The decision of what movie to go see is definitely a daunting one for many people. As a result, sites like Rotten Tomatoes that give tremendous insight on how the movie is doing with critics are vital.
Lord knows it is far too expensive to go see a movie only to realize halfway through that you’d much rather be doing you know, anything else *stares at Zoolander 2*.
With that in mind and as we move ever closer to the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, we’ve covered the 16 best movies of 2016, at least according to Rotten Tomatoes. All the movies below had to have at least 200 reviews to qualify. We’ve also gone ahead and tracked down the critic’s consensus of the movie so you’ll not only see what the movie is, but what made the movie pop.
There is no denying that you’ll have seen many of these movies. In fact, we even included how much they made at the box office and opening week according to Box Office Mojo. You know, within reason, after all, people are watching and reviewing Star Wars for the next couple of nights. To show you just how successful (or unsuccessful!) these movies were with audiences.
Lastly, because these truly are the best movies of the year according to the people that best know movies, we’ve also dug deep to track down some fun facts from all of the films to help give even more value. Do you know the massive story change that happened to Zootopia? Or the advice Robert Downey Jr. gave to Tom Holland? You’ll even learn why they changed a major location setting for Finding Nemo! Plus, I mean how do we not include that Alan Tudyk did his motion capture for Rogue One in stilts?
Did your favorite movie not make the critics cut? Do you wish it was higher? Feel encouraged to share your thoughts and the list on social media!
16. Deadpool – 84% (Out Of 282 Reviews)
Critics Consensus: Fast, funny, and gleefully profane, the fourth-wall-busting Deadpool subverts superhero film formula with wildly entertaining — and decidedly non-family-friendly — results.
Box Office Opening Week – $132,434,59.
Lifetime Gross in North America – $363,070,709
Fun Fact About The Movie: Deadpool was the most successful R-Rated movie of all-time. Not only was it a hit with the critics, but fans clearly appreciated it and it’s $782.6 million worldwide total surpassed The Matrix Reloaded’s $742 million.
15. Sully – 85% (Out Of 273 Reviews)
Critics Consensus: As comfortingly workmanlike as its protagonist, Sully makes solid use of typically superlative work from its star and director to deliver a quietly stirring tribute to an everyday hero.
Box Office Opening Week – $35,028,301
Lifetime Gross – $124,864,239
Fun Fact About The Movie: While you may have been won over by Tom Hanks‘ amazing performance, can you believe he only spent half a day interacting with the real life, Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger?
When Sullenberger was asked about his experience with Hanks, he responded “He never really talked to me about how he was going to portray me; that’s something he did on his own. He did say that he watched a lot of videotape— and there’s a lot out there— to find out how to portray me.”
Sullenberger went on to say, “I think that comes across. When I watch the film, it’s such a nuanced performance, and he’s so good at his craft… I couldn’t tell you what techniques he used, but it seems genuine; it seems like me.”
14. Hail, Caesar! – 85% (Out Of 296 Reviews)
Critics Consensus: Packed with period detail and perfectly cast, Hail, Caesar! finds the Coen brothers delivering an agreeably lightweight love letter to post-war Hollywood.
Box Office Opening Week – $11,355,225
Lifetime Gross – $30,080,225
Fun Fact About The Movie: Despite the modest return at the box office, this movie is peppered with your favorite stars including Scarlett Johansson, Jonah Hill, George Clooney, Channing Tatum and Josh Brolin! It’s also narrated by Michael Gambon, you know DUMBLEDORE.
This movie was first pitched to Clooney by the Coen brothers back in 1999 when he was working with them on O Brother, Where Art Thou? The original idea was going to be featured around a group of actors and be set in the 1920s, but as you can imagine, things change in 10+ years!
13. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – 85% (Out Of 312 Reviews)
Critics Consensus: Rogue One draws deep on Star Wars mythology while breaking new narrative and aesthetic ground — and suggesting a bright blockbuster future for the franchise.
Box Office Opening Week – $155,081,681
Lifetime Gross – $393,554,705
Fun Fact About The Movie: In order to get the right look for K-2SO, actor Alan Tudyk recorded his parts wearing a motion-capture suit that also required him to wear stilts in order to be tall enough.
“I was 7 feet 1 inch [216 centimeters]. At that height, it colors how you move and helped me get into character. It was fantastic,” said Tudyk.
The only naysayer against the stilts was actor Diego Luna who went on to say, “We couldn’t take him seriously for the first month. [The motion-capture suit was] the tightest pyjamas ever,” implying that he got way too close and personal with Tudyk’s droid, if you know what we mean!
12. 10 Cloverfield Lane – 90% (Out Of 264 Reviews)
Critics Consensus: Smart, solidly crafted, and palpably tense, 10 Cloverfield Lane makes the most of its confined setting and outstanding cast — and suggests a new frontier for franchise filmmaking.
Box Office Opening Week – $24,727,437
Lifetime Gross – $72,082,998
Fun Fact About The Movie: Mary Elizabeth Winstead was outstanding in the lead role, which is fantastic when you learn that she was literally the only actress the studio wanted to consider for the part.
That doesn’t mean the audition process wasn’t interesting! Winstead talked to TeenVogue about the experience, saying “It was super secret and I could only read it once before [the script] would delete itself, but I read it and loved it. It was so unpredictable, refreshing, and different. I didn’t know where the story was going to take me from moment to moment.”
Set photos were also forbidden and all the cast was forbidden to talk about it until the trailer dropped (which happened one month before the movie did!). It is clear that they were super into the secrecy!
11. Doctor Strange – 90% (Out Of 275 Reviews)
Critics Consensus: Doctor Strange artfully balances its outré source material against the blockbuster constraints of the MCU, delivering a thoroughly entertaining superhero origin story in the bargain.
Box Office Opening Week – $85,058,311
Lifetime Gross – $229,697,310
Fun Fact About The Movie: Cumberbatch has spent part of his life volunteering as an English teacher at a Buddhist monastery. It was there that he helped develop such a profound connection with spirituality and used this to help better prepare for his role.
When talking about what drew him to the role, Cumberbatch went on to say, “I’m very excited about that spiritual dimension. It’s something that’s been a huge part of my life. I meditate a lot, that’s a huge tool in trying to calm myself, get away from the crazy circus of it all, have a focused mind as well as be a kinder, considerate person in the world.”
10. The Witch – 90% (Out Of 265 Reviews)
Critics Consensus: As thought-provoking as it is visually compelling, The Witch delivers a deeply unsettling exercise in slow-building horror that suggests great things for debuting writer-director Robert Eggers.
Box Office Opening Week – $8,800,230
Lifetime Gross – $25,138,705
Fun Fact About The Movie: As you can see by the critic consensus, The Witch was the first big opportunity for Robert Eggers and he rocked it out of the park. Part of the praise comes from the overall atmosphere Eggers creates but did you know how they did the lighting? “[We only shot] with natural light and indoors, the only lighting was candles,” said Eggers in a past interview.
9. The Nice Guys – 92% (Out Of 257 Reviews)
Critics Consensus: The Nice Guys hearkens back to the buddy comedies of a bygone era while adding something extra courtesy of a knowing script and the irresistible chemistry of its leads.
Box Office Opening Week – $11,203,270
Lifetime Gross – $36,261,763
Fun Fact About The Movie: While The Nice Guys may have succeeded with critics, it was much less successful at the box office. While their worldwide total was $57.3 million, the movie was $50 million to make.
Captain America: Civil War and Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising were two factors that may have hindered its success. Director Shane Black was well aware of the draw that Captain brings, saying “We’re up against some stiff superhero competition and we just need people to, you know, maybe see Captain America six times, but not the seventh and see us instead.”
8. La La Land – 92% (Out Of 245 Reviews)
Critics Consensus: La La Land breathes new life into a bygone genre with thrillingly assured direction, powerful performances, and an irresistible excess of heart.
Box Office Opening Week – $881,104
Lifetime Gross – $27,835,199
Fun Fact About The Movie: The movie only opened in 750 theaters, but after all the accolades including best picture and best actor/actress nominations at the Golden Globes, you can understand why everyone is now clamoring to see it.
One of the central points of the film is the location of Los Angeles, which writer Damien Chazelle chose when he moved to L.A. in 2010. It had previously been set in Boston.
When talking about it, Chazelle said “L.A., even more so than any other American city, obscures, sometimes neglects, its own history. But that can also be its own magical thing, because it’s a city that reveals itself bit by bit, like an onion, if you take the time to explore it.”
7. Captain America: Civil War – 90% (Out Of 328 Reviews)
Critics Consensus: Captain America: Civil War begins the next wave of Marvel movies with an action-packed superhero blockbuster boasting a decidedly non-cartoonish plot and the courage to explore thought-provoking themes.
Box Office Opening Week – $179,139,142
Lifetime Gross – $408,084,349
Fun Fact About The Movie: Tom Holland may have made it look easy as Spider-Man, but he was definitely far more intimidated when he finally showed up for his screen test. You may be happy to hear it was RDJ who calmed him down. When talking about it, Holland said RDJ pulled him to the side and said, “Listen, I remember my screen test for Iron Man. I remember how terrified I was. Just think of it as an audition. It’s nothing too scary. If you get it wrong, we’ll just start again. No pressure.”
6. Moana – 95% (Out Of 209 Reviews)
Critics Consensus: With a title character as three-dimensional as its lush animation and a story that adds fresh depth to Disney’s time-tested formula, Moana is truly a family-friendly adventure for the ages.
Box Office Opening Week – $56,631,401
Lifetime Gross – $203,393,039
Fun Fact About The Movie: Lin-Manuel Miranda is definitely a popular man around Disney. Not only is Moana doing incredibly well (clearly) he is now working on the live action The Little Mermaid. Then there’s also a secret film he is doing alongside Bryon Howard who directed Zootopia which earns a very high spot on our list.
Lin-Manuel Miranda was huge behind the creation of many of the songs for Moana, but he also appears in one of them. The song “We Know the Way” features Miranda’s voice, but he didn’t know it would make the final cut until it aired in the movie! Miranda recorded it in the studio and assumed someone else would come in and do a voice over.
He expressed how he felt to Vulture when he found out he was in the final cut, saying “When you think about your kids and your family getting to hear your voice in a Disney movie… it’s such a dream come true.”
While Miranda is also known for Hamilton, we have to give Disney some credit. They hired him for Moana 2.5 years before the movie came out and at that point, Hamilton was still 7 months away from rehearsals. Talk about spotting a talent!
5. Finding Dory – 94% (Out Of 259 Reviews)
Critics Consensus: Funny, poignant, and thought-provoking, Finding Dory delivers a beautifully animated adventure that adds another entertaining chapter to its predecessor’s classic story.
Box Office Opening Week – $135,060,273
Lifetime Gross – $486,295,561
Fun Fact About The Movie: While the movie heavily features a Marine Biology Institute, that was definitely not how it was originally going to be shown. The original setting was going to be at an aquatic park, but the movie Blackfish was able to convince executives to change their mind. Blackfish which came out in 2013 helped peel the curtain back on the captivity of killer whales and received critical acclaim.
4. The Jungle Book – 94% (Out Of 268 Reviews)
Critics Consensus: As lovely to behold as it is engrossing to watch, The Jungle Book is the rare remake that actually improves upon its predecessors — all while setting a new standard for CGI.
Box Office Opening Week – $103,261,464
Lifetime Gross – $364,001,123
Fun Fact About The Movie: We would not blame you if you have not seen the live-action The Jungle Book: Mowgli’s Story that came out in 1998. But if you had, you may have noticed that it was Bill Murray‘s brother Brian Doyle-Murray that voiced Baloo.
3. Arrival – 94% (Out Of 295 Reviews)
Critics Consensus: Arrival delivers a must-see experience for fans of thinking person’s sci-fi that anchors its heady themes with genuinely affecting emotion and a terrific performance from Amy Adams.
Box Office Opening Week – $24,074,047
Lifetime Gross – $91,292,332
While the extensive language for the aliens that is created in the film looks impressive, you may be further impressed to hear that the director and screenwriter ended up writing over 100 different phrases and logograms.
2. Hell Or High Water – 98% (Out Of 208 Reviews)
Critics Consensus: Hell or High Water offers a solidly crafted, well-acted Western heist thriller that eschews mindless gunplay in favor of confident pacing and full-bodied characters.
Box Office Opening Week – $621,329
Lifetime Gross – $27,007,884
Fun Fact About The Movie: If you enjoyed this movie (which literally almost everyone did), then you’d be ecstatic to hear that Chris Pine and Ben Foster also both appear in The Finest Hour which also came out this year.
In Hell or High Water, Pine is portrayed as being the younger brother but in actuality, he is also 2 months older than Foster.
1. Zootopia – 98% (Out Of 227 Reviews)
Critics Consensus: The brilliantly well-rounded Zootopia offers a thoughtful, inclusive message that’s as rich and timely as its sumptuously state-of-the-art animation — all while remaining fast and funny enough to keep younger viewers entertained.
Box Office Opening Week – $75,063,401
Lifetime Gross – $341,268,248
Fun Fact About The Movie: Zootopia may be the best movie of the year, but it was originally going to be very different. The original plot was supposed to revolve around Bateman‘s character (not Goodwin‘s), but it was changed in 2014 after audiences were failing to connect with Bateman.
Goodwin was originally going to play a much more aggressive and seasoned police officer, but you will probably agree that she did a much better job as a “cute bunny!”