Now that Avengers: Age of Ultron cleaned up the box office with a massive, number-one opening weekend (second all-time behind the original), everybody is asking: what’s going to hit number one next?
Glad you asked, world!
With such a large swatch of potential blockbusters, the landscape is a precarious one for sure. Not every release is guaranteed a number one bow (or even a big take of box office cashola). Therefore, I will be taking a look at the cutthroat summer schedule ahead and list my picks for seven movies definitely hitting number one at the box office. These probable number ones are filled with superheroes, dinosaurs, talking beanbags, spies, criminals-turned-heroes and, you guessed it, more superheroes.
Oh sure, you may be asking yourself, it's summer; all tent-poles hit number one. Not necessarily. (Lone Ranger, anyone?) The seven movies I'm listing here are worthy of discussion because no blockbuster is safe when it comes to stiff competition and audience taste. Be it brand fatigue (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For), poor execution (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) or a bad place on the schedule (The Rock’s Hercules), summer is a ruthless beast proving that you never can tell what will be a hit.
However, these seven movies are a lock for a place at the “Big Dance.”
Debuting May 22nd, Tomorrowland is as close to an original concept as you can get in the world of movies based on existing properties. Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) comes in on a high from his last number one (MI: Ghost Protocol), and because of his popularity in geek culture (and with enough time for Avengers: Age of Ultron to run its course), Tomorrowland is poised to take over for Marvel’s superhero team-up and snag some serious dough. With strong word-of-mouth based on the trailers, along with being another Disney release (having George Clooney ain’t too shabby either), Tomorrowland will pull in the curious, the Mouse-Eared faithful and the Brad Bird subscribers. Count on it claiming $65 million+ at the box office, giving Disney two number-one openings in a row.
Despicable Me 2 cemented Gru as a beloved character who helped elevate the first sequel to a number-one debut in July of 2013 with over $83 million in ticket sales. Steve Carell is a perfect animated anti-hero, but come on—the kids show up for something else entirely: Minions. The loveable, walking-and-talking yellow beanbags now have their own movie debuting July 10th, and Sandra Bullock is coming along to add another big name to the bill. That helps to be sure, but taking the funniest parts of the two previous movies and placing them front and center means the kids will no doubt demand to experience this movie-going adventure. Parents, too, will be excited to laugh at something worthwhile, so make no mistake: the Minions are here to stay. Expect a similar bow this time with at least $70 million+ in ticket sales.
This is the one movie on this list I can see getting upset from a number one spot as it's going up against Magic Mike XXL on July 1st. Plus, the latest in the "James Cameron-free" Terminator franchise is experiencing bad word-of-mouth from the revealing trailers (John Connor is a Terminator?) and less-than-stellar marketing posters (and will somebody please spell check "Genisys?"). Because of it, the franchise is on thin ice, with some people saying it's dead—but I don't believe it. Due to the many potential plot twists, the return of Arnold to his most iconic role and just plain ole' curiosity, Terminator Genisys will snag the number one spot with a $60 million+ opening weekend, besting Magic Mike XXL. Just barely, though... Don’t count out the female contingent that represents a healthy portion of box office when something interests them on the level of Channing Tatum. Naked.
This will be a tight race. Maybe someone from the Genisys production should send a Terminator back in time to take out Channing Tatum and secure the victory.
Yup, another superhero movie and another reboot, this time for the campiest of all superheroes: the Fantastic Four. So many rumors have plagued this movie behind the scenes, mostly because of director Josh Trank’s (Chronicle) rumored off-set problems (he was forced off the second Star Wars Anthology movie). Then there's the bad taste in the mouth left over from the previous Fantastic Four movies. Already the deck seems stacked against it. However, with four talented, up-and-coming actors who are totally hot right now in Michael B. Jordan’s Human Torch ("hot" pun intended), Miles Teller’s Mr. Fantastic, Kate Mara’s Sue Storm and Jamie Bell’s mo-capped Thing, plus an entertaining-yet-gritty second trailer showing lots of promise, I think Fantastic Four will actually hit hard at the box office thanks in part to its use of another Fox powerhouse in the marketing ("From the studio that brought you X-Men: Days of Future Past..."). FF should pull in $75 million+ on its August 7th weekend.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Tom Cruise is returning to arguably his most iconic role as Ethan Hunt on July 31st with no other movie opening standing in his way. And seeing as it’s Mr. Cruise's most popular movie franchise, like, ever (still holding out for an Edge of Tomorrow sequel), the Mission Impossible series shows no sign of slowing down. Previously-mentioned Brad Bird injected the last MI entry with some much-needed awesome, and after witnessing Ethan Hunt dangling from the tallest building in the world in Ghost Protocol, audiences now want to know how new director Christopher McQuarrie can top it—Tom Cruise hanging from a plane on takeoff is a good start. Look for at least $70 million+ in box office receipts.
Marvel still isn’t done with the summer—not by a long shot. Here comes the start of Phase Three (or the end of Phase Two if you're a pessimist) with Marvel’s Ant-Man. Some people may point out the very public split between original director Edgar Wright and Marvel as a reason Ant-Man will flounder at the box office, but in the end the geeks will need to witness the origin story of Scott Lang via the perfectly-cast Paul Rudd. Plus, with news that Rudd will be reprising his role for next summer’s Avengers 2.1 film, Captain America: Civil War, the Marvel faithful will need to see this movie. The trailer actually mocks the title, only proving the studio and replacement director Peyton Reed know what they're up against. But with a solid brand, some surprising humor and the promise of hidden Easter Eggs advertising future Avengers movies, Ant-Man will take over the number one spot on July 17th, one week after Minions. Expect a solid $70 million+ weekend.
On June 12th, the park is open. And with it, the franchise looks to be back on track. Set many years after the original Jurassic Park, director Colin Trevorrow wisely supposes that John Hammond’s dream of a fully operational dinosaur park a la Sea World is up and running, raking in the tourists and their bucks in the process. It’s what all the previous sequels should have done in the first place, rather than just having the same bunch of stupid humans stumble onto the same island only to become dino-lunch. With great callbacks to the original and the use of John Williams’ amazing theme, no doubt Universal will have another huge hit on their hands after the behemoth that was Furious 7. Anticipation is incredibly high, and for that reason—okay, also for the reason of dinosaurs eating people—Jurassic World will debut at number one to a solid $80 million+ weekend.
There are my predictions. What did I miss? With so many movies out there looking to take your money, what say you fellow readers? Are you upset I didn’t place Mad Max: Fury Road in the line up? Are you certain Pixar will claim a number one spot with Inside Out? Is Ted 2 your pick for a shot at number one? Let me hear it all in the comments and let’s discuss!