Predictions on the 10 Highest Grossing Films of 2020

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Once the dust has settled on the Rise of Skywalker’s box office numbers, it will surely have passed that lofty billion $ mark, making that the 7th film Disney released in 2019 to achieve that feat. In total, Disney provided about 80% of the biggest films of the year. This was an unbelievable fluke, and one not likely to be repeated by any studio for years to come.

2020 will NOT be dominated with huge Disney hits like 2019 was, that’s for sure. Below (and above in that linked video), are our predictions for the top ten biggest films of the year, using a range of low and high estimates of the overall worldwide gross we expect them to receive.

10. Birds of Prey (Cathy Yan) – February 7
Riding on the star power of Margot Robbie and the enduring fan love of Harley Quinn, we expect this film to surprise many, and we’re going to go out on a limb and suggest it makes roughly the same amount as Suicide Squad made in 2016. While not a direct sequel, it will be a sequel to Harley Quinn’s character. Can it make more than Justice League, which tanked notoriously? We think it can, and will be a surprise hit.
Prediction: $720-775m

9. Tenet (Christopher Nolan) – July 17
Christopher Nolan’s next original IP is likely going to make a pretty penny. The average of Nolan’s three biggest films outside of The Dark Knight Trilogy (Dunkirk, Interstellar, Inception) come out to around $666m. Sinister. Because the film has a reported budget of about $225m, way more than your average superhero fare even, and with Nolan’s propensity for IMAX level productions, we expect Tenet to be highly marketed.
Prediction: $700-850m

8. Black Widow (Cate Shortland) – May 1
Scarlett Johansson is one of the biggest actresses in the world, period. Collectively, the films she’s starred in as Black Widow average a solid $1.5b gross. BUT, we doubt this film will hit the billion dollar mark. The reason being? Nobody went to see an Avengers film because of the spy who had no powers, despite the fact that she performed the impossible and kept up with the heroes around her. That and the fact that her character has recently died, effectively closing her character’s journey. We expect that will disinterest some of the more casual MCU fans, as it did Star Wars fans with Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Prediction: $750-800

7. Eternals (Chloe Zhao) – November 6
Eternals is another big film coming our way that, like Guardians of the Galaxy before it, the average moviegoing audience has never heard of before, but with significantly stronger star power, especially with Angelina Jolie signed aboard. I believe the big push here will be the Chinese market. With Zhao, a native speaker on board, expect there to be a major marketing push in China. Will it break a billion? I don’t expect it will, but it will be huge nonetheless.
Prediction: $820-840m

6. Venom 2 (Andy Serkis) – October 2
The first film was a freakish success for Sony. I don’t think anyone expected it to garner $856m in the worldwide market. With the rumored cameo appearance of Tom Holland, and Kevin Feige’s statements that Spider-man will be the only superhero that can jump cinematic universes, it’s almost a given he will be a big push for the second film’s marketing strategy. If audiences think this is Spider-Man 2.5, Sony’ll likely pull in far more of that rabid MCU market.
Prediction: $900m-$1.1b

5. No Time to Die (Cary Joji Fukunaga) – April 8
While the next James Bond film will likely suffer somewhat to the poorly received Spectre, and almost certainly won’t make anywhere near what Skyfall made (as that was riding on a 50th anniversary high), No Time to Die will likely ride on the success of Daniel Craig’s performance, and the fact that this may be his last time performing it.
Prediction: $950m-$1b

4. Wonder Woman 1984 (Patty Jenkins) – June 4
After Aquaman made a billion dollars after his proper introduction in the DCEU in Justice League, it’s clear the brand wasn’t irreparably damaged. With WW84, it’s safe to say that Patty Jenkins looks poised to strike gold again. Gal Gadot’s gross avg. for performances as Wonder Woman average out to about $783m, and the surprise critical and commercial success of the first film will carry this sequel to new heights. If they can push that jovial tone, it’ll get more family’s to go out and see it also.
Prediction: $980m-$1.03b

3. Mulan (Niki Caro) – March 27
With an all Chinese cast, and a story that much more closely resembles the classic legend told to Chinese children, this film will surely be a huge hit in the Chinese market. The drawback being that they’ve removed Mushu and much of the musical elements that stood out in the animated film, so that likely won’t be as appealing to American moviegoers. But the last three Disney live action giants, namely Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King all did well over a billion. So with the Chinese push, I expect this to go far.
Prediction: $1.05-1.15b

2. Minions: The Rise of Gru – July 3
The Despicable Me franchise and Minions are special in that each consecutive sequel makes markedly more money at the box office than the last. While there’s always a peak, it may be too early to determine whether or not this franchise has seen it yet. The previous Minions film made a whopping $1.159b!
Prediction: $1.1-1.2b

1. Fast & Furious 9 (Justin Lin) – May 22
Sandwiched between Black Widow and Wonder Woman 1984, Fast & Furious 9 won’t have the breathing room to make as much money as 7 did, but it’s one of the biggest franchises ever in China (second only to The Avengers franchise). This movie will inevitably make more than a billion, and we believe it will be the highest grosser of the year.
Prediction: $1.2-1.35b

Marvel’s Unprecedented Growth: Can It Be Stopped?

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A year and a half ago I wrote an article just after the Marvel Cinematic Universe reached a worldwide gross of 10 Billion dollars in ticket sales. Captain America: Civil War was the film that pushed the franchise over that incredible milestone, making the MCU the very first series to ever reach $10 Billion dollars. It was also the first series to reach 8 and 9 Billion. And since Civil War, three more films have been released under the MCU umbrella bringing the total to over $12 Billion worldwide, and this number shows no signs of slowing. And this lead me to ask the question, can the MCU be stopped?

The answer I gave, based on the growth rate of rival franchises and series at the time was no. It cannot be stopped, and it won’t be topped for another 10-15 years EVEN IF the MCU stops producing films within the next 5 years. By this time next year alone the numbers will likely jump from $12 to around $17 billion at the box office. By averaging the gross of the current Phase 3 films, multiplying that by the number of non-Avenger films coming out, and adding the average of the previous Avengers films together, you’ll find that this next year will be Marvel’s biggest to date. It’s a mighty sum.

In that time Star Wars will overtake J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World films as the number two highest grossing film franchise of all time and it will most likely make it to that coveted $10 Billion box office milestone club. But can Star Wars EVER top what the MCU is amassing at an unprecedented rate? Until the MCU slows down, still no. Even if every Star Wars film rakes in $2 Billion dollars worldwide like The Force Awakens did, which they most certainly cannot, the fact that Marvel has bumped their output from 2 films per year to 3, ensures that their growth will exceed that on an annual basis. And as Star Wars is only putting out 1 film per year, that just won’t happen. But Star Wars just may take that spot some day, because it’s a franchise that’s willing to play the long game.

Now, as impressive as the box office figures are for the MCU, it must be tempered by other figures. If adjusted for the inflation of ticket prices today, the James Bond franchise would sit at the number 1 spot, albeit for only a brief period of time more, with $14 Billion. And as of 2012, Star Wars as a marketing brand was estimated at a worth of over $30 Billion, and I don’t doubt that since Disney has bought it, it’s sitting closer to $40 Billion.

But it is no surprise that since 2012 saw the release of Marvel’s first full team-up in The Avengers, many, many studios have been fast-tracking their own brand of a Cinematic Universe, to varying degrees of success. In our Sunday Geekly Poll we asked you guys whether or not Cinematic Universes were worth it. Over 240 of you voted in and here are your results:

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