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Sequels and remakes were among the biggest box office hits of 2016

Familiarity and nostalgia proved to be winning components of box office hits in 2016, but reviving beloved old formats was not an entirely foolproof way to win over audiences.

Bridget Jones's Baby, the third outing for the famous singleton, is currently the highest grossing film in the UK of 2016 so far, and reboot The Jungle Book and sequel Finding Dory both drew in huge crowds around the world.

However, new Ghostbusters and Independence Day movies faltered while o ther sequels including Alice Through The Looking Glass, Zoolander 2 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows also disappointed.

Spin-offs and prequels such as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, part of the Harry Potter universe, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story look set to dominate the end of the year, perhaps proving audiences are still committed to the biggest franchises in cinema but are interested in new and different characters and stories.

But the year also proved that not all comic book movies are equal.

DC Comics' offerings Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad both did well at the box office but were brutally savaged by critics and did not deliver the kind of hits that rival Marvel enjoy, notably this year with Captain America: Civil War.

Audiences were capable of shocking Hollywood, either by rejecting a film that was pegged to be a huge hit, or embracing a movie that was expected to slip under the radar.

Deadpool, about a foul-mouthed and obscure Marvel character, proved to be one such success.

Ryan Reynolds made for a winning leading man who broke the fourth wall and audiences turned out in their droves to deliver $782 million (£632 million) at the global box office, a pretty healthy return on the film's meagre $58 million (£47 million) budget.

Everything Disney released in 2016 performed as well or better than expected, meaning Zootropolis, a film with no nostalgia credentials, made more than a billion dollars worldwide.

But big marquee names like George Clooney and Julia Roberts, stars thought of as significant enough to always lure a crowd, could not make a hit out of Money Monster, directed by Jodie Foster.

Tom Hanks's return as Robert Langdon in Inferno also fell short of expectations despite a worldwide press tour, making just $219 million (£177 million) globally, compared to the $486 million (£393 million) his last outing as the sym bologist made in Angels & Demons.

But it is the remake of Ben-Hur that could be the biggest disaster of 2016, with the historical drama failing to even recoup its $100 million (£81 million) production budget at the box office.

If this year has been any kind of an indicator, the sequel trend will not slow down anytime soon, with many huge follow-ups slated for release in 2017.

The highly anticipated Star Wars: Episode VIII and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will both draw big audiences, as well as Hugh Jackman's last outing as Wolverine, the final Resident Evil, the eighth Fast and Furious film and the long awaited sequels to Trainspotting and Blade Runner.

There will also be a new Pirates of the Caribbean, a new Transformers, another Thor and a terrifying Saw providing audiences with as many familiar faces as they could hope for in the year to come.

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