2018 Box Office
If nobody knows anything, as William Goldman put it regarding the potential success or failure of a movie, my annual bash at guessing what may or may not do well at the year’s box office is as useful, or useless, as anyone else’s. There are definitely likely to be some major casualties this summer, with a glut of releases treading on each other’s toes for serious bank, but pulling out which ones will suffer is less clear. Even a picture Like Alita: Battle Angel, which looks at first glance as if it will go the way of Ghost in the Shell, may not be straightforward.
Movies that didn’t scrape into my Top 60, but shouldn’t be discounted are: Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (I’m told the kids just love the show), Sicario 2: Soldado (although the original didn’t make that much), Escape Plan II: Hades (will decades old harassment allegations dint Sly’s box office – more to the point, does anyone want an Escape Plan sequel, one without Arnie and from the director of straight to video Bruce/ Nic Cage/ John Cusack fare?), Bohemian Rhapsody (needs to see off the bad smell of Bryan Singer and be decent, while being Queen-approved and neutered), The Spy Who Dumped Me (Justin Theroux, Kate McKinnon… and charisma vacuum Mila Kunis), 15:17 to Paris (87-year-old Clint’s fifth biographical movie on the trot, and hoping for some of that rarely assured American Sniper, War-on-Terror dollar), Guernsey (formerly The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, directed by Mike Newell, and surely one for the silver-haired ticket) The Hurricane Heist (makes me think of Hard Rain, which surely isn’t good; directed by Rob Cohen, which is even less so), The Girl in the Spider’s Web (just a baffling reboot, one from source material not written by the original author and following a high profile star-driven English language remake of the first novel that fizzled; actually, not baffling, as Sony paid for the rights so needs to justify the outlay), Alpha (one Palaeolithic boy and his dog) and First Man (not a Damien Chazelle musical, but rather Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong. I probably shouldn’t doubt Chazelle – everything he’s done tells you he’s a winner. But doubt this I do, unless Gosling does a song-and-dance number on the Moon).
60= Truth or Dare
WW: $105m/ US: $60m
Blumhouse don’t seem able miss the mark right now (by standards of profit-cost, they’re leagues ahead of just about anyone) and this should be no exception, a kind of Final Destination variant based on the titular game (although, those smile effects may get old fast). (UK: 4 May, US: 27 April)
60= The Commuter
WW: $105m/ US: $45m
Are audiences becoming a bit jaded with long-in-the-tooth Liam kicking ass? Nothing outside Taken has made comparable sums since, with Non-Stop very much on the high end ($223m). (UK: 19 January, US: 12 January)
60= Insidious: The Last Key
WW: $105m/ US: $45m
Grosses are dwindling for this series, but it’s still a no-brainer when it comes in this cheap ($10m). (UK: 12 January, US: 5 January)
57= Holmes and Watson
WW: $110m/ US: $75m
Will Ferrell and John C Reilly go where Billy Wilder, Gene Wilder and Sir Michael Caine went before them: getting yuks from Conan Doyle. Or perhaps they don’t. Get them, that is. Without a Clue Too? (UK/US: 9 November)
57= Purge: The Island
WW: $110m/ US: $65m
Just try purging this series. It’s unstoppable, such that I wouldn’t even bet against the prequel death knell of an origins story (it worked for Annabelle, after all). (US: 4 July)
WW: $110m/ US: $70m
This should have sleeper all over it, but Jason Reitman hasn’t been on such a roll lately (Labor Day, Young Adult) compared to peak box office form (Juno, Up in the Air). Here, he reteams with Charlize Theron, who plays a mother with a star nanny (Mackenzie Davis). If it manages to hit all the right crowd-pleasing beats, Diablo Cody could finally have another hit on her hands. (UK/US: 20 April)
WW: $115m/ US: $45m
Very possibly very good, but bad luck and Jon Favreau can wreak havoc with the best Jungle Book intentions. What’s the track record for like-minded movies both doing well? You can have variations on a theme (Deep Impact, Armageddon), but the same source material? This will surely be Andy Serkis’ Valmont to Favreau’s Dangerous Liaisons, unless it’s somehow distinctive and attractive enough in its own right. (UK/US: 19 October)
56= Night School
WW: $115m/ US: $80m
Kevin Hart comedy. The title’s a clue. Even Get Hard made $112m. (UK/US: 28 September)
WW: $120m/ US: $80m
A bona fide Halloween sequel for the first time since H20… which is being ignored in this iteration. And it comes with John Carpenter’s blessing. No, I’m still not convinced, but I wouldn’t put it beyond David Gordon Green to fashion a decent horror film, and I certainly wouldn’t expect Blumhouse to release one that was likely to go belly up. (UK/US: 19 October)
53. Game Night
WW: $125/ US: $60m
This could be wildly off, but the trailer for this Jason Bateman starrer, which comes across as The Game played for laughs but with actual deaths, suggests Game Night could be a surprise sleeper hit. (UK: 4 May/ US: 23 February)
52. Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings
WW: $130m/ US: $1m
Tsui Hark’s third Detective Dee made $100m four years ago, so the prospects and additional anticipation for the latest outing are likely high. (China: 27 July)
51. The God Complex
WW: $135m/ US: $85m
Or Cloverfield Movie 2018. Set aboard a space station where an experiment goes wrong, you might be forgiven for assuming this was Life 2 ($100m gross), but you’d be forgetting the Bad Robot mystery box. The previous Cloverfields took $110/$170m, so somewhere in between sounds like a decent bet, provided the constantly shuffling release date isn’t a sign of a waiting bomb. (US: 20 April)
50. Robin Hood
WW: $145m/ US: $65m
Oh dear. Formerly Robin Hood: Origins, until it became clear promising a franchise you couldn’t deliver wasn’t the wisest idea (see King Arthur: Legend of the Sword). It has already been shunted from March to September, and the omens aren’t good. Another gritty taken on a legend (Legend of the Sword, also scripted by Joby Harold, also with highly anachronistic tailoring) and another grand budget entrusted to a feature debutant (Geostorm, Pacific Rim Uprising). Looking on the positive side, Taron Egerton’s much more personable than Charlie Hunman, and wouldn’t it be fun if this was a hit that had studios second guessing their second guesses on cinematic universes? (US: 21 September)
48= Goosebumps: Horrorland
WW: $150m/ US: $60m
The undemanding 2015 flick based on RL Stine’s long running children’s book series received generous notices and all but guaranteed a sequel based on its modest budget, with director Rob Letterman and star Jack Black returning (as Stine). (UK: 19 October, US: 12 October)
WW: $150m/ US: $5m
Zhang Yimou’s last, The Great Wall, was something of a mismatched attempt to expand Chinese box office internationally with US stars. It made $335m globally, but was deemed a failed experiment (after all, a Wolf Warrior 2 didn’t even need to leave China). His latest is a pure historical, so its cachet may be narrower.
46= Early Man
WW: $155m/ US: $45m
No matter what care and craft is put in, there appears to be a low ceiling to Aardman’s box office potential. Indeed, their biggest hit (Chicken Run) is arguably their least personal and most Hollywood-homogenised. They’ve also got the poor track record for caveman comedies to contend with. Just ask Ringo Starr. (UK: 26 January, US: 16 February)
46= Creed 2
WW: $155m/ US: $95m
For the most part, Ryan Coogler’s original movie managed to both bookend the Rocky saga and start a whole new one. It remains to be seen if this follow up can capitalise on that or ends up feeling like a sequel for the sake of it (complete with Dolph Lundgren). (US: 21 November)
45. Detective Chinatown 2
WW: $160m/ US: $1m
Another guaranteed hit, this one following up the $125m grossing 2016 original. (China: 16 February)
44. A Wrinkle in Time
WW: $165m/ US: $85m
A difficult one to estimate, but there’s a lot of that this year. If Fandango is to be believed, Wrinkle’s one of the ten most anticipated titles of 2018 (but then, so is Ocean’s 8). Then there’s it being a well-known children’s novel constantly in print. Does that mean it has broad – and more especially international, given the predominately African-American cast – appeal? I’m going conservative in my estimate, particularly as the trailers make this seem entirely flat, despite the rainbow-green screen envisaging, even though the $103m budget suggests Disney is expecting (hoping for?) great things (the best outcome: it’s another Bridge to Terabithia, quality-wise, and it makes a mint). (UK: 23 March, US: 9 March)
43. Slender Man
WW: $170m/ US: $80m
This might, of course, be a really terrible movie (the trailer’s all over the shop), but Sylvain White (The Losers, I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer), dubiously coming off the back of the actual stabbing verdict, might hit a nerve if Slender Man’s even halfway effective. The screenplay comes from David Birke (Paul Verhoeven’s Elle). (UK/US: 18 May)
42. The Equalizer 2
WW: $175m/ US: $75m
Denzel’s first sequel, to a solid but unremarkable 2014 original. Washington tends to have a core WW gross for thriller fare, between $130 and $200m, and this, though it reportedly had a particularly strong afterlife on rental, will need to distinguish itself if it’s to expand significantly on the first. (UK: 24 August, US: 3 August)
41. Johnny English 3
WW: $180m/ US: $20m
TV director David Kerr graduates to features to follow up the 2003 and 2011 Johnny Englishs. Rowan Atkinson’s about the age Roger Moore was when he hung up his Walther PPK, which may or may not encourage a font of gags. These mid-budget pictures tend to gross triple their budget, and the US take proves almost entirely irrelevant, as production company Working Title readily admits. (UK/US: 12 October)
40. Mortal Engines
WW: $185m/ US: $75m
Peter Jackson’s name (not post-Hobbit, anyway, and even before that: remember The Lovely Bones?) and the goofiness of the idea (cities on wheels roaming the planet) need to go some way before the Mad Max, future-dystopia vibe makes up the difference. Then there’s Christian Rivers being a first-time feature director, and whether this is the kind of YA fare that will be met with bated breath. It certainly needs to, with a $100m price tag. (UK/US: 14 December)
39. Angel Has Fallen
WW: $190m/ US: $55m
The first, Olympus Has Fallen, made $170m, the second, London Has Fallen, $205m. This one is pegged for 2018, but not currently dated. If it gets a slot, expect in the region of $200m for the latest burst of knuckled-headed, spare-no-mercy phantom terrorist mayhem.
38. Operation Red Sea
WW: $200m/ US: $1m
Not a sequel per se, but it sees returning director Dante Lam following in the line of Operation Mekong with a piece of crowd-pleasing action propaganda (this one based on the 2015 evacuation of Chinese citizens and foreign nationals from the port of Aden during the Yemini Civil War). Mekong grossed $173m in China in 2016, and this looks to be another huge hit there, and is the common story, will barely make a dent anywhere else. (China: 16 February)
37. The Monkey King 3
WW: $215m/ US: $3m
Monkey King 2 made nearly $200m in 2016, and the original $180m, so it’s likely this second sequel should do just as well.
36. Ocean’s 8
WW: $235m/ US: $105m
The lowest grosser in the Ocean’s 11 trilogy hit $300m, but this is really another thing entirely, as its female makeover offers only the loosest continuity (and Matt Damon). Director Gary Ross has delivered in the past (notably the first Hunger Games, helped out by Ocean’s helmer Steven Soderbergh), but I’m dubious about Ocean’s 8 potential to get really high, not for irate fanboy Ghostbusters reasons, but rather appetite generally. (UK: 22 June, US: 8 June)
35. Red Sparrow
WW: $240m/ US: $125m
Red Sparrow was a possible 2017 release for a time, but its current berth separates it significantly from the cheaper, grittier Atomic Blonde. J-Law is a Russian spy falling in love with Joel Edgerton’s CIA officer, with Hunger Games sequels director Francis Lawrence calling the shots. The big question is its star’s draw outside of X-Men (where she’s a supporting player) and Katniss Everdeen (who might be regarded as a one-off). Passengers made it to $300m, her David O Russells no more than $250m. Top end, Red Sparrow does Salt business ($300m-ish), but audiences will probably need more motivation to see it than the first trailer gave. (UK/US: 2 March)
33= Maze Runner: The Death Cure
WW: $245m/ US: $85m
A movie delay can increase appetite (Fast & Furious 7), but Dylan O’Brien’s injury while making this final instalment might have an adverse effect in an already waning YA market. Scorch Trials kicked the trend for sequels to well-received originals increasing grosses regardless of quality, but whatever the outcome, at least fans will have their ending (in contrast to Divergent). (UK/US: 26 January)
33= Tomb Raider
WW: $245m/ US: $75m
With the exception of the modestly budgeted Resident Evil franchise, video game adaptations simply can’t be relied upon. Some have made money (The Prince of Persia) but cost too much in the first place. Others, like the Jolie Tomb Raiders, were commonly judged to have stunk the place out (but the first did very well, despite the reviews). 2016’s Assassin’s Creed was only the latest harshly received such picture, following the harshly received Warcraft earlier that year (more than $400m worldwide, but still not enough to justify a sequel). This Alicia Vikander reboot dispenses with Lara’s gravity-defying cleavage, so that could always be blamed if it fails. On the other hand, there’s the Wonder Woman female action audience to be tapped. Potentially. The plot sounds like a load of old cock, if the trailer is anything to go by, so much will depend on whether director Roar Uthaug can deliver. (UK/US: 16 March)
WW: $250m/ US: $5m
Chinese epic fantasy set in the titular Buddhist dimension of desire threatened with a coup. Asura comes from stunt coordinator Peng Zhang and is looking to do brisk business (a $100m budget). It’s loosely positioned for a 2018 release.
31. The Predator
WW: $260m/ US: $105m
Fox has reportedly thrown Shane Black a significant sum to reinvigorate this, one of their key franchises but one that has never quite become a tentpole like its sister Alien series. The question is, did it ever have that potential (at least, without Arnie toplining)? Black’s take is “unexpected and utterly fresh”, although perhaps not in terms of typical Black templates (a boy and his dad are the focus, which in one way or another is common to Last Boy Scout, Iron Man Three and The Nice Guys). If it gets strong buzz, The Predator might do swell, but otherwise, I’d expect Alien: Covenant or Blade Runner 2049 numbers, particularly as The Equalizer 2 and the following week’s The Meg could shoot down/gobble up its potential audience. (UK/US: 3 August)
30. The Nun
WW: $260m/ US: $90m
Corin Hardy is currently attached to the long-gestating The Crow reboot, but this fifth entry in The Conjuring-verse, based on a character in The Conjuring 2, just as the Annabelles were based on the intro to The Conjuring, ought to see him getting tonnes of offers when that inevitably doesn’t come to pass. Annabelle: Creation made $306m last year, almost as much as its Conjuring main attractions (and in a year without It, would have been the horror hit to crow about). There seems little reason to doubt The Nun will follow in such footsteps. (US: 13 July)
27= The New Mutants
WW: $305m/ US: $115m
This will probably be superior to Dark Phoenix, by dint of taking a more distincitive, horror-tinged tone than a superhero one, but make less money. Mutants in a secret facility are menaced by, well not Freddy Kreuger, but Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) cites Dream Warriors as an influence. The New Mutants skews decidedly YA, which is different, since that boom is generally regarded as a bit over, but if word of mouth is good, this one could be something of a sleeper. That it’s clear of Avengers by a couple of weeks is probably neither here nor there, as I don’t think anyone will be mistaking them as direct competition (is that a vote of confidence for how the superhero genre has the potential to expand and cross genre boundaries?) (UK: 11 April, US: 13 April)
27= Fifty Shades Freed
WW: $305m/ US: $90m
The first Fifty Shades sequel made almost $200m less than the original globally, no doubt due to the anticipation fevered imaginations had conjured on the page being dashed by the limp results on screen. I wouldn’t expect this third instalment to meet with a comparable drop, but neither do I think there’ll be a bump for Anastasia’s final bondage romp. (UK/US: 9 February)
27= Pacific Rim Uprising
WW: $305m/ US: $55m
The first Pacific Rim creaked to $400m worldwide, a third of which was made in the Middle Kingdom (and also the crucial factor in greenlighting the sequel). With Guillermo del Toro passing, the baton has been entrusted to feature debut director (a red flag more times than not) Steven S DeKnight, with a lower but still substantial budget ($150m from $190m) and a cast of even less banner-troubling names than Idris Elba and Charlie Hunman (John Boyega and Scott Eastwood). None of which would necessarily be a concern if the trailers didn’t look hideous; Del Toro at least gave the CGI robotic action a sense of weight and substnace. Uprising looks like an expensive TV movie. (UK/US: 23 March)
26. Alita: Battle Angel
WW: $325m/ US: $120m
If the last live-action anime conversion is anything to go by ($169m global), this ought to be an unsightly bomb for Fox, but it doesn’t pay to underestimate James Cameron, even when he has inexplicably given the nod to Robert Rodriguez taking over his long-gestating project. If the trailer is anything indication, Rodriguez may have forsaken his usual slipshod, cheap-and-cheerful approach for something more measured and considered. And, for all that there has been disbelief at the over-sized-eyed imitation of the anime style, for no clearly defined reason, it might well be the key to the picture’s appeal; this looks different. It stands out. I’m doubtful Alita will do Cameron-sized numbers, or even justify the expense, and it could be another Dark Angel, but it could also turn out surprisingly well. Also to consider: Alita’s scheduled amid a crammed July, so really needs to exert a must-see factor to fend off Skyscraper the week before and M:I 6 the week after. (UK/US: 20 July)
25. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
WW: $355m/ US: $140m
You might assume the bottom will instantly drop out of the X-Men market on the basis of the yet to be approved Disney-Fox deal, but it’s more likely that – unless debut director and long-time series writer and producer Simon Kinberg somehow knocks it out of the park, which let’s face it, isn’t the way it tends to work when writers unwarrantedly and suddenly graduate to having huge budgets to piss away – it will simply sink to the level of pre-Days of Future Past performers like First Class and The Wolverine. Of course, I was wrong about Logan’s potential. And Deadpool’s. (UK/US: 2 November)
24. Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
WW: $380m/ US: $145m
The second Hotel was a bigger hit than the first to the tune of $100m, but this outing is shorn of its Halloween berth and unleashed on a crowded summer market. Can it do the business? Well, it arrives almost a month after Incredibles 2, so has no animations steeping directly on its toes (although Marvel’s family-friendly Ant-Man and the Wasp arrives the week before). I don’t rate the series at all, but it probably hasn’t reached Ice Age levels of fatigue yet, and this is Adam Sandler’s sole cinematic avenue at present, so I suspect it will do less well than its predecessor but more than agreeably for what is, as per Sony guidelines, a modestly-budgeted cartoon flick. (UK: 27 July, US: 13 July)
23. The Meg
WW: $395m/ US: $85m
A Chinese co-production toplined by the Stat, where he’s something of a draw, and the prospects of a giant shark and a strong reception in the Middle Kingdom (Bing Le and ex co-star) could spell a formidable combination for this long-in-development movie. Hopefully, being the Stat, it also has a sense of fun about itself. If the pencilled-in release dates are accurate, the delay in getting it out in the US has the possibility of negatively – or positively, piracy aside – impacting its reception there. (UK: 2 March, US: 10 August)
WW: $400m/ US: $115m
The bottom dropped out of the Transformers cinematic universe no sooner had it been created, with The Last Knight grossing half a billion dollars less than its predecessor. Unfortunately for Paramount, spinoff Bumblebee was already in production by that point. On the plus side, this won’t have cost as much, it has a fairly open field as a late year release, and Laika director Travis Knight could bring a genuine sense of fun to the previously Bay-dominated Hasbro series. The ‘80s period setting might also be a nostalgic selling point post-It and Stranger Things (alternatively, it could seem like bandwagon jumping). I expect a modest showing. (US: 21 December)
WW: $410m/ US: $95m
Can there be too much Johnson in a single year? Another Chinese co-production, in which Dwayne reteams with Rawson Marshall Thurber (Central Intelligence) for a 3D disaster picture in the vein of San Andreas by way of Towering Inferno. Logic dictates it will be pretty awful, but that didn’t prevent San Andreas making a whole lot of coin ($100m in China alone). (UK/US: 13 July)
20. Ready Player One
WW: $415m/ US: $165m
This is a curious fish. On the face of it, it has the air of a huge miscalculation from an out-of-touch filmmaker lost to his ivory tower, like Cameron and Alita: Battle Angel. Do we really want to see avatars of characters that look as if they’d have been impressively rendered circa 2001? An escapist world exactly as colourful as cinematographer Janus Kaminsiki can provide (not very)? An adaptation of a widely derided ‘80s nostalgia-drenched novel that seems – ironically – to totally fail to capture the elements of the decade that so appealed, particularly given one its main architects, Spielberg, is directing?
And yet, Ready Player One offers the kind of techno-plug-in future Elon Musk would be proud of, an escapist fantasy, that like the Matrix offers a cautionary message about not living in reality while showing that, actually, not living in reality is much cooler, because you can be a chosen-one hero there. This is Spielberg’s first futuristic foray since the rather great Minority Report, and the palate is inappropriately similar, while also seeing him dabble in the motion-capture arena of the underrated The Adventures of Tintin. If Ready Player One is as good as those two, it might be much bigger than I’m predicting, but it should be remembered that it’s a decade since the director delivered a successful blockbuster, and that was the massively disappointing Indy 5. Warner Bros will surely be hoping this emulates his pre 21st century fare, rather than the stumblebum of The BFG. (UK/US: 30 March)
WW: $435m/ US: $140m
“Geooooooorge!” What the hell is this, exactly? I mean, really? A computer game adaptation that changes everything everyone liked about the game and turns it into a quasi-King Kong knockoff (I bet The Rock isn’t nearly as concerned for the welfare of the giant wolf and crocodile)? Well, that much isn’t unusual. And what does it matter if it’s lousy? Dwayne Johnson’s frequently unaccountable movie choices unaccountably, unless they’re Baywatch, seem prone to an enthusiastic audience response (San Andreas, anyone?) It shows up a month after Pacific Rim Uprising’s giant monsters, and less than two weeks before Infinity War, but that may be enough to make a significantly-sized box office footprint. Johnson continues his successful collaboration with Brad Peyton (Journey 2, San Andreas). (UK: 13 April, US: 20 April)
18. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
WW: $450m/ US: $165m
Difficult to gauge, this. It slots into the Disney Princess live-action (and animation) onslaught, but lacks the pre-existing brand awareness of Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella. Of course, that did the Snow Queen-based Frozen no harm, but the whole remit of the live-action transfers is recognition in a different medium. Those diverging significantly from that (Oz: The Great and Powerful, Alice Through the Looking Glass) haven’t been the unqualified hits the others have. Still, Lasse Hallström has ensured Nutcracker looks sumptuous, even if the teaser doesn’t give away much about whether there’ll be anything story wise for the little would-be princesses to get behind. This one took the delayed Mulan’s slot, and Disney are certainly selling it as a successor to the likes of Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book, but that title is no more audience friendly than Oz’s. (UK: 26 October, US: 2 November)
17. A Star is Born
WW: $475m/ US: $205m
Musician-turned-actor fare can also be difficult to predict, but just knowing that an Eminem or Whitney can turn everything up roses rather than Madge-side down makes Lady Gaga’s prospects of pulling a Streisand on this third remake of the 1934 original not something to underestimate. Originally on Clint’s plate with Beyoncé headlining, Bradley Cooper took over and now directs and co-stars (he’s in the James Mason/Kris Kristofferson role). If this hits, it could hit big, or even bigger. (5 October)
16. Monster Hunt 2
WW: $510m/ US: $5m
Sequel to the $380m grossing original, for a brief period in 2015 China’s highest grossing film (and still Number 4). It remains to be seen if there’s an $800m Wolf Warrior 2 in the offing for 2018, but this one, with its message of acceptance and understanding, seems guaranteed to make at least its predecessor’s tally and then some. (UK: 16 February)
WW: $560m/ US: $175m
The Sony spinoff verse is an entirely unquantified prospect, as well as being the last bastion of unsolicited Marvel properties if the Disney-Fox merger is sanctioned from above. Is Spider-Man in this film? Tom Holland’s Spider-Man? The official-non-official line is so convoluted, no one seems to be on-statement (they’re “adjunct” says Amy Pascal, and in the same world as Homecoming). They’ve got big name Tom Hardy in the lead, which is something, and Ruben Fleischer directing, which might have been more impressive immediately following Zombieland than it is currently. Venom is also R-rated, it’s eye on the lucrative outcome that choice led to for Logan and Deadpool. If this stands out, in a good way, you could well add another $100m to its tally. (UK/US: 5 October)
WW: $565m/ US: $160m
Just who’s begging to see Aquaman? It’s DC relying on Marvel magic to sell a lesser character, but without the conjuring abilities of a Kevin Feige to ensure sure it comes off. Nevertheless, if anyone can deliver a crowd-pleasing spectacle that’s bigger on fun than gloom, it’s Justin Lin, even if he has some serious impediments to surpass, not least the bro, surf-jockey, beer-guzzling characterisation of Arthur Curry. I’m dubious that Justice League did anything to whet appetites for Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, so this may have an uphill battle, although I don’t think we’re looking at anything approaching a Green Lantern-level misfire. On the other hand, if it’s simply really good, it could, similarly to Venom, make another $100m on top of this estimate. As a positive, Aquaman only has Bumblebee as a serious seasonal contender, but a mere lack of competition won’t make it a hit. (UK/US: 21 December)
13. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again!
WW: $575m/ US: $155m
Past endeavours dictate that trying to sequelise a musical chick flick like this can lead to a Grease 2, or a Bigger Fatter Greeker Wedding. But this sequel brings back the original’s cast, a decade on, promises more Abba – surely the main attraction – and more tears jerked, and it’s released in a summer landscape without any direct competition. By rights, it ought to go down a lot better than Pierce Brosnan’s singing. (UK: 27 July, US: 20 July)
12. Ant-Man and the Wasp
WW: $615m/ US: $205m
Ant-Man’s just about the only modest Marvel performer in recent memory, its $500m three years ago resting comfortably near the bottom of their rankings. It wasn’t nearly as expensive as their main contenders, so there’s that, but I think it’s fair to suggest there isn’t the level of anticipation for this sequel that greeted their last few properties. Ant-Man was liked, but little more than that, so expecting this to do leaps and bounds better business than the first feels unrealistic. Additionally, Peyton Reed’s probably the least interesting director to handle a repeat visit this side of the Russo brothers, and less versatile. A factor that might make a significant distance is how audience-pleasing the character’s showing in Infinity War is. (UK: 3 August, US: 6 July, the gap for the UK release no doubt a World Cup-related decision.)
11. M:I 6 - Mission Impossible
WW: $630m/ US: $200m
Peak Impossible so far has been nudging $700m, and this one might get there, even with Tom suffering a snapped ankle. It all depends if Christopher McQuarrie can deliver the goods, the first time a director has returned to this franchise. I wouldn’t have serious doubts there, since he did such a splendid job with Rogue Nation. While there’s very loose character continuity in these movies, their appeal is partly Cruise as the only constant and the least defined character he’s played. It’s a refreshing distinction from the franchise norm, so hopefully the decision to delve a little more into his persona here isn’t an unwise one. (UK/US: 27 July)
10. Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It-Ralph 2
WW: $640m/ US: $210m
Wreck-It was half a decade ago now, when it made almost half a billion, somewhat less than Disney Princesses or even Big Hero 6. It’s always possible the movie has earned Incredibles-level anticipation in that time, but a lot will depend on the particular cross-generational appeal Ralph engendered, and if the plot can replicate that. I wouldn’t bet against it, and probably more satisfyingly than Ready Player One. (UK: 30 November/ US: 21 November)
9. Black Panther
WW: $675m/ US: $235m
Depending on the February market place – it can be a godsend to a blockbuster – Black Panther could climb even higher than this, although some might suggest an African-American lead could dent its international potential (such demographic suppositions recently took a hit in the wake of Wonder Woman’s success). As a franchise introduction, I’m thinking Doctor Strange figures, even given we’ve seen this character at work already in Civil War. (UK: 12 February, US: 16 February)
8. Mary Poppins Returns
WW: $705m/ US: $255m
A recast sequel to a roundly loved classic with Returns in the title? Surely it spells disaster? At least Bryans Singer isn’t involved in this one. Mary Poppins 2 has Dick van Dyke, so there’s that, but making a sequel to a property with the young protagonists grown old spelled creative ruin in the case of Hook (although it was a big hit). Disney continues to throw Rob Marshall the keys to its kingdom, despite his being cinematically ill equipped for the challenge (Pirates 4, Into the Woods, the upcoming Little Mermaid), often based on his assumed facility for musicals.
On the pedigree side, David Magee has received kudos for several literary adaptations/ screenplays (Finding Neverland, Life of Pi, Mrs Pettigrew) and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical magical fairy dust is about as close as you can come to safe pair of hands for the songs. Disney’s track record with their totems has been remarkably consistent of late, so I wouldn’t underestimate this any more than their animation-to-live-action range. The only question is how high it can fly, unaided by a brolly. (UK: 21 December, US: 25 December)
7. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
WW: $720m/ US: $200m
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them had a mixed reception, and rests squarely near the bottom of the Rowling-verse pile grosses-wise. I don’t think had very much to do with Johnny Depp turning up at the end, just as I don’t think his larger role in this follow-up will be any reflection if it underperforms, or Pirates 5 wouldn’t have made $800m (online denouncements don’t equate to global box office). Rather, it will be illustrative of the perils of assumed, built-in prequel audiences, and the staleness that ensues from sticking rigidly to one director (Yates will now have directed as many Rowling movies as Jackson did Tolkien ones). I hope Crimes surprises, as I rather liked the first one, but I’m expecting a Hobbit-type drop in the gross. They really need to lose that subtitle too. Yuk. (UK/US: 16 November)
6. Incredibles 2
WW: $865m/ US: $315m
The Incredibles made $600m fourteen years ago, and following Finding Nemo’s example, this belated sequel (more loved than a Monsters Inc, but less loved than a Nemo, even given the accusations of Randian philosophy levelled at it) might actually not quite justify the anticipation (Dory only made $100m more than the original, so significantly less when inflation is factored in), particularly given the surfeit of superhero fare in the intervening period. This one, like Dory, also seems to revolve at least partly around the tiny tot offspring (funny that, for Pixar), so while I’d expect it to score, Incredibles 2 might not astound anyone. (UK: 13 July, US: 15 June)
5. Deadpool 2
WW: $885m/ US: $365m
Generally, with something like Deadpool, you’d have expected a relatively modest first chapter before word of mouth ensured a massive increase for the sequel. I don’t know how much wider this can go, since it will inevitably be more of the same (jokes-wise), with an increase in budget and a step up in action choreography. I wasn’t really sold on the first, so I could well be underestimating its potential, and that it might be unwise to unshackle if from the winter months and push it into the summer. Could it happen, though: Untitled Deadpool Sequel reaching $1bn? (UK/US: 1 June)
4. The Grinch
WW: $900m/ US: $300m
If Jim Carrey and Ron Howard’s risible version could make $345m globally back in 2000, how much more should Illumination’s version steal, an animation house that hasn’t had a movie grossing less than $600m in the past five years? Certainly, if The Grinch doesn’t clean up, they should flog themselves for messing up. (UK/US: 9 November)
3. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
WW: $1.015bn/ US: $325m
If you were to go by the online response to Jurassic World, the sequel wouldn’t hit half a billion, but I think it’s fair to say there’s a massive disconnect between how successful that film was and how vocally it was maligned. I didn’t think it noticeably shat on an already redundant series (if you insist on applying a conservation, rather than menace-to-be-destroyed-at-all-costs, agenda to dinosaurs, you’re hugely limited in possible avenues, and then even more so if you go all tone deaf to what audiences want to see and confine them to an island). The common response to the premise of Fallen Kingdom, as set out in the trailer, has been understandable derision, so that’s a hurdle to get past straight off, but even if this one loses a third of its audience, it’s still set to gross a billion globally (on the other hand, word is that the third act of is a tense, smaller-scale affair, which might make all the difference). (UK: 8 June, US: 22 June)
2. Solo: A Star Wars Story
WW: $1.075bn/ US: $475m
Some are whispering this will flop outright, others that Lucasfilm is more than happy with little Ronnie Howard’s salvage job. The proof of the pudding will ultimately be whether Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover can offer not just serviceable but also appealing renditions of Han and Lando. Anything like the forgettable characterisation of Rogue One simply won’t pass muster. It’s also possible that, post Last Jedi backlash, there’s a dent in the immediate Star Wars box office, as those audibly butt hurt by the franchise need time to recuperate. (UK/US: 25 May)
1. Avengers: Infinity War
WW: $1.235bn/ US: $445m
Have we reached peak Marvel? I have a feeling, barring the unexpected stylistically, or in terms of content (Thor: Ragnarok offered both to an extent, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 wasn’t sufficiently distinctive to markedly increase the fan base of the original), we aren’t going to see the numbers of Age of Ultron, let alone the first Avengers again. It takes a lot to make a series seem fresh once more, unless unfettered the way Fox’s Marvel output has been for the last couple of entries, and while the promise of iconic figures dying left right and centre might partially offer that, it can also backfire (The Last Jedi). There’s also the small fact that the Russo brothers, while entirely competent, are neither masters of spectacle nor action, and the little fact that the Big Bad as another oversized, mo-capped humanoid rotter. Likely the biggest hit of the year, but not as big a hit as it would have been a couple of years earlier. (UK: 27 April, US: 5 May)
The 2017 Shakeout
Here’s my ever-very variable guesstiwork from last year. The biggest underestimates and overestimates included Beauty and the Beast, It, Logan, Transformers: The Last Knight, Dunkirk, The Boss Baby, The Mummy, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Alien: Covenant and mother! So sit back and chortle at my frequent cluelessness.
1. Beauty and the Beast
Actual: WW: $1.264m/ US: $504m
My Prediction: (10th) WW: $640m/ US: $265m
I suggested: It could feasibly reach the (fluky) hit level of the desperately average Maleficent ($759m)… but if it’s a movie that only reminds you how the animated “original” is superior, it may encounter difficulties.
I was wrong on both counts, as the movie went down a storm and then some while being a shallow rehearsal of the animated version. With this and The Jungle Book back-to-back verging on or topping $1bn, live-action Disneys seem unstoppable. Then again, there’s an unknown quantity coming this year…
2. Fast and Furious 8
Actual: WW: $1.236m/ US: $226m
My Prediction: (2nd) WW: $1.205m/ US: $310m
I suggested: This will be the tester; to what extent were the gains made by Furious 7 based on Paul Walker’s death and the mythologizing of their “family” unit? $400m of the gross came from China, though, more than the US, so betting against this is a mug’s game. But there has to be a ceiling for any franchise. Doesn’t there?
And so, it seems, there was. Once again, almost $400m came from China, but globally that has to be balanced against a drop of nearly $300m on Furious 7 (including a $127m drop in the US). That’s still $400m more than the series’ nearest competitor, but suggests we’ve seen peak F&F.
3. Star War: The Last Jedi (still in release)
Actual: $1.23bn/ US: $549m
My Prediction: WW: $1.95bn/ US: $725m
I suggested: Strictly by past form of the second parts of Star Wars trilogies, Episode VIII should take a bit of a tumble…
My prediction was optimistic, but despite the backlash, this looks as if it will comfortably finish up in the $1.4-5bn range (reflecting previous second episode drops). It will certainly be 2018’s Number One, as – a no-brainer – predicted.
4. Despicable Me 3
Actual: WW: $1.034m/ US: $265m
My Prediction: (4th) WW: $985m/ US: $305m
I suggested: There’s always the danger that spinning off Despicable Me’s secret weapon, the Minions, will weaken the performance of the main brand, if one considers they might be the chief reason nippers were showing up to the adventures of Gru in the first place.
Despicable Me 2 made more than Despicable Me 3, but $100m+ less than Minions, so there might be something to that assessment. Still, Illumination won’t see it as a pressing problem.
5. Spider-Man: Homecoming
Actual: WW: $880m/ US: $334m
My Prediction: (5th) WW: $925m/ US: $325m
I suggested: The trailer for Homecoming is certainly selling this as FUN, in a way that will tap current appetites for the same (see number three on this list), and its being part of the Marvel universe, complete with Tony Stark, adds undoubted cachet.
All true enough, and a pretty close guess; it’s just ironic that no one’s remembering the biggest superhero hit of the year as exactly that.
6. Wolf Warrior 2
Actual: WW: $870.3/ US$2.7m
7. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Actual: WW: $864/ US: $390m
My Prediction: (3rd) US: $1.07bn/ US: $340m
I suggested: There’s good reason to expect good grosses from this Guardians of the Galaxy sequel… and as such it’s quite possible this will shoot past the $1bn mark. I’m going conservative, but grosses in the Civil War range are quite possible.
I should have been more conservative. On the other hand, there was something distinctly more-of-the-same about Vol. 2 (and what wasn’t the same wasn’t “fun”); audiences didn’t have enough differentiation of why they should have seen it in droves, so it’s $100m improvement on the original is probably less than Marvel expected.
8. Thor: Ragnarok (still in release)
Actual: WW: $849m/ US: $312m
My Prediction: (9th) WW: $665m/ US: $225m
I suggested: … the cachet of the title character sharing screen time with the Hulk and the potential wackier approach of Taika Waititi providing more of a Guardians of the Galaxy vibe may hit the jackpot, but on the other hand it may feel like it’s trying too hard for the loaded Gunn factor.
What happened was that Ragnarok ended up feeling fresher than Guardians, to the tune of $200m more than Thor: The Dark World. I underestimated the potential of a series that had become Marvel’s weak link headlining Avenger.
9. Wonder Woman
Actual: WW: $822m/ US: $413m
My Prediction: (8th) (WW: $695m/ US: $255m)
I suggested: If this catches on in a big way it could be looking at $100m or so more; if it’s a bit of a botch job (but a very well packaged botch job), it could struggle to the $600m mark.
Pretty much (it would be Justice League that struggled to the $600m mark). Wonder Woman became a breakout hit, tipping the scales briefly back in DC’s favour. Very notable however, that the split was almost 50-50 US-International (40-60 is more usual; Guardians 2 was 45-55).
10. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest/Salazar’s Revenge
Actual: WW: $795m/ US: $173m
My Prediction: (11th) WW: $635m/ US: $150m
I suggested: If Captain Jack Sparrow is able to make audiences remember why they took to him so originally, this could yet perpetuate the series, but I rather expect it will perform more like the original, which won’t be what Disney wants.
Pirates 5 did better than I expected – it was another fifth entry that slumped, but only so much – showing Johnny Depp still has an international fan base, whatever his vocal decriers may like to think (anyone suggesting the film’s performance was disappointing is US-centric enough that they’re only noting its home grosses). Indeed, while this was touted as the last adventure, Pirates 6 is preparing to set sail.
Actual: WW: $698m/ US: $328m
My Prediction: (50th) WW: $125m/ US: $65m
I suggested: It previously surfaced on TV, and the advance publicity isn’t doing much to sell it as unmissable (the new Pennywise definitely doesn’t have that Tim Curry factor).
I was so wrong. Mainly because It was a pretty good movie. Still, no one could have predicted this kind of success, a hit that far exceeded any other Stephen King adaptation.
12. Justice League
Actual: WW: $652m/ US: $227m (still in release)
My Prediction: (7th) (WW: $725m/ US: $260m)
I suggested: if Wonder Woman does well (and it will surely open), Justice League may yet rekindle some good will, even if it gets a similar to BvS slaughtering from critics, and a nonplussed response from audiences.
My only error here was failing to account for just how far Justice League would fall from BvS’ relative heights.
Actual: WW: $617m/ US: $226m
My Prediction: (21st) WW: $395m/ US: $150m
I suggested: I may be wrong, and this might, if not Days of Future Past, reach Apocalypse figures, but neither of the solo Wolverines did all that impressively (£373m and $415m), and the tepid response to Apocalypse may have further dampened appetites for Fox product that isn’t wilfully different and anarchic. In its favour: a very pre-summer release date.
If I keep guessing way too low on Fox’s Marvel performances (see also this year’s offerings), at some point the franchise is sure to slump. Either that, or Disney will take them over.
14. Transformers: The Last Knight
Actual: WW: $605m/ US: $130m
My Prediction: (6th) WW: $895m/ US: $205m
I suggested: If we’re to assume for a moment that there’s a general waning in interest in the series (due to inter-changeability as much as anything) and that China is beginning to slow down in terms of box office growth, this one may well not top $1bn…
A drop was reasonably likely, but going through the floor? This is the real disaster of the year, a franchise whose last two entries topped $1.1bn now making only just over half that? Time to call time, or give it a rest and a rethink.
15. Kong: Skull Island
Actual: WW: $567m/ US: $168m
My Prediction: (14th) WW: $505m/ US: $180m
I suggested: If this follows Godzilla’s example, initial huge interest will taper off quite quickly, unless the picture has hidden, as yet untouched upon character or plot merits.
These pictures are doing fine, but there’s probably not that great a profit margin on them. The team-up may change that.
Actual: WW: 554m/ US: $187m (still in release)
My Prediction: (13th) (WW: $525m/ US: $235m)
I suggested: My guess is that it will do respectably but unremarkably, by Pixar standards.
Coco is doing respectably, a little better than I predicted, likely finishing in the $600m+ range. No The Good Dinosaur, then, or Cars 3, but no Inside Out either.
Actual: WW: $525m/ US: $188m
My Prediction: (34th) WW: $240m/ US: $95m
I suggested: This could be another Pearl Harbour, box office-wise (a disappointment given the cost, and critically maligned), although Nolan obviously isn’t as crass as Michael Bay.
It’s easy to forget that Dunkirk didn’t have a lot of positive buzz, in the months preceding its release, or anticipation, if surveys were to be believed, but then the critical reception turned it all around. I certainly wasn’t swayed until the verdicts came in, and having seen it, I still think it’s a surprise it caught on quite as much as it did.
18. The Boss Baby
Actual: WW: $499m/ US: $175m
My Prediction: (27th) WW: $285m/ US: $115m
I suggested: The trailer makes it look like a Secret Life of Pets kind of take on little ones, while smeared with the usual irritating, ingratiating DW pop-sensibility. But who knows, it worked for Trolls… reasonably well.
Attempting to account for DreamWorks hits...
19. War for the Planet of the Apes
Actual: WW: $491m/ US: $147m
My Prediction: (12th) WW: $605m/ US: $210m
I suggested: As precisely made as these movies are, they seem to have foregone offering any narrative surprises.
Another where a predicted downturn (Transformers) couldn’t explain just how much it dropped. Over $200m less than Dawn, and about on a par with Rise; if Fox is going to carry on with this series, they need to shake it up, go more sci-fi.
20. The Mummy
Actual: WW: $409m/ US: $80m
My Prediction: (26th) WW: $290m/ US: $85m
I suggested: Universal seems to be taking the hope-for-the best-approach that is currently slaying DC’s prospects of becoming a creative challenger to Marvel.
Well, the Dark Universe is dead, but much as the jeering columns proclaimed it a flop, The Mummy didn’t do that badly (I’m sure it will break even with ancillary revenue streams), certainly way better than I thought it would. I’m sure, if they’d made a good movie, they would have soldiered on, but they wisely called it a day before the mess just got worse.
21. Kingsman 2: The Secret Service (still in release)
Actual: WW: $396m/ US: $100m
My Prediction: (20th) WW: $400m/ US: $135m
I suggested: The Secret Service’s surprise success ($414m globally) was much deserved for the most part, but can the sequel sport inventiveness enough to match audiences’ initially hankering?
The answer was no, counting a slight drop on the original’s take. Vaughn guarantees himself a trilogy capper, but he needs to pull his finger out if he’s going to make it worthwhile.
22. Cars 3
Actual: WW: $384m/ US: $153m
My Prediction: (18th) WW: $425m/ $160m
I suggested: I don’t see Cars 3 making serious inroads.
23. Fifty Shades Darker
Actual: WW: $381m/ US: $114m
My Prediction: (15th) WW: $475m/ US: $150m
I suggested: Does Fifty Shades of Grey stinking matter?
It certainly did, a bit. Dropping $200m wasn’t as painful as Planet of the Apes doing likewise, though, as it didn’t cost very much in the first place.
24. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (still in release)
Actual: WW: $366m/ US: $208m
My Prediction: (36th) WW: $230m/ US: $110m
I suggested: The selling point will be the updated effects, though, although it arrives a week after Star Wars Episode VIII, so it’s a toss-up if it rides the wave of a box office boon or is simply drowned.
Ideal counter-programming, as it turned out, and now also eating into The Last Jedi’s gross. Early critical brickbats couldn’t prevent broad appeal. And I’d rather be wrong about a genuinely fun movie, which this is. Should end its run with comfortably more than $500m globally.
25. Your Name.
Actual: WW: 355m/ US: $5m
26. xXx: The Return of Xander Cage
Actual: WW:346m/ $45m
I missed this one, mainly because I rightly saw little US appetite for it and wrongly didn’t factor in international (almost half xXx’s take came from China).
27. The Great Wall
Actual: WW: $334.6 / US: $45.2m
Again, discount international at your peril.
28. Murder on the Orient Express (still in release)
Actual: WW: $330m/ US: $101m
My Prediction: (25th) WW: $295m/ US: $120m
I suggested: This sort of prestige Agatha Christie adaptation tends to sell itself. Just wind it up and set it off.
Still in release, and pretty much in the right ballpark. A shame the film wasn’t better, but a sequel is greenlit.
29. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Actual: WW: $312m/ US: $27m
My Prediction: (32nd) WW: $250m/ US: $40m
I suggested: The last couple of Resident Evils – admittedly going back five years [sixth, natch] – made more than $200m each at the box office, on medium-sized budgets, so this trumpeted fifth and final instalment (no doubt preceding an inevitable reboot) is likely to comfortably make its money back and then some.
Resident Evil gets the last laugh: both the lowest gross of the series, stateside, and the highest, internationally.
30. The LEGO Batman Movie
Actual: WW: $312m/ US: $176m
My Prediction: (17th) WW: $435m/ US: $210m
I suggested: Is the Lego brand an unlimited font of animation gold, or is it a flash in the pan?
I didn’t think Lego would drop as much, though, suggesting, along with the Ninjago Movie, that by the time The LEGO Movie 2 comes along, WB will be scraping the barrel for grosses.
31. Annabelle: Creation
Actual: WW: $307m/ US: $102m
My Prediction: (42nd) WW: $165m/ US: $55m
I suggested: This will surely get predictable. Surely?
What I couldn’t know was that pretty much everyone would admit it was a pretty good movie.
Actual: WW: $278m/ US: $138m
My Prediction: WW: $115m/ US: $60m
I suggested: Already a hit of sorts on the festival circuit, this M Night Shyamalan twist-beholden (now there’s a surprise) thriller has considerable buzz behind it.
Actually, I didn’t. This nearly made my list, and that’s what I wrote before omitting it. Blumhouse scored big time off a paltry $9m investment.
33. Blade Runner 2049 (still in release)
Actual: WW: $259m/ US: $92m
My Prediction: (38th) WW: $205m/ US: $75m
I suggested: Did anyone even give serious thought to whether this made financial sense before giving it the greenlight? I hope I’m wrong, and I hope audiences flock to it and it’s an instant classic, but I’m having trouble seeing this one find a larger audience right now.
As it turns out, I was a little low, but not enough, unfortunately. A shame, since this needed Fury Road numbers (another $100m) to stand a chance of scraping a sequel off the back of critical kudos.
34. Get Out
Actual: WW: $254m/ US: $176m
Didn’t feature in my listing, but what’s interesting here is the 70-30 split gross. Compare that to Split’s 50-50, suggesting not that “black films don’t travel” but that black films don’t travel as well as comparable genre films (unless, traditionally, they featured Eddie Murphy or Will Smith). It will be interesting to see how Black Panther fares this year, since it is poised similarly, preconception-wise, to last year’s Wonder Woman.
35. Kung Fu Yoga
Actual: WW: $254.3m/ US: $363k
36. Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back
Actual: WW: $247m/ US: $880k
37. Alien: Covenant
Actual: WW: $241m/ US: $74m
My Prediction: (16th) WW: $440m/ US: $130m
I suggested: For all its potential, I’m not expecting a hugely different performance to the original, barring a release in China.
Covenant did get that China release ($46m), but it wasn’t nearly enough to deflect from audiences deciding they didn’t want what Ridley was serving. Whether that was because they hated Prometheus, having been duped into thinking it would be great, or because Covenant spent too much time being a shlocky version of an Alien movie rather than a Prometheus sequel, I don’t know, but the whisper is now that Scott may not get to finish his trilogy, particularly with the Fox-Disney deal looming.
38. Baby Driver
Actual: WW: $227m/ US: $108m
This surely did better than anything in Edgar Wright’s wildest dreams, and much deserved. If it had been on my list, I wouldn’t have given it the hope of more than $100m worldwide, max.
39. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Actual: WW: $226m/ US: $41m
My Prediction: (22nd) WW: $380m/ US: $80m
I suggested: If [The Fifth Element] is anything to go by, Valerian will have a rather tepid reception in the US, with the question generally being how big it can get as a non-Hollywood science fiction blockbuster from mostly unknown source material (outside of France) and unproven stars.
Ouch! One of the year’s biggest dodos. You can’t just put it at the door of its leads either; Besson didn’t make a movie with enough spark, despite its frequently enjoyable distractions.
40. The Emoji Movie
Actual: WW: $217m/ US: $86m
My Prediction: (35th) WW: $235m/ US: $105m
I suggested: Last year The Angry Birds Movie failed to fulfil its potential ($350m) but was perhaps about three years late to find its ideal roost. Emoji?
Yeah, all told, The Emoji Movie was lucky to do the business it did.
41. Geostorm (still in release)
Actual: WW: $210m/ US: $34m
My Prediction: (48th) WW: $135m/ $60m
I suggested: Dean Devlin directing a sci-fi disaster movie might be sure thing, if he was Roland Emmerich.
Given it was such a disastrous production, WB should count itself lucky to have made back as much as it did.
42. Wonder (still in release)
Actual: WW: $203m/ US: $124m
43. Smurfs: The Lost Village
Actual: WW: $198m/ US: $45m
My Prediction: WW: $145m/ US: $55m
I suggested: Has sufficient appetite rekindled for the little blue buggers since Smurfs 2 made only 60% of the original’s take? My guess is another similar drop, absent of any kind of novelty value.
Another that didn’t make my final list, but I was in the right ballpark.
44. A Dog’s Purpose
Actual: WW: $196m/ US: $64m
Actual: WW: $178m/ US: $58m
My Prediction: (37th) WW: $210m/ US: $85m
I suggested: I doubt Baywatch will have the breakout appeal of 21 Jump Street (unless it really is really funny).
It didn’t, and many agreed it was terrible.
46. The Hitman’s Bodyguard
Actual: $177m/ US: $76m
47. Daddy’s Home 2 (still in release)
Actual: WW: $176m/ US: $102m
48. John Wick: Chapter Two
Actual: WW: $172m/ US: $92m
I should have counted more on the buzz the original created; this is the way sequels used to build, such that Chapter Two more than doubled the gross of its predecessor.
49. Ghost in the Shell
Actual: WW: $170m/ US: $41m
My Prediction: WW: $415m/ US: $85m
I suggested: Ironically, given the lead casting, Paramount/DreamWorks surely have in mind this cleaning up in Asian markets. Less certain is home turf, although I doubt it will do as badly as Warcraft, unless it outright stinks.
Ghost didn’t go down well anywhere, doing comparably to Warcraft in the US, but lacked a saviour elsewhere. This is why Alita will be making Fox nervous.
Actual: WW: $151m/ US: $472k
51. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Actual: WW: $149m/ US: $39m
My Prediction: (29th) WW: $270m/ US: $95m
I suggested: Arthurian legend has more cachet, but the question mark hangs over whether they want to see a laddish take on one of the mythic tales. And, without Downey Jr as a lead, how high Ritchie can take a movie? Particularly one with Charlie Hunnam as the titular kingly type.
The problem was mainly that, while sporadically entertaining, Ritchie was working from a mess of a screenplay, one hoisted by the petard of assuming an audience for a string of sequels.
57. Ferdinand (still in release)
Actual: WW: $145m/ US: $63m
My Prediction: (30th) WW: $270m/ US: $75m
I suggested: I’m not sure the release date is an ideal one, either (although, Sing seems to have thrived in a similar slot).
Hard to estimate where this will end up, but probably not as high as my estimate.
57. American Made
Actual: WW: $135m/ US: $51m
My Prediction: WW: $125m/ US: $65m
I suggested: it’s box office prospects are probably on the limited side, and Tom’s star is not in the ascendant when it comes to such iffy fare.
Didn’t reach my list, but I called it fairly accurately.
59. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
Actual: WW: $125m/ US: $74m
My Prediction: (24th) WW: $295m/ US: $135m
I suggested: David Soren, the director of one of their most resounding commercial misfires Turbo, may be on firmer ground with an adaption of Dave Pilkey’s series of children’s books.
What I should have factored in here was that Captain Underpants came cheap ($38m), and expectations were accordingly lower.
60. The LEGO Ninjagio Movie
Actual: WW: $123 m/ US: $59m
My Prediction: (44th) WW: $145m/ US: $80m
I suggested: I’d have thought more modest takings than the earlier Lego Movie, or the Bat-brand, are in store…
62. The Dark Tower
Actual: WW: $112m/ US: $51m
My Prediction: (41st) WW: $165m/ US: $70m
I suggested: I do wonder what the broader appetite is for this, outside of the devoted fan base, and if it isn’t just a bit too elusive/involved.
As much as It was a hit, The Dark Tower was an absolute shower.
64. The Greatest Showman (still in release)
Actual: WW: $107m/ US: $63m
My Prediction: (49th) WW: $130m/ US: $70m
I suggested: Playing PT Barnum is right up Hugh Jackman’s street, and with Rebecca Ferguson, Michelle Williams and, er, Zac Effron, this one is no doubt setting its sights on Oscar season.
Looks to play better than I thought, but Oscars are out.
65. Pitch Perfect 3 (still in release)
Actual: WW: $106m/ US: $76m
My Prediction: (28th) WW: $275m/ US: $135m
I suggested: I’m dubious of how much more it can broaden its following…
A pitch too far, this trilogy capper will have to settle for a slight higher take than the original.
Actual: WW: $100m/ US: $30m
My Prediction: (45th) WW: $140m/ US: $55m
I suggested: May benefit from having the drop on Alien: Covenant. Alternatively, joe public may just decide to wait eight weeks.
Generally positive reviews couldn’t help this one break out sufficiently, but waiting for Covenant certainly wasn’t a factor.
72. Atomic Blonde
Actual: WW: $96m/ US: $52m
My Prediction: (39th) WW: $180m/ US: $85m
I suggested: It could be a keeper, and it has the jump on J-Law doing Soviet spy work. Probably the cooler choice to like, if not the most successful one.
Atomic Blonde was cheap ($30m) but Focus surely hoped for better results (for what it’s worth, I really liked it).
73. Paddington 2 (still in release)
Actual: WW: $95m
My Prediction: (23rd) WW: $325m/ US: $85m
I suggested: I’m going for the moderate verdict, although it would be very nice to see Paddington 2 reach giddy heights. As for Hugh Grant appearing, well he’s surely the perfect foil for a talking bear.
Preliminary figures suggest international isn’t proving as robust as the first.
Actual: WW: $61m/ US: $46m
My Prediction: (46th) US: $135m/ US: $90m
I suggested: Trainwreck announced Amy Schumer as a comedian who could carry a movie, self-penned at that. But, if her personality is divisive Stateside, it’s just plain unknown most of everywhere else.
Not only was no one outside the US interested, no one in the US was either.
87. The Star (still in release)
Actual: WW: $60m/ US: $40m
My Prediction: (40th) WW: $175m/ US: $85m
I suggested: Possibly one more likely to prove a long-term earner for the studio (Sony) than an instant megahit.
One of those animated over-estimated, I’m afraid.
Actual: WW: $45m/ US: $18m
My Prediction: (33rd) WW: $245m/ US: $115m
I suggested: This is perhaps a conservative estimate, as no one would have expected the success Black Swan saw, but also much depends on how much Lawrence’s star is or is not wilting when it’s released.
No one would have expected this to stink the place out. Still, some critics swooned.
98. The Snowman
Actual: WW: $43m/ US: $7m
My Prediction: (43rd) WW: $160m/ US: $70m
I suggested: The Fass playing a Norwegian detective, but in English. They still do that, do they? Of course, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo did really well! And Child 44! If the movie is great, that won’t matter a jot, but it might have been better to relocate it, all told.
It also didn’t help that everyone hated it.
Agree? Disagree? Mildly or vehemently? Let me know in the comments below.