Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 2016

Timeline of Greatest Film History Milestones and Turning Points
(by decade and year)
Introduction | Pre-1900s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s
1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s
2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

The Year 2016
Year
Event and Significance
2016
Tough-guy character actor George Kennedy died at the age of 91. He won his sole Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor in the role of Dragline in Cool Hand Luke (1967). Other roles in his prolific acting career included: Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1969), the Airport series of four films from 1970-1979 (as Capt. Joe Patroni), and the Naked Gun series of three films from 1988-1994 (as Detective Ed Hocken).
2016
The film industry was rocked by a new revolutionary plan for viewing films. The start-up titled Screening Room (developed by entrepreneur and tech mogul Sean Parker) offered consumers the ability to watch new Hollywood releases in their own homes the same day that they were released to movie theatres. The cost was $150 for a set-top box, and a $50 per film rental fee (for a 48-hour viewing window). It was reported that exhibitor AMC Theatres signed on to share profits. Filmmakers and others weighed in on the new option - would it attract new moviegoers to films, or would it signal the end of watching movies in theatres.
2016
Much of the growth in the movie industry was poised to occur internationally (not domestically), mostly in China and other burgeoning markets (such as India). [Threats from piracy, more entertainment choices, and online streaming services were cutting into domestic profits.] There was a race by the major film studios to form new partnerships with Chinese companies and to build production studios in the country for better access to their fast-growing film market.
2016
Disney's/Pixar's 17th animated feature Finding Dory (2016), a sequel to Finding Nemo (2003)! - broke records on its opening weekend - it was the most successful and highest-grossing animated feature film debut of all-time at $135.1 million, unseating Shrek the Third (2007), at $121.6 million (domestic). [Note: Up to the current time, Toy Story 3 (2010) was Pixar's biggest opening ever, with $110.3 million.]
2016
Prolific director Woody Allen debuted his 46th film (in 50 years), Cafe Society (2016), a romantic comedy throwback to 1930s Hollywood films.
2016
Netflix, Amazon Prime, Showtime, HBO, and others had entered the movie industry with their own original content in small to medium-budgeted movies that were reaching larger and larger audiences. Cable TV subscriptions continued to decline.
2016
Quite a few of 2016's sequels of familiar franchise films did not perform as expected (or as well as the original films in the franchise) - forecasting the trend that there were no longer to be any guaranteed hits for expensive reboots or sequels: Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016), Allegiant (2016), Ben-Hur (2016), The Huntsman: Winter's War (2016), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016), Now You See Me 2 (2016), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), Ghostbusters (2016), The Legend of Tarzan (2016), My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2016), Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016), Star Trek Beyond (2016), Bad Santa 2 (2016), Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016), Zoolander 2 (2016), and Jason Bourne (2016).

However, a few remakes did fairly well, such as the western The Magnificent Seven (2016), X-Men: Apocalypse (2016), the newest Harry Potter Wizarding World spin-off installment: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (2016), two from Marvel's Cinematic Universe: Deadpool (2016) and Doctor Strange (2016), and the newest Star Wars entry: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016).
2016
One of the newest and more popular trends in movie-making was to limit the range of colors to orange and blue (or teal), known as color grading. The process altered and visibly enhanced the color of a motion picture or video image through either electronic, photo-chemical, or digital means.
2016
The US box-office for domestic films passed the $10 billion milestone in record time. It surpassed the record set in 2013, when the $10 billion mark was passed on December 7th. In 2012, it was surpassed on December 8th. In 2015, it was passed on December 18th. This year, the milestone was passed in the last weekend of November. By hitting the figure more than three weeks faster, 2016 ticket sales were running 4.5% ahead of 2015.
2016
The biggest hits of the year were: Disney's Finding Dory (2016) ($486 million), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) ($477 million), Captain America: Civil War (2016) ($408 million), Universal's The Secret Life of Pets (2016) ($368 million), Disney's The Jungle Book (2016) ($364 million), Fox's X-Men spin-off Deadpool (2016) ($363 million), Disney's Zootopia (2016) ($341 million), and the first two entries in the WB's DC Extended Universe (11 films were planned through 2020): Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) ($330 million) and Suicide Squad (2016) ($325 million).
2016
Animated films (especially those with talking animals) did extremely well in 2016: Finding Dory (2016), The Secret Life of Pets (2016), Zootopia (2016), Ice Age: Collision Course (2016), Trolls (2016), Moana (2016), Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016), and even the adapted videogame The Angry Birds Movie (2016) and the R-rated Sausage Party (2016). One major exception to the rule was Liongate's Norm of the North (2016), a failing effort.
2016
The adult computer-animated comedy Sausage Party (2016) was the first CGI-animated film to be rated R by the MPAA.
2016
Director Tim Miller's comedy/sci-fi-action superhero film Deadpool (2016) - about the anti-hero Marvel Comic character (played by Ryan Reynolds), was actually part of the X-Men series. The hit movie became the highest grossing R-rated film of all-time, and the most successful film in the X-Men franchise.
2016
Movies with musical elements and themes were resounding critical and box-office hits in 2016: Sing Street (2016, Ire./UK/US) about the creation of a band by a 1980s Dublin teen, the musically-infused The Jungle Book (2016), Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) starring Meryl Streep as "the world's worst singer," the animated R-rated musical-comedy Sausage Party (2016), Disney's Polynesian-inspired Moana (2016) with a strong female character, Sing (2016) about an American Idol-styled musical competition for animals, and the Tinseltown romance of La La Land (2016).
2016
Meryl Streep, the most admired and honored actress of her generation, acquired her 20th nomination for her role as an eccentric opera singer in the comedy Florence Foster Jenkins (2016). Total numbers of nominations include 16 nominations for Best Actress and four for Best Supporting Actress, with three previous Oscar wins.
2016
Documentary films made a slight comeback, such as ESPN Film's 5-part series (at 467 minutes): O.J.: Made in America (2016), the examination of a scandalous NY political figure in Weiner (2016), and director Ava DuVernay's 13th (2016) - about racial inequality in the US criminal justice and prison systems.
2016
Cheaply made horror films were fairly profitable in 2016 - and the genre earned a healthy $600 million domestically in the year, with hits such as: Don't Breathe (2016), The Darkness (2016), Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016), 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016), The Conjuring 2 (2016), Lights Out (2016), and The Purge: Election Year (2016).
2016
Fox Searchlight's hotly-anticipated slave rebellion drama Birth of a Nation (2016) - a biopic about Nat Turner, stirred political-correctness controversy and negative public opinion when it was revealed that co-writer/director/star Nate Parker and Birth's co-writer Jean Celestin had allegedly raped an 18 year-old female, a Penn State freshman classmate in 1999 during their college years. Parker was charged, tried and subsequently acquitted. Celestin was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to six to 12 months in prison. A judge ordered a second trial for Celestin following an appeal and the case was overturned in 2005 after the accuser decided not to testify. Reports later surfaced that their accuser committed suicide in 2012 at the age of 30, at a rehab facility. As a result of negative publicity about the trials and Variety's August 2016 publication of the news of the suicide, revenues plummeted 60% at the box office in the film's second weekend.
2016
After a highly-criticized previous year of Oscar recognitions that were accused of misrepresenting minorities and blacks ("OscarsSoWhite"), this year had a diverse slate of entries, including director Denzel Washington's drama Fences (2016), the tale of a boy lost in India and adopted by an Australian couple in Lion (2016), the drama Moonlight (2016) about a gay black youngster growing up in a rough section of Miami, the Samurai-inspired stop-motion animated epic Kubo and the Two Strings (2016), and Loving (2016) - about an inter-racial couple in Virginia who challenged their arrest for miscegenation in a case that went to the US Supreme Court.
2016
It was a record-breaking, banner year for the Disney Studios (Buena Vista). By the end of 2016, the studio surpassed the industry record for biggest domestic box office in a year, earning approx. $2.7 billion (Universal previously held the record for the $2.44 billion it made domestically in 2015).

Disney's (Buena Vista's) top three domestic hits were Finding Dory (2016) ($486 million), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) ($477 million), and Captain America: Civil War (2016) ($408 million). Its top four worldwide box-office hits (the four top films of the year) were Captain America: Civil War (2016) ($1.153 billion), Finding Dory (2016) ($1.027 billion), Zootopia (2016) ($1.024 billion), and The Jungle Book (2016) ($966.6 million).

The studio earned over $7 billion (worldwide) by the end of the year (it was put over the top with revenues from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)). This surpassed Universal's previous record of $6.9 billion (worldwide) in 2015.
2016
2016 was the first year in which two animated films grossed more than $1 billion (worldwide), and both were Disney films: Finding Dory (2016) at $1.027 billion, and Zootopia (2016) at $1.023 billion. Previously in other years (but never two in the same year), these three animated films also reached the $1 billion mark: Toy Story 3 (2010), Frozen (2013), and Minions (2015).
2016
2016 was also the first year in which ten films crossed the $700 million (worldwide) mark, beating the record of nine films in 2014. Five of the ten films in 2016 were from the Disney/BV Studios, while three were from Warner Bros., one from Universal, and one from Fox Studios.
2016
It was widely noted that no film in the top 10 of domestic films (in domestic revenue) in 2016 was based on reality. There were no biopics, thrillers, dramas, musicals, westerns, or comedies. All of the top-ranked films were either animated movies or adaptations about comic-book or sci-fi heroes: There were 4 animated films (Finding Dory, The Secret Life of Pets, The Jungle Book, Zootopia), and 6 comic-book or sci-fi hero tales (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Captain America: Civil War, Deadpool, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Doctor Strange).
2016
Four notable directors died in 2016: Michael Cimino, director of the Best-Picture Oscar-winning war drama The Deer Hunter (1978) at the age of 77. Garry Marshall, legendary writer, director and actor whose credits included Pretty Woman (1990) and popular TV shows, died at the age of 81. Arthur Hiller, director of Love Story (1970) died at the age of 92. Curtis Hanson, director of Oscar-winning L.A. Confidential (1997) and 8 Mile (2002) died at the age of 71.
2016
Gene Wilder, the comedy legend who starred in classic movies such as The Producers (1968), Young Frankenstein (1974), Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and Stir Crazy (1980) died at the age of 83.
2016
A new non-biased product was developed to help select which film scripts would make it into production (greenlighted) and ultimately into the marketplace - the product was called ScriptBook (with Script2Screen software). According to its creators, the proposed solution was an AI-based assessment tool that would accurately indicate the commercial and critical success of a film project, along with insights on the storyline, target demographics, market positioning, and distribution parameters. It claimed to help in determining in advance which scripts would turn out box-office bombs and which would be more likely to be successful. This development was part of a trend to replace fallible movie executives with robots - and take movie-making decisions away from them. Other examples of this 'robotic' trend in full-use already included automated script generation and CGI actors (created with motion-capture suits).
2016
The death of iconic Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher at the age of 60 rocked Hollywood and the world. She had recently appeared as Leia Organa - the last princess of Alderaan, in another episode of the saga - Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015), and had wrapped shooting for her role in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII (2017) - it would be her final big-screen role.
2016
American actress Debbie Reynolds also passed away at the age of 84, only a day after the death of her daughter Carrie, fathered by famed singer Eddie Fisher. Reynolds was an actress and singer for more than 40 more years in film, television and the stage. Her many roles included her most famous one as Kathy Selden in Singin' in the Rain (1952), and also her Oscar-nominated role in The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964). Other roles included: The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953), Tammy and the Bachelor (1957) (with her singing of the title tune, a # 1 pop hit), and The Singing Nun (1966).
2016
  Moonlight (2016) won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali) and Best Adapted Screenplay (for its director Barry Jenkins, from a story by Tarell Alvin McCraney). Its director Barry Jenkins became the 4th black director to be nominated in the category, and the first African-American to direct a Best Picture-winning film. It was the first LGBTQ film to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali) became the first Muslim to win an Oscar. And it became the first Best Picture winner without a single white cast member.
2016

La La Land (2016), a show-business musical by director Damien Chazelle (his third film), had a tie-breaking number of Oscar nominations (14), matching two other films in past cinematic history: Titanic (1997), and All About Eve (1950). At this year's Oscars, La La Land (2016) won six Oscars (including Best Director, Best Actress (Emma Stone), Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Production Design, and Best Original Song ("City of Stars")). Director Damien Chazelle became the youngest person (at 32 years of age) ever to win for Best Director.

2016
There was an embarrassing and historic mix-up over the Best Picture award, originally announced for La La Land (2016), which eventually was rightfully awarded to the African-American coming-of-age drama Moonlight (2016).
2016
With its support of Manchester by the Sea (2016), Amazon became the first streaming service ever to produce a film nominated for Best Picture.
2016
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences was praised this year for seven black (or non-white) acting nominations (among the possible 20 nominations), in contrast to the previous two years when there were no non-white nominees. In fact, 2016 was the first year in Academy history in which black actors/actresses were nominated in each of the four acting categories. And it was the first year that a single acting category (Best Supporting Actress) featured three black nominees: Viola Davis for Fences (2016), Naomie Harris for Moonlight (2016), and Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures (2016).

There were seven non-white actors and actresses nominated (six African-American and one Indian) - in five different films (Fences (2016), Loving (2016), Moonlight (2016), Lion (2016) and Hidden Figures (2016)) - a major record for a single year. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis were both nominated for Fences (2016), and Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris were both honored for their roles in Moonlight (2016). British/Indian actor Dev Patel was recognized for Lion. Four Best Picture nominees were led by non-white characters.
2016
A pair of African-American actors - Moonlight (2016) star Mahershala Ali and Fences (2016) star Viola Davis - won both of the supporting categories: Best Supporting Actor and Actress. Their awards marked the first time in more than a decade that multiple Oscar acting honors went to black actors. Viola Davis' third career nomination (Best Supporting Actress) for Fences (2016) was a record for a black actress. She became the first black actress to earn three Oscar nominations. She was previously nominated for her performances in Doubt (2008) (supporting) and The Help (2011) (lead). She also became the first black actress to win an Emmy, a Tony and an Oscar. (Winning all four major awards has become known as the EGOT foursome).
2016
Ezra Edelman’s O.J.: Made in America (2016) won the Best Documentary Oscar Academy Award, becoming the longest Oscar winner ever (at 467 minutes) - it was released as an episodic serial on ESPN. It bypassed the Best Foreign Language Film winner War and Peace (1966, Russia) (at 431 minutes), honored at the 1969 Oscars ceremony. Some detractors claimed it was more eligible as an Emmy-contender instead of as an Oscar-contender.


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