As the first batch of 2017’s big blockbusters prepare to arrive, we’re going to make predictions for the Ten Highest-Grossing Films of the year worldwide, and analyse what each film has in its (and against its) favour.
1. STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
Predicted global gross: $1.7bn
Pros: It’s a Star Wars. That’s all you need to know. 2015’s The Force Awakens is the third biggest movie of all time, and spin-off Rogue One was also a huge success. Many will be interested to see the final appearance of the late Carrie Fisher.
Cons: Nothing’s ever gonna top The Force Awakens– the long-awaited return of the brand, and of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo. Rian Johnson, a lesser-known name, replaces J.J. Abrams as director. There’s already a bit of Star Wars fatigue hitting in for many mainstream moviegoers in the franchise’s third consecutive year of releases.
2. BEAUTY & THE BEAST
Predicted global gross: $1.35bn
Pros: The enormous market of young female moviegoers is seriously underserved, but Disney’s live-action fairytales attract them in massive numbers. This is a reimagining of, arguably, the studio’s most beloved animated film, from veteran Twilight director and musical master Bill Condon. The very British cast, led by Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, should appeal to the Downton crowd, while Frozen‘s Josh Gad plays a comedy sidekick. Ariana Grande and John Legend have performed the title track, and the soundtrack album will likely top the charts upon release. This film has potential to be unbelievably huge.
Cons: The film doesn’t have particularly strong appeal for men, with the marketing highlighting the romance. Josh Gad is, while popular with kids, utterly insufferable. Watson has yet to prove herself a bankable lead.
3. THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS
Predicted global gross: $1.3bn
Pros: This series is nothing short of a phenomenon, and has grown into something beloved around the world. Vin Diesel, The Rock and Jason Statham are joined by Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren for a twist-filled eighth adventure (Diesel turns evil!).
Cons: Furious 7‘s success in 2015 was undoubtedly influenced by interest in Paul Walker’s final appearance, and the tie-in track ‘See You Again’ was hugely helpful in spreading the word. This film, set primarily in New York, doesn’t have the range of global locations as 6 or 7, which might lessen the appeal for some international audiences.
4. DESPICABLE ME 3
Predicted global gross: $1.25bn
Pros: Never underestimate a film featuring the Minions. Despicable Me 2 was outgrossed by 2015’s Minions spin-off, which passed the billion-mark without featuring beloved antihero Gru (Steve Carrell). There’s still a lot of life in this brand.
Cons: Minion hype has possibly reached its peak, and there’s a chance that 3 will be the beginning of the end for this franchise.
5. SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING
Predicted global gross: $1.1bn
Pros: Anyone who saw Civil War knows that Spider-Man is now officially cool again. Young star Tom Holland made a terrific appearance in that film, and his first solo adventure looks fresh, funny and full of fan service. Robert Downey Jr. co-stars as Tony Stark (basically a guarantee of a billion-dollar movie at this point), whilst Michael Keaton plays the villain.
Cons: Anyone who didn’t see Civil War might confuse this for another Andrew Garfield effort (and they were BAD). Audiences are definitely cynical about the prospect of another Spidey reboot. How prominently will Downey Jr. feature in later marketing?
6. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2
Predicted global gross: $980m
Pros: Everybody loved Guardians of the Galaxy. From the quirky assortment of characters to the smash-hit soundtrack album, it was Marvel’s most broad cultural success, if not their biggest box office hit. Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) is a work of absolutely marketing genius. Sylvester Stallone joins the cast.
Cons: Chris Pratt may not be as popular with audiences as we once thought: Passengers was a flop for Sony just 2 months ago. The Guardians films, being offbeat comedies, feel like less-essential cinema viewing than the Avengers or Spider-Man films: many may wait to check this out on Netflix.
7. TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT
Predicted global gross: $960M
Pros: For some unfathomable reason, audiences keep coming back for more Transformers. The international share of the gross grows with each new instalment. This time there’s a strange plot involving Hitler and King Arthur, and Anthony Hopkins co-stars.
Cons: American audiences have shown increasing apathy to this brand. Mark Wahlberg is coming off two underwhelming releases, Deepwater Horizon and Patriots Day. The trailers are absolutely rubbish.
8. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES
Predicted global gross: $940m
Pros: Pirates! Disney’s Pirates are very, very popular with an all-ages audiences. This long-delayed fifth entry looks terrific, with Javier Bardem as a terrifying new villain. Orlando Bloom returns as Will Turner.
Cons: Two words: Johnny Depp. Depp has never been less popular, and last year’s Alice in Wonderland sequel earned only a fraction of the first film’s gross. He could seriously hurt this film (hence his near-exclusion from the two trailers). Also, 6 years have passed since Pirates 4. Do as many people still await the return of Captain Sparrow?
9. JUSTICE LEAGUE
Predicted global gross: $850m
Pros: In theory, a big-screen team-up of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Assorted Others should be one of the biggest movies of the year. A Justice League movie is a momentous moment in blockbuster history. Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, despite being quite poorly received, both performed very well.
Cons: Nobody liked Suicide Squad, and few enjoyed Batman v Superman. These characters in their present cinema incarnations are not that popular outside the DC fanbase. Zack Snyder doesn’t appear to have changed his style since Man of Steel, par sticking some token humour into this film’s Comic-Con trailer. Justice League probably won’t be half as big a success as it would’ve been if Batman v Superman was a great film.
10. THOR: RAGNAROK
Predicted global gross: $800m
Pros: Any film featuring Avengers characters is now essentially a must-see. Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk joins Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) for a mythical quest of some sort. We’ll finally find out what these guys were up to during the events of Civil War.
Cons: The Thor films haven’t been Marvel’s most successful standalones, and this is the third(!!) Marvel Studios release of the year. If Guardians Vol. 2 and Homecoming disappoint audiences, they’ll be less likely to give the studio even more hard-earned cash.
Wonder-Woman (PGG: $730m). Cars 3 (PGG: $650m). Logan (PGG: $620m). Dunkirk (PGG: $540m). The Mummy (PGG: $490m). Blade Runner 2049 (PGG: $480m). War for the Planet of the Apes (PGG: $430m). Alien: Covenant (PGG: $400m).