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To do what I do, I need some idea of the threat we face.

2020 Box Office

Every year looks dicier for studios that aren’t Disney, now even more so that Fox is under the Mouse House’s roof. But there are a few caveats for 2020, since Disney is in a post-Avengers: Endgame, post-sequel trilogy world, one with less certainty in respect of hitting the jackpot with their live-action remakes. Which may benefit their competitors, but without the instant high scorers in 2020, prospects for box office overall are looking even iffier than they were without the select few to bring up the balance. Added to which, there are a lot of movies next year, both attempts at new franchises and sequels, that run a risk of seriously underperforming. But we shall see...

Those that didn’t make the cut: Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho (WW: $145m/ US: $65m) might not have the breakout appeal of the playful Baby Driver, but who can tell with Wright? Paul Greengrass reteaming with Tom Hanks as a travelling newsreader taking an orphan girl to her parents in post-American Civil War drama News of the World (WW: $160m/ US: $105m) could be perfect Oscar bait and touch audiences’ hearts, in which case it could go much higher, but Hanks isn’t the marquee presence he once was. Both Fantasy Island (WW: $120m/ US: $65m), a horror reenvisaging of the TV show and The Invisible Man (WW: $160m/ US: $75m) may do very nicely for Blumhouse. There’s also a Saw reinvention on the table, Organ Donor (WW: $140m/ US: $80m). Call of the Wild (WW: $120m/ US: $60m) has a CGI dog, which should be a no-no, but maybe audiences will love the idea and want their own CGI dog as the family pet instead of a real one.

Also: Scoob! (WW: $170m/US: $65m) looks detestable, and I haven’t dared include the upcoming Tom & Jerry. Did you want to see a Scooby Doo origins story? If so, you’re in luck. The Witches (WW: $170m/ US: $65m): there’s a perfectly good adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches directed by Nicolas Roeg, but Robert Zemeckis apparently knows better. He also really needs a hit. Infinite (WW: $175m/ US: $70m) comes laden with all sorts of problems. Christian Mark Wahlberg making a reincarnation movie? A science-fiction reincarnation movie? Directed by Antoine Fuqua of serviceably pedestrian action fare? We all know how well the first trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog (WW: $180m/ US: $60m) went down. I can’t say the more authentically redesigned Sega character did anything much for me, but others’ online response appears to be more enthusiastic. Potentially, this could be one of those terrible brand movies that still makes a huge amount of money (Inspector Gadget), but I’m not going to predict it.


50. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard
WW: $180m/ US: $65m

Inevitable sequel to the surprise 2017 hit, which was reasonably funny. But does that mean anyone wants a reasonably funny follow up? (28 Aug)

49. Dolittle
WW: $185m/ US: $70m

A shitshow of a production, by all accounts, this has to hope Robert Downey Jr’s charm will mean something or Universal will face a hefty write-off. Given the release date, they appear to be expecting one. (17 Jan)

48. The New Mutants
WW: $190m/ US: $65m

This one is surely dumper bound. Last year I had it at WW: $405m/ US: $105m but after Dark Phoenix, I’m not sure where the audience is for a Fox property Disney must secretly want to forget about so it can get on with its own new mutants. (3 Apr)

47. Candyman
WW: $185m/ US: $105m

Jordan Peele-produced horror sequel, which will be relying on his name rather than familiarity with a cult item. His name may well be enough. If it still has the same cachet following the Us’s mixed reception, this one could add another $50m. (12 Jun)

46. The Woman in the Window
WW: $190m/ US: $75m

Another holdover, and I previously wrote “This sort of thing can do very well, even when it isn’t very good (The Girl on the Train)”. I think that stands, even with the ill omen of extensive reshoots. (15 May)

45. Without Remorse
WW: $195m/ US: $85m

Another attempt to re-engineer Tom Clancy, this time as a vehicle for Michael B Jordan (who was also bidding for the role of the next Supes). The Sicaro sequel’s Stefano Solima directs. A version of Jack Ryan is alive and well as a streamer, but I wonder if Jordan hasn’t been ill advised on a non-starter here. (18 Sep)

44. The Last Duel
WW: $195m/ US: $85m

The Damon/Affleck factor, rather than Sir Ridders, counts in this period flick’s favour. Which means they need to rustle up sufficient dynamic that audiences want to see them squaring off against each other. There are also Oscar prospects, maybe. The maybe being how incongruous the Matt and Ben are in a tale set in fourteenth-century France. (25/12)

43. Halloween Kills
WW: $205m/ US: $110m

There was great anticipation for the retconning 2018 return of Jamie Lee Curtis to this horror franchise, and few were outright disappointed, but how many were actually bowled over? I suspect this sequel will dip somewhat. (16 Oct)

42. Coming 2 America
WW: $205m/ US: $85m

Now here’s a question. Where does Eddie Murphy now stand as a box office star? And not as a box office star of family movies, pretty much where we last saw him on the big screen, but in a sequel to a thirty-two-year-old R-rated one now re-tooled for PG-13 audiences? This could be a rude awakening, much as I’d like it to confirm a second wind in Murphy’s career. (18 Dec)

41. Deep Water
WW: $210m/ US: $85m

Adrian Lyne returns from the wilderness (his last was eighteen years ago) with a Ben Affleck-starring adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1957 novel. The “erotic thriller” did well for Affleck with Gone Girl as well as defining Lyne’s career with Fatal Attraction, and Highsmith was no slouch for Ben’s pal Matt Damon with The Talented Mr Ripley. Co-starring is the so-hot-right-now Ana de Armas as Ben’s wife, allowed to embark on affairs as long as she doesn’t up and leave. But then her former lovers start dropping dead. Such genre fare can go through the roof if it gets it right, but Lyne and current-form Affleck (he has three other films slated for release next year, evidence of trying to pick up some form of pieces) are no dead certs. (13 Nov)


40. Trolls World Tour
WW: $215m/ US: $75m

The first of these made a shedload for DreamWorks, against all common sense, but that was four years ago, and guaranteed return visits, unless you’re Disney or Pixar animations, or Despicable Me, simply aren’t there. (17 Apr)

39. Monster Hunter
WW: $220m/ US: $55m 

Paul W Anderson had no problem churning out hits for the Resident Evil franchise, so why not with another video game adaptation, also starring wife Milla Jovovich? (4 Sep)

38. Bloodshot
WW: $220m/ US: $80m 

Sony’s first attempt to manufacture its own store of comic book movies via Valiant Comics’ genetically-engineered supersoldier. Who else would star but Vin Diesel? What’s Vin’s success ratio outside of Fast & Furious and Groot? Indeed. (13 Mar)

37. Jungle Cruise
WW: $235m/ US: $75m 

Disney attempts to turn a theme park ride into a hit franchise, just like Pirates of the Caribbean. Only, Jaume Collet-Sera’s movie had a very clunky first trailer. This could even be really bad, with the stars – Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt – failing to click, and the all-important lightness of touch refusing to materialise. (24 Jul)

36. Snake Eyes
WW: $245m/ US: $90m

The previous two G.I. Joes grossed nearly $700m at the box office, but the last one was seven years ago. Maybe Robert Schwentke (RED) can make this Henry Golding starrer do great things, but it reeks of “okay” at best. (16 Oct)

35. Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway
WW: $250m/ US: $110m

The first Peter Rabbit snared $350m, shocking everyone, and virtually inconceivable when James Corden is voicing the main character. So this is a no-brainer, right? But remember how the incredibly well-reviewed Paddington 2 still made less than Paddington? (13 Apr)

34. The King’s Man
WW: $255m/ US: $70m

Despite the rank reviews, Kingsman: The Golden Circle repeated its predecessor’s example to the tune of $400m, but I suspect it was a mistake to assume interest in this franchise would extend to the dreaded prequel. Even if it’s good. (18 Sep)

33. Ghostbusters: Afterlife 
WW: $260m/ US: $120m

Oh dear. A belated sequel following a widely disparaged reboot would, under most logical circumstances, try to tack as closely as possible to the tone and style of the original. So why does Jason Reitman seem to think he’s making Stranger Things? (10 Jul)

32. The Rescue
WW: $265m/ US: $2m

Dante Lam’s last, Operation Red Sea, grossed a massive $579m in 2018. This Ministry of Transport paean to the coast guard may not reach those heights, but a big hit still seems likely.

31. Death on the Nile
WW: $270m/ US: $85m

Kenneth Branagh’s Poirot was a disappointment (for me) but garnered positive reviews and great box office. This is where it becomes clear if people only wanted to see his massive moustache just the once. (9 Oct)


30. A Quiet Place Part II
WW: $270m/ US: $110m

The plot for John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place is so thin that it falls apart if you hold it up to the light, yet he still managed to make it riveting viewing. Its breakout success dictated an unnecessary sequel, but I don’t know if it can survive the concept’s lack of internal. Even – or especially – with a reframing of humankind being the worse bad guys. (20 Mar)

29. Free Guy
WW: $275m/ US: $115m

Wreck-it-Ralph meets The Truman Show as Ryan Reynolds’ NPC becomes self-aware of his status in an open-world video game. I didn’t find the first trailer entirely persuasive, but this kind of thing, if it hits the right notes, could find a wide audience, and director Shaw Levy has managed that before. If it does, add on another $100m, but game-based fare is notoriously difficult to predict (Pixels). (3 Jul)

28. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
WW: $280m/ US: $115m

James Wan vacates the director’s chair of this franchise, loosely based on the exploits of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorrain Warren, in favour of The Curse of La Llorona director Michael Chaves. I found The Conjuring 2, based on the Enfield poltergeist case, a disappointment, but it still matched its predecessor’s $320m box office. (11 Sep)

27. The Tomorrow War
WW: $285m/ US: $105m

Chris Pratt’s last non-MCU SF was Passengers, where he was somewhat miscast. That may be a problem here too, if he’s playing an expectedly straight role in this tale of a future war drafting in soldiers from the past. It’s a natty premise, with animation guy Chris McKay making his live-action debut, but whether Pratt can make it play remains to be seen. (25 Dec)

26. Bad Boys for Life
WW: $295m/ US: $105m

We’re in waning star territory again here. Will Smith’s only hits of late have been in franchises/properties bigger than him (Aladdin, Suicide Squad), so can this doubtless very costly – but probably not quite as costly as if Michael Bay too had returned – reuniting of Smith and Martin Lawrence seventeen years on be justified in finally staggering to the screen? (17 Jan)

25. Godzilla vs Kong
WW: $295m/ US: $90m

The Monsterverse was looking a marginal prospect even before Godzilla: King of the Monsters made almost $200m less than Kong: Skull Island. Budgets in the $200m range when you’re grossing only $500m (or worse, $385m) aren’t sustainable. Maybe the battle of the giants will create extra interest, but unless Adam Wyngard can create something visually interesting and sufficiently distinctive in Godzilla vs Kong, this one could garner even less interest. (20 Nov)

24. Dune
WW: $300m/ US: $115m

And what does this one cost? $150m? For half a novel? An adult SF adaptation on a grand canvas, one not known for its humour or ability to hit the four quadrants needed for a massive success? Good luck to Denis Villeneuve and Warner Bros, and I genuinely hope it’s both really good and a really good version of the book, and is a big hit, but I don’t think anyone really believes it will be (the latter). (18 Dec)

23. The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run
WW: $305m/ US: 150m

The last Spongebob movie made more than $300m worldwide, and the previous one made half that a decade earlier. There’s clearly a continuing audience for these, and unlike many, they aren’t reliant on milking a property dry. (22 May)

22. Morbius 
WW: $305m/ US: $165m

Sony unleash another Spidey-verse villain in the form of the vampire anti-hero who needs to drink blood to survive. Daniel Espinosa directs Jared Leto, and I wonder if that combination will be enticing enough to attract a big enough audience. Venom had a much-loved character and Tom Hardy on its side, but this might rather fizzle through ending up rather too generic. (31 Jul)

21. Onward
WW: $315m/ US: $105m

I just can’t see Onward hitting its hoped-for marks, and that’s two trailers in. Elf brothers in an elf variant of the human world (par for the course for Pixar) on a quest to spend one day with their dead father… Well, all Pixar is exhaustingly obsessed with family (and parental) relationships, but this looks like sloppy, lowbrow DreamWorks fare. I may be wrong – I was wrong about Trolls – but Onward has the appearance of a misfire. (6 Mar)

20- 11

20. Malignant
WW: $315m/ US: $140m

Between Aquamen, James Wan has cast The Conjuring aside to adapt his 2011 graphic novel. A terminally ill patient discovers his tumor is actually a parasite that imbues him with superpowers. It’s foolish to bet against Wan. (14 Aug)

19. West Side Story
WW: $325m/ US: $135m

I’m entirely unconvinced Steven Spielberg’s remake will be a great movie (especially with Janusz Kamiski acting as DP), but even a half-decent musical can be rapturously received, and I think the Berg has the yen to prove himself in the genre. It certainly won’t be a Cats. (18 Dec)

18. Legend of Deification
WW: $330m/ US: $2m

Sequel to 2019’s massive animated hit Ne Zha ($729m) and a continuation of the “Fengshen Cinematic Universe”. Ne Zha’s Yu Yang is not attached as director, though, and one wonders at the business – and artistic - sense in churning out a follow up only six months later.

17. The Croods 2
WW: $335m/ US: $115m

I suspect, as is there wont, DreamWorks have left this sequel to their 2013 caveman hit ($587m) too long. (23 Dec)

16. Lost in Russia 
WW: $340m/ US: $1m

Xu Zheng’s previous Lost in… comedies made $198m and $256m respectively. The last one was half a decade ago, so another bump in takings could result.

15. Mulan
WW: $395m/ US: $95m

Disney’s animated original made $300m, and that was able to boast Eddie Murphy as a talking dragon. In its choice to lose the lightness, has Nicky Caro’s movie torpedoed its chances of becoming a monster hit (and at a reported cost of $300m, this thing will need to make getting on for a billion to hit pay dirt)? Yes, it may go down well in China, but do you as a nation want to be taught how to suck eggs? (27 Mar)

14. Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
WW: $415m/ US: $155m

Suicide Squad wasn’t exactly a great movie but most of everybody liked Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, and now she gets her own spinoff, which looks like a huge bodge on the part of director Cathy Yan. So much so that Chad Stahelski was drafted in for reshoots to punch up the action (mention of which is conspicuously absent from Empire’s recent rah-rah puff piece). The trailers confirmed the tone isn’t really there, unless they’re failing to show its true value. But even the lowest performer in the DCU (Shazam!) made $364m, so this ought to make something, provided it isn’t a complete stinker. (7 Feb)

13. Detective Chinatown 3
WW: $470m/ US: $2m

The previous instalment grossed $544m in 2018, so this will surely follow suit.

12. The Mermaid 2
WW: $590m/ US: $5m

Originally on my list for last year. Stephen Chow’s first Mermaid took $554m in 2016, and since Chow is box office gold, there’s no reason to think this sequel won’t follow suit.

11. Raya and the Last Dragon
WW: $655m/ US: $235m

What Mulan loses in dragons, this Disney animation gains. Awkwafina voices the fire-breather, and if the dragon yarn might feel as if it has been milked to death by Game of Thrones and DreamWorks, I suspect their appeal is as inexhaustible as that of dinosaurs. (25 Nov)


10. Top Gun: Maverick
WW: $725m/ US: $265m

How high can Maverick fly? There’s huge nostalgia to be tapped for this, the Tom Cruise movie of the ‘80s. I didn’t even much care for it, and yet I’ll be there just for Joseph Kosinski’s stunning visuals (he previously gave us Tron: Legacy and Oblivion). Is there a plot? Did Top Gun have a plot? It is, of course, made with Navy co-operation (interestingly, they appear to have okayed the depiction of stealth craft, previously a no-no), and is rumoured to pit our heroic pilots against dastardly drones (good idea, you can have all the enemy casualties you like). (26 Jun)

9. Soul
WW: $785m/ US: $235m

This seems most aligned, in terms of comparing box office potential, with Pixar’s earlier Inside Out, but they’re still striking out into new metaphysical territory here, tackling reincarnation as a jazz musician transported to the afterlife doesn’t fancy being stuck in limbo for decades before returning to a physical body. That sounds like it might spark a few parents prohibiting their kids from seeing it (although, it didn’t do Coco any harm), and that it won’t be high on China’s list of approved imports (although again, Coco got through). If nothing else, Soul’s bound to spark a slew of editorials. (19 Jun)

8. Black Widow
WW: $835m/ US: $265m

Cate Shortland’s belated Black Widow solo affair had to wait until she was dead – this is apparently set post-Civil War – and it’s tipped that Florence Pugh will take over going forward. I thought Black Widow might at least be a more Bond-ish affair, but sadly, it looks exactly like every other MCU outing. I also didn’t think there’d be much appetite for a Black Widow movie, but you can’t count out anything Feige these days. (1 May)

7. Tenet
WW: $845m/ US: $305m

Christopher Nolan’s time-travel head spinner looks to be very much of the action order of Inception, so cerebral and crowd-pleasing, never an easy balance to strike. Original one-off fare making megabucks is an increasing rarity, but Nolan has a knack for it, and this could be one of the year’s biggest, boldest and best. (17 Jul)

6. The Eternals
WW: $875m/ US: $275m

Chloe Zhao’s film is the first big tester for Phase 4 of the MCU, an attempt to stake out new territory with a tale of immortal superhumans created by the Celestials and opposed by the Deviants (nice name there). Reportedly quite stylish, which will be different for a range of movies that regards the Russo brothers as auteurs. (6 Nov)

5. Venom 2
WW: $940m/ US: $245m

Venom proved critic proof, and made a whopping $270m in China. Whether Andy Serkis can make a great movie may be less important than whether Tom Hardy is front and centre of an entertaining one. But if this ends up as symbiote vs symbiote again, which it will, it may not make the leaps and bounds needed to pass $1bn.

4. No Time to Die
WW: $945m/ US: $285m

Spectre made $880m, which might have been considered great if Skyfall hadn’t earlier made $1.1bn. Sight unseen, aside from a stylish but par-for-the-course trailer, this could be the second 007 to break $1bn. Or have to settle for the consequences of bringing back the unloved Christoph Waltz incarnation of Blofeld. (2 Oct)

3. Minions: Rise of the Gru
WW: $965m/ US: $240m

The last two entries in the Despicable Me franchise both made more than a billion, but Illumination’s fortunes have otherwise been less sturdy of late (The Grinch, The Secret Life of Pets 2). And as Ice Age proved, fortunes can suddenly nose dive for a seemingly impervious franchise. Minions 2 may yet prove to be a new series peak, but I feel caution is in order. (3 Jul)

2. Fast & Furious 9
WW: $1.08bn/ US: $230m

If grosses are any indication, this franchise peaked with 7. However, the eighth instalment did suffer from workmanlike F Gary Gray direction, and series supremo Justin Lin returns to 9 for the first time since 6. Now absent is Vin-hating Dwayne Johnson, of course, so it will be interesting to see whether Fast & Furious 9 is able to rekindle the increasingly ludicrous fun factor that once ensured ever-increasing grosses. (22 May)

1. Wonder Woman 1984
WW: $1.1bn/ US: $365m

Aquaman was the first of the DCEU to cross $1bn, and with Wonder Woman comfortably taking in more than $800m, Patty Jenkins has more of a freehand this time, which bodes well for another big hit. Could 2020 be the year that the DCEU supplants the MCU? (5 Jun)

The 2019 Shakeout
How I Fared:

1. Avengers: Endgame 
Actual: WW: $2.798bn/ US: $858m
My Prediction: (1st) WW: $2.205bn/ US: $700m

I suggested: How can this possibly fail, short of Rian Johnson being asked to take charge of some last minute reshoots?

I mean, what’s being $600m out between all-time box office champs? I don’t think we’re going to see the like of this again for a while, which may please Scorsese but might frustrate Cameron’s hopes for Avatar 2.

2. The Lion King
Actual: WW: $1.657bn/ US: $544m
My Prediction: (3rd) WW: $1.25bn/ US: $445m

I suggested: There’s definitely interest in carbon copy live-action Disney remakes, as Beauty and the Beast proved, even if that means the results are as artistically bereft as Gus van Sant’s shot-for-shot Psycho.

The Lion King was duly critic-proof and then some. The $1.264bn of Beauty and the Beast seems like chicken feed next to this.

3. Frozen II
Actual: WW: $1.234bn/ US: $435m (STILL IN RELEASE)
My Prediction: (5th) WW: $1.1bn/ US: $345m

I suggested: I doubt Disney will deliver a Shrek 2, but I’m also doubtful Frozen 2 can quite attain the heights of the first.

Perhaps not, but audiences seem more than satisfied, and it’s going to happily out-gross the original, so Frozen 3 is inevitable.

4. Spider-Man: Far From Home
Actual: WW: $1.132bn/ US: $391m
My Prediction: (7th) $915m/ US: $295m

I suggested: Far From Home… could conceivably get a boost the way Iron Man Three is said to have done from Avengers.

I’m not sure it did, so much as it built up its own comfortable head of steam. Far From Home never felt like it was becoming a monster during its run, and marginally benefited from a rerelease with an extra scene, but it just underlines how audiences will be there if you do something even vaguely decent with the character.

5. Captain Marvel
Actual: WW: $1.129bn/ US: $427m
My Prediction: (12th) WW: $735m/ US: $210m

I suggested: I was cautious about Black Panther’s prospects last year, meaning I guessed its gross at about half what it turned out to be, but I do suspect this isn’t Marvel’s equivalent of Wonder Woman, and it may be more in line with other untested heroes’ debuts.

Wrong! Few are claiming it was a great movie with hindsight and some are even suggesting Disney bought up tickets to ensure its success, but this performance just seems par for the course now. Notably, Far From Home’s rerelease allowed it to sneak past its fellow MCU.

6. Toy Story 4
Actual: WW: $1.073bn/ US: 434m
My Prediction: (4th) WW: $1200m/ US: $450m

I suggested: Toy Story 3 previously ended things for good, so perhaps this starts another trilogy.

Well, there’s certainly finality this time, and the lurking sense that, despite topping $1bn, at one point it didn’t seem like a certainty. Disney will be happy to have pushed this one as far as it will go.

7. Joker
Actual: WW: $1.063bn/ US: $333m
My Prediction: (21st) WW: $560m/ US: $205m

I suggested: anything involving the Joker is an easy sell, even a little movie like this with a meagre $55m budget. Which isn’t to say Joker couldn’t break out even bigger, only that it hasn’t been designed with that in mind.

Come on, no one thought this would make $1bn. Except maybe the dreaded incels. They’re still out there, still waiting to attack en masse.

8. Aladdin
Actual: WW: $1.051bn/ US: 356m
My Prediction: (13th) WW: $730m/ US: $215m

I suggested: no one was itching for Aladdin the way they were for The Lion King after their respective trailers dropped.

Possibly so, and like Toy Story 4, it struggled to the billion mark. Unlike Toy Story 4, Aladdin opened modestly and showed endurance, suggesting good word of mouth despite few being convinced based on promotional materials. Indeed, it’s a fun movie, much more deserving of a warm reception than the uninspired The Lion King.

9. Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker
Actual: WW: $816m/ US: $408m (STILL IN RELEASE)
My Prediction: (2nd) WW: $1.75bn/ US: $700m

I suggested: those who said never again will surely relent if someone they know they’re okay with is tempting them with exactly the kind of fan bait they dig the most.

Hard to tell quite where this will land just now, but Last Jedi numbers, more or less, mean JJ – or Bob Iger in his edicts – didn’t bait the fans right.

10. Hobbs and Shaw
Actual: WW: $759m/ US: $174m
My Prediction: (11th) WW: $740m/ US: $215m

I suggested: Even if this isn’t the most successful F&F universe movie, it has a chance of being the most fun.

It managed not to be that, but otherwise, this was my closest guestimate in the Top Ten.

11. Ne Zha

12. The Wandering Earth

13. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World 
Actual: WW: $520m/ US: $161m
My Prediction: (16th) WW: $645m/ US: $150m

I suggested: There’s a danger that, if you aren’t completely sure of a built-in audience, you can leave it too long for a sequel.

Diminishing returns would suggest DreamWorks nearly left it too long there.

14. Jumanji: The Next Level (STILL IN RELEASE)
Actual: $500m/ US: $203m
My Prediction: (6th) $1.005bn/ US: $330m

I suggested: Will they do anything different with it, or will it be the equivalent of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York?

The mixed-up avatars was a winner, but alas they didn’t mix up the plotting with it.

15. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

I managed to miss this one as a contender, but I’m not surprised by it’s $488m global tally. I think it was lucky to get that far, the original falling into the Alice in Wonderland category of a lucky hit on the Mouse House’s part that they shouldn’t have taken to mean anyone truly loved it.

16. It: Chapter Two 
Actual: WW: $472m/ US: $212m
My Prediction: (10th) WW: $750m/ US: $300m

I suggested: The question is whether adult versions of the kids from the first go-round will have the same pulling power. Possibly not enough to become significantly bigger, but I think most execs would be perfectly happy with more of the same.

Unfortunately, Chapter Two was bloated and repetitive, and nothing about it worked as well with adults compared to the supernatural Stand by Me of the first instalment. It’s all gravy for Warner Bros, though, who even get to resell a combination re-edited version in due course.

17. Detective Pikachu
Actual: WW: $432m/ US: $144m
My Prediction: (14th) WW: $675m/ US: $235m

I suggested: The only doubt with Detective Pikachu is how high it can go.

The doubt I should have voiced was that the trailer promised more than the movie could deliver. Still, it’s enough to get a sequel that will inevitably not make as much.

18. My People, My Country

19. The Secret Life of Pets 2 
Actual: WW: $429m /US: $158m
My Prediction: (17th) WW: $850m/ US: $265m

I suggested: Does this fledgling franchise have the same repeat appeal as the Minions?

Wow, Illumination can’t have expected that. Half the original’s gross is still a nice profit (their animations come cheap), but it’s a clear indication this had one-and-done appeal. It must be a slight concern for them now, since everything rides on Despicable Me/Minions.

20. The Captain

21. Alita: Battle Angel
Actual: $405m/ US: $86m
My Prediction: (33rd) WW: $280m/ US: $90m

I suggested: had this for 320/120 when it was still pencilled in for 2018, and the more exposure it has, the less sure of its potential I become.

One of those that, if it hadn’t cost so damn much, would surely have got a sequel. I’d say it was lucky to go that high.

22. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Actual: $386m/ US: $111m
My Prediction: (19th) WW: $575m/ US: $165m

I suggested: Legendary’s massive monster franchise doesn’t come cheap, which means there’s probably a fine line in terms of their going into the black.

Even finer now. This surely made a loss, and they’ve got another incoming.

23. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Actual: $372m/ US: $141m
My Prediction: (25th) WW: $375m/ US: $155m 

I suggested: casting Pitt and DiCaprio looks like determined insulation against being spurned again… I wouldn’t put it past him converting such queasiness into Oscar glory.

Reasonably accurate, which makes me wonder, for all the kudos it gathered for Sony, how much profit they will actually have seen.

24. Shazam!
Actual: WW: $365m/ US: $140m
My Prediction: (15th) WW: $650m/ US: $245m

I suggested: DC’s chances may not all pay off, but at least they seem to have found a groove of stretching themselves and experimenting.

DC has put a happy face on this one and greenlit a sequel, but it’s undoubtedly a disappointment. Another one where the trailer suggested a better movie than was delivered.

25. Dumbo
Actual: WW: $353m/ US: $115m
My Prediction: (8th) WW: $855m/ US: $275m

I suggested: everything about Dumbo so far says must-see tearjerker…

Possibly my biggest blind spot of all my big blind spots last year. You can argue the movie just wasn’t very good, but that didn’t stop The Lion King. Others have said young audiences didn’t know the original, but don’t most parents own a whole Disney library? I suspect it’s more down to how Burton and co tweaked the thing too much, got rid of the fantasy (aside from him flying) and left very little magic.

26. John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
Actual: $327m/ US: $171m
My Prediction: (38th) WW: $215m/ US: $110m

I suggested: I wouldn’t expect another massive rise in grosses on its predecessor, but enough to firmly cement this series’ popularity and guarantee whatever subsequent Wick-universe offerings may get mooted.

It turned a middle-range hit into a full-on blockbuster, so well done, John.

27. Terminator: Dark Fate
Actual: $261m/ US: $62m
My Prediction: (18th) WW: $600m/ US: $170m

I suggested: with Cameron back in charge of his baby, no one’s betting against this being worthwhile, only whether Tim Miller can deliver an authentic Terminator 3.1.

As soon as trailers dropped, any potential for this one bottomed out. Miller made a movie that felt as authentic to the first two Cameron pictures as Genisys.

28. Us
Actual: WW: $255m/ US: $175m
My Prediction: (39th) WW: $210m/ $125m

I suggested: Even if you see Jordan Peele as the new Shyamalan (unexpected genre-undercutting fare), it’s worth remembering that the latter’s follow up to a massive hit was a relative wobble.

29. Men in Black: International
Actual: $254m/ US: $80m
My Prediction: (23rd) WW: $450m/ US: $145m

I suggested: Sony have… struggled to find a couple of leads, settling on a strange no-man’s land in contrast to the original trilogy’s cartoonish energy and performances.

30. Dark Phoenix
My Prediction: (22nd) WW: $500m/US: $150m

I suggested: They’ve decided on a course Paramount ultimately blanched at with Star Trek III, letting loose a franchise writer as a first-time director.

This and MIB epitomise the sorry state of franchises that aren’t Disney right now – even though it now is Disney – desperation and straight-up-terrible moves (particularly in terms of directors, but casting too) are leading to box-office train wrecks.

31. Glass
Actual: $247m/ US: $11m
My Prediction (23rd) WW: $450m/ US: $210m

I suggested: This could potentially go higher or dip lower, depending on how anticipated an event a new Shyamalan has become (again)

It simply didn’t live up to audience’s expectations (I liked it all the same).

32. The Bravest

33. Annabelle Comes Home
Actual: WW: $229m/ US: $74m
My Prediction: (31st) WW: $290m/ US: $95m

34. Better Days

35. Knives Out
Actual: WW: $224m/ US: $119m (STILL ON RELEASE)
My Prediction: (49th) WW: $155m/ US: $75m

36. Rocketman
Actual: $195m/ US: $97m
My Prediction: (36th) WW: $220m/ US: $105m

37. The Addams Family
Actual: $197m/ US: $97m
My Prediction: (27th) WW: $315m/ US: $120m

38. Ford v Ferrari

39. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
Actual: WW: $191m/ US: $106m
My Prediction: (34th) WW: $270m/ US: $125m

40. Downtown Abbey 
Actual: WW: $190m/ US: $97m
My Prediction: (32nd) WW: $285m/ US: $80m

I suggested: Downtown Abbey reportedly had a 120m global audience, so how many of those will translate into cinemagoers?

41. The White Storm 2: Drug Lords

42. Abominable 
Actual: WW: $177m/ US: $61m
My Prediction: (40th) WW: $205m/ US: $70m

43. Gemini Man
Actual: WW: $173m/ US: $49m
My Prediction: (17th) WW: $615m/ US: $175m

I suggested: Ang Lee is calling the shots, so from that standpoint there should be nothing to complain about.

Except that was the problem, or a big part of it, and his insistence on high frame rate as a motivating tool.

44. Hustlers

45. Escape Room

46. The Climbers

47. Yesterday

48. The Angry Birds Movie 2
Actual: $147m/ US: $42m
My Prediction: (30th) WW: $295m/ US: $105m

49. Angel Has Fallen
Actual: WW: $141m/ US: $69m
My Prediction: (37th) WW: $215m/ US: $65m

50. Ad Astra
Actual: WW: $127m/ US: $50m
My Prediction: (29th) WW: $310m/ US: $110m

Agree? Disagree? Mildly or vehemently? Let me know in the comments below.

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