

John F Kennedy's assassination in Pablo Larrain's unconventional biopic

Jackie (January 20), Annette Bening is a delight as a free-spirited

divorcee in Mike Mills' semi-autobiographical valentine to motherhood,

20th Century Women (February 10), newcomer Lily Gladstone merits

inclusion in the Best Supporting Actress category for her heartbreaking

portrayal of a lovestruck ranch hand in Kelly Reichardt's tender drama

Certain Women (March 3), and French national treasure Isabelle Huppert

is in blistering form as a rape victim who becomes empowered by her

horrific ordeal, in Paul Verhoeven's provocative Elle (March 10).

The well-regarded documentary Cameraperson (January 27) champions the

power of film to capture everyday life, and when it comes to the foreign

language film contenders, Maren Ade's epic 162-minute comic masterpiece

Toni Erdmann (February 3) should sweep all before it. However, it faces

competition from Xavier Dolan's divisive drama It's Only The End Of The

World (February 24), Asghar Farhadi's suspenseful character study The

Salesman (March 31), Claude Barras' delightful animation My Life As A

Courgette (May 5), and the morbidly funny Swedish comedy drama A Man

Called Ove (June 30) based on the bestseller by Fredrik Backman.

The final cut...

A few sparks of originality promise to set the big screen ablaze in

2017, bolstered by performances from Hollywood A-listers and the

directorial brio of some of the most visionary filmmakers working today.

James McAvoy plays a creepy kidnapper with 23 distinct personalities in

Split (January 20) written and directed by M Night Shyamalan (The Sixth

Sense), cute critters seek fame and fortune in the computer-animated

musical Sing (January 27), east meets west as Matt Damon faces legions

of snarling beasties in Zhang Yimou's spectacular action adventure The

Great Wall (February 17), and the third film in the Cloverfield

franchise, God Particle (February 24), pits a team of astronauts on an

international space station in a deadly race against time.

Lord Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) and his wife (Gillian Anderson)

witness the 1947 partition of India in Viceroy's House (March 3)

directed by Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham), an inquisitive

company executive (Dane DeHaan) unearths dark secrets at a health spa in

A Cure For Wellness (March 24), director Guy Ritchie reimagines the

story of Excalibur in King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword (March 24), and an extra-terrestrial entity terrorises a space station populated by Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds in Life (March 24).

Also, British director Ben Wheatley orchestrates a full-blooded

shoot-out in Free Fire (March 31), Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer play

mother and daughter in the rip-snorting comedy Snatched (May 12),

director Christopher Nolan documents the evacuation of Allied soldiers

from French beaches in 1940 in Dunkirk (July 21), which features the

film acting debut of Harry Styles, and Tom Cruise plays a real-life

airline pilot, who turned to drug smuggling, in the biographical drama

American Made (August 25).

Shia LaBeouf and Sverrir Gudnason trade serves as tennis greats at the

height of their powers in Borg/McEnroe (August 25), firefighters face a

deadly Arizona blaze in the true story of Granite Mountain (September

22), Gerald Butler flashes his action man credentials as he faces

ecological disaster in Geostorm (October 20), Liam Neeson stumbles into

a deadly conspirator on a packed train in The Commuter (October 20), and

the computer animation wizards at Pixar compose the story of a

shoemaker's son with a forbidden passion for music in their love letter

to Mexican culture, Coco (December 8). Prepare for dancing in the

aisles.