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10 Movies to Know for 2016

These films could influence costume and partyware buying in 2016

While the level of originality coming out of Hollywood these days might be a topic to debate, what isn’t is the influence movies have on what’s selling in the world of costumes and children’s party products.

“Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens,” which is due out just before Christmas, will continue influence buying habits throughout next year, but it won’t be the only upcoming film to do so.

We take a look at 10 movies due out in 2016 that retailers should be aware of, listed in order of release date:

Kung Fu Panda 3,” Jan. 29

Plot: Po must face two hugely epic, but different threats — one supernatural and the other a little closer to home.

Characters to know: Po, Tigress, Master Shifu and Li Shan (Po’s father).

Zootopia,” March 4

Plot: In the animal city of Zootopia, a fast-talking fox trying to make it big goes on the run when he’s framed for a crime he didn't commit. Zootopia’s top cop, a self-righteous rabbit, is hot on his tail, but when both become targets of a conspiracy, they’re forced to team up.

Characters to know: Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), the fox, and Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), a law-enforcing rabbit.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” March 25

Plot: Batman, now played by Ben Affleck, takes on the Man of Steel when the former decides that Superman has gotten a little too power-hungry. Meanwhile, a new threat emerges.

Characters to know: In addition to the aforementioned, the lineup includes Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Cyborg, although it’s unknown how large a role the non-title superheroes will play — Wonder Woman has been featured fairly prominently in the early promo material. Jesse Eisenberg will portray Lex Luthor, but there has been a lot of speculation about the villains beyond that.

Captain America: Civil War,” May 6

Plot: “An incident leads to the Avengers developing a schism over how to deal with situations, which escalates into an open fight between allies Iron Man and Captain America.”

Characters to know: The film will feature almost everyone from the recent Marvel Universe flicks. It also marks the debut of Black Panther, who will get a movie of his own in 2017.

X-Men: Apocalypse,” May 27

Plot: Apocalypse, the world’s oldest and strongest mutant, awakens after a century-long sleep and then assembles a powerful group of mutants to destroy humanity.

Characters to know: Most of the primaries from the previous two origin pieces — “First Class” (2011) and “Days of Future Past” (2014) — as well as younger versions of Cyclops, Storm and Jean Grey. However, the most notable may be the emergence of Apocalypse.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Half Shell,” June 3

Plot: Not too many details have been released, but the sequel to the 2014’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” will reportedly debut some new vehicles.

Characters to know: Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo and Michelangelo, of course. TMNT never seems to go out of style, but the Renaissance-named quartet’s popularity will likely be high this year with another feature film in theaters.

Finding Dory," June 17

Plot: From Pixar Studios, “Finding Dory” is a sequel to the 2003 classic “Finding Nemo.”

Characters to know: Dory, Marlin, Nemo and Gill are back, and we’ll see some new characters, including Dory’s mother and father and Hank, an ill-tempered octopus.

Ghostbusters," July 15

Plot: A reboot of the 1980s mega hit, this time with an all-female lead cast.

Characters to know: Melissa McCarthy, Kristin Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones star. The female leads could make the ghost-buster getup a popular costume for girls, as well as boys.

Suicide Squad," Aug. 5

Plot: The big-budget flick, which boasts an all-star cast led by Will Smith and Jared Leto, will some lesser-known DC Comics villains to the mainstream. Its darker tone may not appeal to smaller children.

Characters to know: Leto’s Joker has an especially unnerving look. Others that could appeal as costumes include Killer Croc, Deadshot — played by Smith — and Harley Quinn, with the latter already being a hot seller in 2015.

Moana," Nov. 23

Plot: A computer-animated musical from Disney set in the South Pacific from the directors of “Aladdin,” “The Little Mermaid” and “The Princess and the Frog.”

Characters to know: Moana Waialiki, Disney’s first Polynesian princess, and Maui, a demigod voiced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Four more …

The Jungle Book,” April 15

Ratchet & Clank,” May 29

Star Trek Beyond,” July 22

Doctor Strange,” Nov. 4

— Zeke Jennings, Managing Editor

Originally posted Monday, Dec. 7, 2015