Science Fiction Films

Top Ten Chart - 2016/17

Concatenation's annual calculation looking at the 52 British Isles (and Malta) weekly film (movie) charts up to Easter 2017 that accounts for only fantastic films (SF and fantasy).

Remember, this is the UK public's cinema theatre box office we are talking about, and not fantastic film buffs' views. Consequently below this top ten we have included at the end a few other worthies well worth checking out as well as (in some years) some warnings-to-avoid. Also note that this chart compilation calculation did not include DVD sales or spin-off product earnings, and our chart is also subject to weekly vagaries. (In some weeks most of the entries do not gross much but at other times (for example public holidays) overall box office takings are higher.) This means that the chart reflects on-going cinema attendance throughout the year and it is not a strict annual list of the year's high box office earners. Notwithstanding such small-print caveats, standby with the pop corn, here we go...

1. The Jungle Book


A welcome re-make, but this time live action, of the Rudyard Kipling book together with elements of the Disney cartoon. Spectacular visuals. After a threat from the tiger Shere Khan forces him to flee the jungle, a man-cub named Mowgli embarks on a journey of self discovery with the help of panther, Bagheera, and free spirited bear, Baloo. The fulm's director is Jon (Iron Man & Avengers: Infinity War) Favreau.  Trailer here.

2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them


From director David Yates and writer: J. K. Rowling a quasi Harry Potter prequel. The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York's secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school. Holding a mysterious leather suitcase in his hand, Newt Scamander, a young activist wizard from England, visits New York while he is on his way to Arizona. Inside his expanding suitcase hides a wide array of diverse, magical creatures that exist among us, ranging from tiny, twig-like ones, to majestic and humongous ones.  Trailer here.

3. The Secret Life of Pets


Anthropomorphic animal fantasy animation about present-day pets. Comedy.  The quiet life of a terrier named Max is upended when his owner takes in Duke, a stray whom Max instantly dislikes.  One for the kids (or the kid in you). Trailer here.

4. Doctor Strange


A reasonably good cinematic interpretation of Marvel's Doctor Strange. It follows the story of the talented neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a tragic car accident, must put ego aside and learn the secrets of a hidden world of mysticism and alternate dimensions... Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Rachel McAdams.  Trailer here.

5. Zootopia


Known as Zootropolis in N. America, this is anthropomorphic animal fantasy animation. In a city of anthropomorphic animals, a rookie bunny cop and a cynical con artist fox must work together to uncover a conspiracy.  Trailer here.

6. Rogue One


Star Wars prequel. The Rebel Alliance moves to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow. Once a possible weakness in its construction is uncovered, the Rebel Alliance has to steal the plans as the future of the entire galaxy now rests upon its destruction.  Just before Easter it was nominated for a Hugo Award (Best Dramatic Presentation -- Long Form).  It is rather good and the director has tried to shoot it so as to give the feel of the original trilogy shot on celluloid as well as end it (no spoiler as by now vrtually everone knows) bang on the start of the very first film.  The film was diected by Gareth Edwards who was the director of Monsters but whose film making professional career followed his winning a Sci-Fi London 48 Hour Film ChallengeTrailer here.

7. X-Men: Apocalypse


A solid outing for the Marvel comics X-Men franchise.  Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshipped as a God. Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel's X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto, to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign.  Trailer here.

8. Captain America: Civil War


Another solid outing for the Marvel Captain America franchise.  With many people fearing the actions of super heroes, the government decides to push for the Hero Registration Act, a law that limits a hero's actions. This results in a division in The Avengers. Iron Man stands with this Act, but Captain America feels that saving the world is daring enough and that they cannot rely on the government to protect the world.  Trailer here.

9. The LEGO Batman Movie


Stop-go animation comedy. Great fun.  There are big changes brewing in Gotham City, and if he wants to save the city from The Joker's hostile takeover, Batman may have to drop the lone vigilante thing, try to work with others and maybe, just maybe, learn to lighten up.  Trailer here.

10. Alice Through the Looking Glass


A new adaptation of the Lewis Carroll novel which nearly hits the spot.  Alice returns to the whimsical world of Wonderland and travels back in time to help the Mad Hatter.  Director James Bobin and starring Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.  Trailer here.


And the worthies that slipped through the net...

Once again Hollywood dominates chart, the below is where you may find some worthy watching should you want to hire a DVD for the evening.

Arrival (12A)
This is our (SF² Concatenation) favourite of the Hollywood offerings this Easter-to-Easter year and its based on Ted Chiang's tale 'Story of Your Life' (And another of Ted's works is elsewhere on this site).  When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team - led by and expert linguist - is brought together to investigate. As Mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers - and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity.  Directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Louise Banks and Ian Donnelly.  We cited this at the beginning of the year (2017) as one of the best SF films of 2016 and then just before Easter it was nominated for a Hugo Award (Best Dramatic Presentation -- Long Form) which it went on to winTrailer here.

Suicide Squad (15)
This only just missed getting into the British Isles, Easter-to-Easter year, box office top ten.  A secret government agency recruits some of the most dangerous incarcerated (DC Comics) super-villains (Harley Quinn, Deadshot and the Joker et al) to form a defensive task force. Their first mission: save the world from the apocalypse.  Now it has to be said that opinion is divided: some fans and many critics do not like it, while some fans love it. OK, so this is not the best superhero/villain comics transfer to the big screen, but can you really get to much Joker and Harley on the big screen?  Trailer here.

The Girl with All the Gifts (15)
This is our (SF² Concatenation) SF-horror choice of the 12-months to Easter cinematic offerings but as it is a certificate '15' it is not as overtly horrific or scary as an '18'. It is also quite a different take on the zombie trope and is based on the Carey novel. Indeed Mike Carey wrote the screenplay for this film.  In a dystopian near future, humanity has been ravaged by a mysterious fungal disease. The afflicted are robbed of all free will and turned into flesh-eating 'hungries'. Humankind's only hope is a small group of hybrid children who crave human flesh but retain the ability to think and feel. The children go to school at an army base in rural Britain, where they're subjected to cruel experiments by Dr. Caroline Caldwell (Glenn Close).  Director: Colm McCarthy.  Trailer here.

Kong: Skull Island (12A)
A slightly more modern setting than the early 1930s for this the most recent re-boot of King Kong. Much giant ape and humongous monster mayhem.  Trailer here.

Life (12A)
Tiny monster mayhem when Martian life taken aboard the international space station infects an astronaut.  SF cinematic buff Gary Westfahl points out that this draws heavily on the themes explored in an episode of the original Outer Limits called 'Specimen: Unknown' (1964), and the films Mutiny in Outer Space (1965), and The Green Slime (1968).  Neat effects though.  Trailer here.

Star Trek Beyond (12A)
We've got to have some more space opera in the year's SF selection and this is it.  The USS Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a new ruthless enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.  Written by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung . Starring: Chris Pine (Captain James T. Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Karl Urban (McCoy), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), Simon Pegg (Scotty) and John Cho (Sulu).  Trailer here.

Logan (12)
A solid outing for the Marvel comics X-Men franchise.  In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X somewhere on the Mexican border. However, Logan's attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces.  This did not make the short-list for the 2018 Hugo Award for the 'Best Dramatic Presentation - Long Form' (the film) category but it did msake the long-list coming in at 7th (so just missing being on the short-list).  Trailer here.

Deadpool (15)
Comedy action. A fast-talking mercenary with a morbid sense of humour is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers and a quest for revenge.  We cited this at the beginning of the year (2017) as one of the best SF films of 2016 and then just before Easter it was nominated for a Hugo Award (Best Dramatic Presentation -- Long Form)Trailer here.

Director Steven Spielberg's adaptation of the Roald Dahl book.  An orphan little girl befriends a benevolent giant who takes her to Giant Country, where they attempt to stop the man-eating giants that are invading the human world   Trailer here.


See also our selection of best films of 2016 (January - December) as opposed to the year to Easter 2016 - Easter 2017 box office chart above. This personal selection is in our Spring 2017 news.

For forthcoming SF film premieres then see the Concat' Science Fiction diary.

For forthcoming SF film news then see our seasonal Science Fiction news page and its film section.

If you really are into Science Fiction (as opposed to casually passing through this site) then check out this site's What's new page for our full list of recent postings of news, reviews, diary articles and loads of other stuff.


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