Of all the yearly traditions on this blog, this might be the most futile. This is the one in which I try (and invariably fail) to predict which movies will end up as the top ten hits of the U.S. box office. To be fair, I didn’t do too badly last year. I predicted nine out of the ten movies that ended up in the top ten, even if I predicted them all in the wrong order. I had this hunch that Wonder Woman might be the biggest hit of the summer, but foolish me chickened out and went the “safe” route, thinking Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was a sure-bet for the top spot. Twelve months later, I don’t need to tell you Wonder Woman was the movie of the summer, though I might have to remind you that a Guardians sequel did in fact play in theaters last year. Being wrong! It’s fun!
Blow are my predictions for which will be the ten most “successful” movies at the box office this summer, with a big caveat. Some of these franchise movies are so impossible expensive to make that ending up in the top ten, and making hundreds of millions of dollars, doesn’t guarantee they will make a profit. There are a lot of those this summer. Just take a look at my list below, and realize that absolutely none of the movies I’m predicting are an original property. They are all part of an established franchise. I mean, a couple of them look good, and there’s also other smaller movies being released in the following months; but it will be a long summer for big Hollywood movies.
Before we get into it, however, let me inform you I recorded a podcast on this very topic with my good friend Rachel Wagner. This is the second year in which we try to predict the summer box office, so give it a listen if you want to listen to me make a fool of myself instead of merely reading it. I’ve linked to the podcast at the end of this post. It is also available both on Soundcloud and as a Youtube video.
1. The Incredibles 2
Release Date: June 15
Predicted Box Office: 500 Million
I might phoning it in a little bit with this choice for number one, but I just can’t predict another Marvel movie to be at the top of the summer box office! For three in years in a row, I’ve predicted Marvel to come out on top, and for three years I’ve been wrong. This year, Marvel is bringing out the big guns, but I just can’t predict them again. I just can’t. So I’ve decided to go with The Incredibles 2, thinking that the movie could pull-off a run similar to Finding Dory, which dominated the summer two years ago.
2. Avengers: Infinity Wars
Release Date: April 27
Predicted Box Office: 450 Million
This is Marvel’s big play of the summer, the movie that will bring a thousand characters together and (presumably) pay off with the big battle the superhero franchise has been building up to for ten years. Early ticket sales for the movie have been huge, and Marvel is coming off the gigantic success of Black Panther, which can’t help. This movie, by all counts, has everything it needs to be the biggest hit of the summer and I’m probably a dumb idiot for not putting it at number one. Maybe the superhero fatigue will finally set in? Maybe the movie will disappoint fans in a big way? Or maybe I’m just being too personal, thinking audiences getting as tired of the Marvel movies as I am.
3. Solo: A Star Wars Story
Release Date: May 25
Predicted Box Office: 350 Million
Number three is nothing to sneeze at, but number three of the year (let alone the summer!) for a Star Wars movie is kind of a disaster. The franchise has ended at the top of the yearly box office for three years in a row now, so how could a movie that centers on one of its most beloved characters not be the biggest hit of the year? Well, the whole “young Han Solo” thing has met a lot of skepticism, pair that with the fact that we just got a (pretty divisive) Star Wars movie a mere five months ago and you are left with less enthusiasm than usual. Every Star Wars movie can’t be gigantic in a world in which we get a new one every year… can it?
4. Deadpool 2
Release Date: May 8
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Predicted Box Office: 290 Million
The first Deadpool was a surprise hit, earning 336 million dollars in the U.S. and coming embarrassingly close of a Best Picture nomination. But that movie came out in the (still but every year less so) doldrums of February. This time, the most obnoxious superhero of them all is playing in the big leagues of summer. People seem to like the rancid first movie, so I expect the sequel to make decent business (though not as well as its predecesor) despite being sandwiched between Avengers and Star Wars.
5. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Release Date: June 22
Predicted Box Office: 225 Million
Jurassic World dominated the box office back in 2015, becoming the third highest grossing movie in U.S. history (at the time), but is there anyone who actually likes that movie? Or that remembers it fondly? I might be in too deep into the world of Film Twitter, but I get the feeling that nobody is excited about this movie, which looks like it’s going to be about dinosaurs fighting a volcano? 225 Million is a fortune, but would be a huge disappointment for a sequel to a movie that made 652.
6. Mission Impossible: Fallout
Release Date: July 27
Predicted Box Office: 190 Million
Not unlike the Fast and Furious saga (but with less gigantic grosses), the Mission: Impossible movies found a winning formula well into the series. It all changed when Tom Cruise climbed up the tallest building in the world. Suddenly, we had found the perfect way to capitalize on the actor’s crazy star persona. The trailer for this latest entry devotes its last few seconds to a medley of Cruise stunts in which he falls out of many high-speeding vehicles. I don’t see a reason why people won’t show up for this. I know I will.
7. Ant-Man and the Wasp
Release Date: July 6
Predicted Box Office: 185 Million
A miniature adventure such as this one (pun fully intended) might feel anti-climatic after the bloat of the Infinity Wars, but one would have to be truly foolish to bet on a Marvel movie not making money. Still, I wouldn’t expect this one to break any records. Falling somewhere along the lines of the first Ant-Man movie (180 million) seems most likely.
8. Ocean’s Eight
Release Date: June 8
Studio: Warner Bros.
Predicted Box Office: 150 Million
This is movie on this list that I’m most excited to see. Actually, it’s the only movie that I’m truly excited to see (I’m being cautious about getting too excited for Incredibles 2 given Pixar’s recent track record). Anyway, a female version of Ocean’s Eleven? With this cast? Bullock. Blanchett. Paulson. Rihanna! I’m hoping general audiences are as excited for this movie as I am, because I will take all-female versions of beloved movies over exploding franchises all year long.
9. Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
Release Date: July 13
Predicted Box Office: 145 Million
How many Hotel Transylvania movies will we have to endure until animator Genndy Tartakovsky finally gets to make an original movie of his own. The franchise does reliably well for Sony Pictures Animation in the Fall, so there’s the question of whether it will survive in the big leagues of summer. This isn’t a super crowded year in the animation front, so I expect this to do perfectly fine.
10. Disney’s Christopher Robin
Release Date: August 3
Predicted Box Office: 130 Million
This one’s a bit of a question mark for me. The Disney remakes make a hell of a lot of money. The latest entry, Beauty and the Beast, was the second highest movie of last year with a 504 million haul. But this isn’t strictly a remake, and Winnie the Pooh isn’t hit the Millennial nostalgia sweet-spot quite as hard (or quite as precisely) as Beauty and the Beast. I don’t think there’s a world in which this movie is an outright flop, but how far can it actually go? I’m genuinely curious to know.