Predicting the 2018 Box Office

Superheroes will dominate the screen, once again.

2017 was another year full of blockbusters, but above all else, it was a year of surprises. Whether it was The Last Jedi getting ripped to shreds by fans, Justice League performing worse than Man of Steel, a killer clown flick becoming the highest grossing horror movie ever, or a Jumanji sequel outperforming Spider-Man. It was a year unlike any other, and with another round of superheroes, sequels, and superhero sequels on the way, here are the predictions for the 2018 box office. This list is in order of release date, and it will include opening weekend, domestic grosses, and international grosses.

Black Panther

Release Date: February 16

Chadwick Boseman wowed audiences with his performance as T'Challa back in Civil War, and although Tom Holland's portrayal of Peter Parker stole the show, it's clear that moviegoers did not forget about the protector of Wakanda. Opening at $192 million, it's already bested Age of Ultron as the second highest opening of the MCU.

While a black superhero movie may be a hard sell for some international markets (mainly China, thanks to its Force Awakens poster controversy), but there's no doubt it will make big business overseas. With no major competition until A Wrinkle in Time in March, this Marvel flick should do pretty well for itself and will most likely still be in the top ten by the end of the year.

Domestic Gross: $415 million

Worldwide Gross: $900 million

A Wrinkle in Time

Release Date: March 9

What makes A Wrinkle in Time stand out from the competition is that it's unlike most of the major blockbusters coming out this year. Based on the novel of the same name, and helmed by Selma director Ava DuVernay, this fantasy follows a trio of children who go through time and space to find Meg Murry's missing father. 

It seems to be following in the footsteps of Tomorrowland , Alice in Wonderland, and Oz: The Great and Powerful, with its dazzling visuals, a family friendly vibe, and a true sense of escapism. Plus, with a mega-company like Disney behind its production, a strong marketing campaign is all it needs to be a success. The only hurdle is whether or not the general public will buy into it, and go out to support this movie. This year's spring season, most notably March, is turning out to be a repeat of 2017, with a new blockbuster hitting theaters every weekend. Considering the idea of Tomb Raider, Pacific Rim: Uprising, and Ready Player One draining its staying power, it may be difficult for the movie to have long legs. However, March has proven to be a good month for Disney in the past, with last year's Beauty and the Beast and 2016's Zootopia hitting $1 billion worldwide so, we'll have to wait and see. For now, the safest bet is to mark it off on the lower end of the spectrum and be surprised later.

Opening Weekend: $76 million

Domestic Gross: $250 million

Worldwide Gross: $560 million

Tomb Raider

Release Date: March 16

There are three things Hollywood is never going to stop adapting: books, famous peoples' lives, and video games. This marks the first video game movie since Resident Evil: The Final Chapter hit theaters last January, with Alicia Vikander replacing Angelina Jolie in the role of Lara Croft. There has been a solid amount of promotion surrounding the film, but it's very unlikely it will break the video game movie curse simply due to the fact that most people have given up on these type of movies already. Thanks to Warcraft blowing up in China, and a Chinese actor playing a main role in this film, it's very likely that a lot of its revenue will come from overseas.

Opening Weekend: $15 million

Domestic Gross: $50 million

Worldwide Gross: $341 million

Pacific Rim: Uprising

Release Date: March 23

Considering how most sequels are born out of financial success, or used as a necessity to complete a franchise, a Pacific Rim follow-up is a welcome surprise. Usually if a film underperforms in North America, but makes plenty of international money, a potential sequel gets stuck in development hell. 

With Uprising coming out in A Wrinkle in Times' third weekend, and a month before Rampage (which also features giant monsters), there's a possibility that it could outdo its predecessor in the month of April. Despite the smaller budget, it may not make back its money in North America, thanks to a once again crowded month, but if enough supporters have their voices heard, there might be a smaller wait time for a third film.

Opening Weekend: $45 million

Domestic Gross: $130 million

Worldwide Gross: $520 million

Ready Player One

Release Date: March 29

Steven Spielberg is a name that guarantees a good time at the multiplex, although it seems that he has moved on from making big budget spectacles to more Oscarbait films. Now, a decade after Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the famed director is returning to the blockbuster genre with Ready Player One, a sci-fi fantasy that combines 80s' nostalgia with virtual reality video gaming. 

Much like a previously mentioned Disney product, this might be a little bit harder to convince general audiences to come out and give it the long legs it needs to last until summer. Any other year prior, the prediction would be far lower, but considering 2017 was a record breaking year for the spring season - with the top five films making over $160 million domestically - anything is possible.

Opening Weekend: $90 million

Domestic Gross: $200 million

Worldwide Gross: $659 million

Rampage

Release Date: April 20

As previously mentioned, film adaptations of video games never go over well, and this one comes out a little over a month after Tomb Raider. However, Dwayne Johnson is a bigger superstar than Alicia Vikander, and this reunites him with San Andreas director Brad Peyton, which might attract those who just want to see the former wrestler wave a gun around in a destroyed city. Coming out around the same time slot as The Fate of the Furious did last year may help it's opening weekend, but if Baywatch has proven anything, it's that sometimes the Rock can't always save a film.

Opening Weekend: $25 million

Domestic Gross: $98 million

Worldwide Gross: $400 million

Avengers: Infinity War

Release Date: May 4

This isn't a movie Marvel fans are going to see, this is a movie everyone who has watched the trailer is going to see. Not since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has the buildup to a film been met with this much anticipation. Becoming the most viewed trailer in 24 hours, at an astounding 230 million views, it's clear that the excitement for the movie is through the roof. Of course, trailer views don't always measure box office success, as the previous record holder, IT, made less money than some of the other 2017 movies on that list. In the case of Infinity War, that may be an exception as this promises to be the first part in bringing an eleven year story to a close.

It will definitely surpass the previous two Avengers films, as most final installments tend to perform exceptionally well. Chances are it won't pass Star Wars: Episode VII, given how the decade long gap between Revenge of the Sith and The Force Awakens had zero films and the thought of a finished franchise getting a new installment added to its' excitement. Regardless, even those who only watch the odd MCU film here and there will be convinced to head out to the theater, because this won't just be a movie, it will be an event.

Opening Weekend: $230 million

Domestic Gross: $700 million

Worldwide Gross: $2.057 billion

Deadpool 2

Release Date: May 18

Deadpool revolutionized the comic book genre, by giving us a faithful adaptation of the foul-mouthed and witty character. With a sequel coming out that's facing major competition, along with lacking the novelty the first one had, recouping some of that magic may prove to be a challenge, especially since comedy sequels don't tend to do well. Should this movie catch a case of sequelitis much like Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, that might add to its' underperformance.

Opening Weekend: $110 million

Domestic Gross: $237 million

Worldwide Gross: $639 million

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Release Date: May 25

Behind-the-scenes drama aside, this movie still has enough going against it. For one thing, Alden Ehrenreich has some mighty big shoes to fill after Harrison Ford finished off the smuggler's story in The Force Awakens. Not only that, but between the other two confirmed anthology movies, Rogue One and Boba Fett, this one feels like the biggest cash grab. There is very little about the character that fans don't already know, and chances are they have their own idea of what Han Solo was doing before the events of A New Hope. This film may take away some of that mystery, and if it's not to fans liking, there could be another case of Last Jedi level backlash.

Memorial day has been a bit of a weird spot for summer blockbusters; it's not a surefire way for a movie to succeed. As proven with last year's holiday, moviegoers may opt to staying home if there's nothing admirable coming out. Solo may prove to be another billion dollar hit, as it won't be another few weeks before it faces another challenger. But, by releasing outside a comfortable mid-December slot, and in the summer heat, odds are everyone's going to be too busy watching superheroes and dinosaurs to give it the same level of attention as the Skywalker Saga.

Opening Weekend: $130 million

Domestic Gross: $300 million

Worldwide Gross: $880 million

Incredibles 2

Release Date: June 15

The fact that a Cars trilogy was made before this sequel even got greenlit is why there are still things wrong in the world. Judging by the plot of both movies, they seem to be a refection of Hollywood's attitude towards superheroes; the first one was about heroes in hiding, at a time when the entire genre was considered box office poison. The sequel seems to be about Elastigirl going on a campaign trail to bring back superheroes while Bob is stuck at home with the kids; seemingly parodying Hollywood's love of superheroes and the sudden demand for female ones (thanks Wonder Woman).

In terms of box office, Pixar always does well in the summer, as they tend to own the mid-June slot similar to how Star Wars owns the mid-December space. 2015's Inside Out was a testament of how well the animation company could do against an Avengers movie, and Toy Story 3 and Finding Dory show what Pixar can do with long awaited sequels. Given how one of the biggest superhero movies of all time is about to hit theaters, and the fact that Incredbiles 2 has had the same amount of time between predecessors as the previously mentioned sequels, one can't help if this was simple coincidence, or a calculated business move.

Opening Weekend: $100 million

Domestic Gross: $410 million

Worldwide Gross: $1.04 billion

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Release Date: June 22

Jurassic Park 4 was the dinosaur movie that nobody thought would get made, but it did, under the title Jurassic World. It kicked off a new trilogy of movies, with the sequel due out in June this year, and like most second parts of a trilogy, it's expected to perform lower than the original.

What made the 2015 flick so special was that it had the advantages of nostalgia and being a franchise coming back from the grave, not unlike The Force Awakens. Although there will be no shortage of people wanting to see dinos on the big screen again, it's unlikely that they'll be rushing out to see it much like they did with the first. Plus the trailer isn't what one would call thrilling. There's only one movie in the summer season that's going to top $500 million domestically, and that's Infinity War. Fallen Kingdom may earn a lot on the international stage, but at home, the park may not get as many visitors.

Opening Weekend: $160 million

Domestic Gross: $440 million

Worldwide Gross: $1.3 billion

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Release Date: July 6

With superheros busy trying to save the universe from annihilation, it's refreshing to have one that's on a smaller scale. Both heroes are founding members of the Avengers in the comics, so to have these two pair up for a movie taking place before Infinity War will help them solidify their place in the universe. Also, since this picks up shortly after Civil War, it will explore how Scott Lang is able to keep being a hero, now that his actions have more consequences than ever.

Like most Marvel sequels, it should do better than the original movie, but a safe assumption would be a performance similar to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, where the push comes more from the domestic box office rather than the international one.

Opening Weekend: $70 million 

Domestic Gross: $200 million

Worldwide Gross: $550 million

Skyscraper

Release Date: July 13

The Rock is the most bankable star in the world right now, and with this flick coming out just three months after Rampage, there's no sign of him stopping. But having this actor pop up all over the place comes at a price, and with Baywatch bombing and Jumanji spiking up, it's clear that movies starring Dwayne Johnson are only as good as the people behind the camera.

This movie reunites him with Central Intelligence director Rawson Marshall Thurben, and it's also the first non-comedy Thurben has worked on. Whether or not that will do anything for North American audiences remains to be seen, but considering the movie's plot and setting, expect this to be another smash hit across the globe.

Opening Weekend: $30 million

Domestic Gross: $120 million

Worldwide Gross: $400 million

Mission Impossible: Fallout

Release Date:July 27

History seems to be repeating itself; along with a new Mission Impossible, the summer season has an Avengers sequel, a Dwayne Johnson action/disaster flick, an Ant-Man movie, a Pixar film, and a Jurassic World movie. All that's missing is a rap biopic, and another Minions, Pitch Perfect, or Mad Max, and it will be the summer of 2015 all over again.

It's hard to believe that a movie franchise based on a TV show has lasted this long (twenty-two years!) and the fact that Tom Cruise is still doing his own stunts, at 55 years of age, is an incredible feat in itself.

Ever since the franchise was rejuvenated with Ghost Protocol, the films have become hits with both critics and moviegoers alike. Although given the playing field that is late summer, it will have to do battle with The Equalizer 2, Crazy Rich Asians, Slenderman, The Meg, and an alleged Scarface reboot if it wants to leg it at the box office. Another unforeseen factor would be the critical reception; if it suffers a case of X-Men: Apocalypse and turns out to be an underwhelming third installment in a revamped series, that may affect ticket sales. Expect this one to perform well, just not as good as Rogue Nation

Opening Weekend: $50 million

Domestic Gross: $185 million

Worldwide Gross: $671 million

The Nun

Release Date:September 7

The Conjuring movies opened up a world of horrors, and with Annabelle: Creation, New Line Cinema made it clear that they were going to explore that world with their own cinematic universe. Much like the Annabelle movies, The Nun focuses on a character who made an appearance in the main Conjuring film series, only rather than being part of a throwaway introduction, this demon served as the main antagonist for The Conjuring 2

Being pushed from it's mid-July slot to September puts it at an advantage, as IT performed exceptionally well and was released in a similar time frame. While this movie could certainly become the highest grossing of the franchise, it's unlikely that it will meet the same level of success as the Stephen King adaptation.

Opening Weekend: $60 million

Domestic Gross: $170 million

Worldwide Gross: $330 million

The Predator

Release Date: September 14

Much like the Alien franchise, this film series has lasted longer than anyone anticipated, but a fresh new take could bring it back to its' heyday, as it promises to be a direct sequel to the 1987 original. Coming out in the early fall season, where the amount of big releases will be few and far between, and should it turn out to be good, it could be the first post-summer blockbuster.

The problem is Shane Black, or more-so his lack of name recognition, he's only made one major smash hit blockbuster before, and that was Iron Man 3. That association was played up quite a bit in the marketing for The Nice Guys, but that movie ended up crashing and burning at the box office, despite the amount of critical acclaim. Unless there is strong, positive word-of-mouth, The Predator may suffer financially if too many people look at it the same way they looked at Terminator: Genisys or Alien: Covenant.

Opening Weekend: $13 million

Domestic Gross: $60 million

Worldwide Gross: $210 million

Venom

Release Date: October 5

The idea of this movie was being tossed around back when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was still in production. After that movie's underperformance, it was thought to be tossed aside with other potential projects such as Sinister Six, Silver and Black, and Amazing Spider-Man 3. Thanks to Marvel taking control of the web-slinger, Sony's Marvel Universe will be brought back to life with Venom.

As a movie that will feature Tom Hardy's Eddie Brock as the protagonist, there's potential for it to break free of the formula set by previous Spider-Man movies. This could form its' own identity as a dark and potentially horror-based superhero film, regardless of whether or not it gets an R rating.

Opening Weekend: $70 million

Domestic Gross: $300 million

Worldwide Gross: $740 million

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Release Date: November 2

The X-Men franchise has had more hits than misses, but whenever it does take a blow, the whole structure is shook. Despite the resounding successes of Deadpool, Logan, and Days of Future Past, Apocalypse left much to be desired as it felt too similar to previous films. Their next outing will be an adaptation of the popular comic book story of the same name, but considering the last time it was brought to the big screen (Brett Ratners' The Last Stand), another misfire could be cause for reboot.

Opening Weekend: $70 million

Domestic Gross: $190 million

Worldwide Gross: $570 million

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Release Date: November 16

Harry Potter is a cherished property that holds a special place in many peoples' hearts, and after the concluding chapter came out, many Potterheads moved on from the franchise. With the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it seemed that J.K. Rowling wanted to bring that world back onto the big screen, and giving us a story unconnected to the original series. However, it's clear that not everyone was eager to return to the Wizarding World, as the movie grossed lower than the entire Harry Potter series, and only doing better than Prisoner of Azkaban on the global stage. 

The casting of Johnny Depp as Grindelwald and the fact that Dumbledore's sexuality won't be central to the story has caused some fans to speak out against the film. However, come the movie's release, it's sure to draw an impressive turn out both home and abroad.

Opening Weekend: $65 million

Domestic Gross: $220 million

Worldwide Gross: $800 million

Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2

Release Date: November 21

Being the first sequel to a major Disney film that isn't direct-to-DVD, Wreck-It Ralph 2 appears prepped to tackle internet culture. There are sure to be a large amounts of references and jokes regarding online interaction, whether or not that piques moviegoers' interest is really up to the critical reaction. Considering that this fills the same Thanksgiving slot as Coco, Moana, Big Hero 6, Frozen, and the first Wreck-It Ralph, it stands to do well. However, a busy end of year lineup may undercut some of its' revenue.

Opening Weekend: $45 million

Domestic Gross: $150 million

Worldwide Gross: $410 million

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Release Date: December 14

The trailer indicates a highly stylized and visually impressive movie, and the writing talents of Phil Lord could give this movie a strong plot. However, the recent over-saturation of Spider-Man, a severe lack of non-Marvel superhero movies, and Sony Pictures Animation's bad filmography (which hit an all-time low with The Emoji Movie) could turn off audiences from seeing the film. Should this movie dazzle the critics and prove to be much better than anyone could have hoped for, that might help moviegoers trust the company a bit more. Whatever the case, it's sure to become Sony's highest grossing animated film.

Opening Weekend: $50 million

Domestic Gross: $180 million

Worldwide Gross: $510 million

Bumblebee

Release Date: December 21

Had this movie come out five years ago, it would be the next billion dollar hit for the Transformers franchise. Now that there's two unwanted Michael Bay sequels in the mix, the spinoff has a lot to make up for. The upside is that it's helmed by a different director; Travis Knight of Kubo and the Two Strings, but on the other side of the coin we have screenwriter Christina Hodson, who's only other works are Shut In and Unforgettable. Considering that it's opening the same weekend as a DC film, it's pretty much dead on arrival, unless the release date gets pushed around or it manages to surprise us and get a score on Rotten Tomatoes higher than 20%. There's hope that Knight may use his skills as a writer to wiggle out some of the bad parts, but since this looks to be another Transformers movie with even less robots than before, he will have to do some serious damage control if Paramount wants this franchise to have a future.

Opening Weekend: $20 million

Domestic Gross: $100 million

Worldwide Gross: $400 million

Aquaman

Release Date: December 21

Thanks to Disney releasing their annual Star Wars contribution early this year, this opens up the possibility for any last minute releases to thrive over the holiday season, and Aquaman could be the movie that takes advantage of that time space and climb to box office gold. Considering that every superhero movie thus far would have been Disney or Marvel, and that this would be the first DC movie in over a year, audiences may be a bit more open to seeing it. No offense to Zac Snyder, but the DCEU seems to thrive when he's not in the directors' chair, and the last time James Wan helmed a non-horror project, it became the highest grossing movie in the Fast and Furious franchise. 

This will be the sixth film in the DCEU, and using the MCU as a rule of thumb, it could potentially become the franchise's first billion dollar movie. Although similar things have been said about Justice League, the playing field was a bit stiffer back then, with Thor: Ragnarok and Coco taking some of its steam. With the only major competition being Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Bumblebee, Aquaman could hold its own long into early 2019. Unless Mary Poppins Returns manages to impress.

Opening Weekend: $130 million

Domestic Gross: $400 million

Worldwide Gross: $1.1 billion

Those are the predictions for this year's blockbusters, and should any of them come true, we're looking at all-time highs for cinematic universes. Infinity War would be the first MCU film, and the fourth movie in history, to cross 2 billion dollars, Black Panther would break February records, Aquaman would become the top earner for the DCEU, and the Conjuring franchise would cross $500 million domestically. The possibility of Venom breaking October records sounds appealing as well.

All that's left is to pick which movies you want to see, watch them when they come out, and watch the charts to see how they turn out.

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