By Barry Janoff
January 5, 2016: Heading into Super Bowl XLIX last February, Hollywood was all abuzz about such upcoming movies as Jurassic World, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Pt. II, James Bond's Spectre and, atop the list, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Heading into Super Bowl 50, movie fans can start a new buzz as they anticipate the arrival of an array of icons from the DC Universe (including Superman, Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman), the Marvel Solar System (including Ironman, Spider-Man, Deadpool, Captain America, Black Widow and X-Men), video game classics (Warcraft, Assassin's Creed), visitors who invade Earth (Independence Day: Resurgence), others who boldly go where no man has gone before (Star Trek Beyond) and those seek to save planets in a galaxy far, far away (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story).
Following is a Baker's Dozen of the films most likely to get air time during the Big Game on CBS on Feb. 7, which would put them in front of a viewing audience that will top 100 million.
20th Century Fox/Marvel
Dir. Tim Miller; Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Gina Carano
Wade Wilson (Reynolds) is a top Special Forces op who acquires accelerated healing powers after becoming the subject of unsanctioned experimentation and morphs into the mercenary Deadpool.
London Has Fallen
Dir. Babak Najafi; Gerard Butler, Charlotte Riley, Morgan Freeman
The sequel to Olympus Has Fallen (2013) finds Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Butler) in London (mostly) single-handedly trying to prevent the assassination of the President of the U.S. and a bevy of other key worldwide leaders who have gathered for the funeral of the Prime Minister.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Warner Bros./DC Entertainment
Dir. Zack Snyder; Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams
Superman (Cavill) and Batman (Affleck) face-off in an epic battle of good vs. evil (who is which depends on your point of view), leaving Lex Luthor (Jessie Eisenberg) free to take over Metropolis with his Doomsday creation, leading to the arrival of such super heroes as Wonder Woman, Flash and Aquaman.
Captain America: Civil War
Marvel Entertainment/Walt Disney Studios
Dirs. Anthony Russo, Chris Russo; Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Elizabeth Olsen
A convergence of Marvel heroes and villains face off, with lines of division often blurred, including Black Widow (Johansson), Scarlet Witch (Olsen), Ant-Man (Scott Lang) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland), with Captain America (Evans) pitted against Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.).
Marvel Entertainment/20th Century Fox
Dir. Bryan Singer; Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender
The rise of Apocalypse (Issac), believed to be the world's first mutant, tests the minds, mettle and makeup of Mystique (Lawrence), Magnetto (Fassbender), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and Quiksilver (Evan Peters).
Dir. Duncan Jones; Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Robert Kazinsky
"For years we have been at peace. But something is coming. Dark forces are upon us." Based on the mega-hit video game series, the first of a planned series finds the humans of Azeroth fending off the invasion of Orcs who seek to conquer a new planet to replace their dying world of Draenor.
Pixar/Walt Disney Pictures
Dirs. Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane; Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Hayden Rolence
Six months after she helped Marlin find his son, Nemo, memory-challenged Dory remembers flashes of her childhood off the coast of Monterey, Calif., and sets out to find her family, which includes Dad (Eugene Levy) and Mom (Diane Keaton).
Independence Day: Resurgence
20th Century Fox
Dir. Roland Emmerich; Joey King, Liam Hemsworth, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum
"This is definitely bigger than the last one!" Two decades ago, the President of the United States (Pullman) took to the skies to lead a rag-tag group of pilots in a successful mission to save the Earth. As a new threat of global destruction arises, President Whitmore and so is half of the team that implanted a deadly virus in the alien's Mother Ship (Goldblum, sans Will Smith) as well as his supportive dad (Judd Hirsch). But will it be enough to save the (independence) day?
The Legend of Tarzan
Dir. David Yates; Margot Robbie, Alexander Skarsgård, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz
Tarzan (Skarsgård) is leading a comparatively cushy life in London, but must return to his roots to solve a series of mysterious events at a mining camp deep in the jungle.
Star Trek Beyond
Dir. Justin Lin; Chris Pine Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, Idris Elba
To help celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek (which first aired on NBC in September 1966), Capt. Kirk (Pine) leads his crew of familiar names with some new faces — Spock (Zachary Quinto), Scotty (Pegg), Uhura (Saldana) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin) — who find themselves stranded on a ruthless planet when the Enterprise is destroyed.
Dir. David Ayer; Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Scott Eastwood, Jared Leto, Cara Delevingne
A play on the Dirty Dozen theme, Affleck plays Batman for the second time this year, here involved with a group of super-villains, including Deadshot (Smith), who are promised clemency from life sentences in prison if they band together and become anti-heroes to face foes including The Joker (Leto) and Harley Quinn (Robbie).
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
LucasFilm/Walt DIsney Pictures
Dir. Gareth Edwards; Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk
The initial stand-alone tale in the Star Wars Anthology Series, the plot of which takes place before the events of Star Wars (1977, aka Star Wars IV) follows a group of rebels who undertake a mission to steal plans for the Death Star.
Ubisoft/20th Century Fox
Dir. Justin Kurzel; Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Brendan Gleeson
Based on the popular and cult favorite video game series, the story follows Fassbender as both 15th Century assassin Aguilar and his present-day descendant Callum Lynch, uncovering the mysteries behind and the knowledge of the Assassins Society, which enables Lynch to face the Order of the Knights Templar, an evil group from ages past that has evolved into an equally (f not more) evil modern cop orate giant.