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Box Office Odds 2017: What Films Will Hit $1 Billion?

Trevor Dueck

by Trevor Dueck in Entertainment

Updated Jan 17, 2018 · 9:39 AM PST

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars Episode 8
Photo Credit: Disney Pictures

This year, a bunch of potentially great films are going to make a ton of dough at the box office. “A ton of dough” has a new standard these days, and it would make Sean Parker happy. How many 2017 movies have a chance to hit the all mighty billion-dollar mark?

It’s actually pretty hard to predict worldwide box office dollars. It comes down to things like past trends, what’s coming out in the same week, and whether or not our friends in China and Japan want to see The Emoji Movie.

Last year, four films were able to fly to the billion-dollar stratosphere, while three more hovered nearby. Disney’s animated Zootopia was 2016’s big surprise, earning $1.023 billion worldwide. Although, maybe that shouldn’t have come as too big a surprise. If you look at the trends, animated movies tend to do well, as does anything to do with Star Wars, superheroes, and The Rock.

Not so coincidentally, 2017 has all of that and more, as studios go back to the same wells that have already quenched their thirst for profits.

I see four or five movies that have a real shot to reach a billion in 2017, plus a few more with an outside chance if they get good reviews.

It’s safe to say that Star Wars: The Last Jedi is going to topple everyone and whiz past that benchmark.

The latest Fast and Furious film, The Fate of the Furious, won’t have the lure of the late Paul Walker. But it does star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, which is more than enough to expect big dolla bills.

Just like last year, you may as well give Disney your money right now. They are looking to rock 2017 with three Marvel films – Thor: Ragnarök, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and the much-anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Will all three make a billion? Probably not, but the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel could do it while rocking out to Sweet’s “Fox on the Run.”

Potentially filling the Zootopia role this year is yet another Disney offering: a live adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. Initially, people weren’t sure what to make of Disney’s newfound love of redoing their classic hits. But so far, moviegoers have said “Be Our Guest” to their wallets (see 2016’s The Jungle Book).

Warner Brothers has more superhero offerings this year. Their DCEU (DC Extended Universe) films have not done justice to DC’s most beloved characters so far. Yet, although critics spew venom at the films, they still make money. DC nerds (like me) are loyal and have a keen sense of denial. The quality of this year’s Wonder Woman and Justice League may not matter when it comes to turning a profit. But they’ll likely have to bring the DCEU out of the darkness in order to hit a billion dollars. Stay tuned … same bat time, same bat channel.

Below are the box office estimates for my predicted top-ten 2017 earners (no, The Emoji Movie is not one of them), along with odds on reaching the $1 billion plateau.

Odds to Earn $1 Billion at the Box Office

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (December 15, 2017): 1/9

Worldwide Box Office Prediction: $2.0 Billion

Poster of Star Wars Episode VIII
Photo Credit: Disney Pictures

Call me Captain Obvious here. Yes, it will reach a $1 billion. The real question is will it reach $2 billion in a galaxy far, far away? Could it even make a run at the all-time kings, Titanic and Avatar?

The Fate of the Furious (April 14, 2017): 1/3

Worldwide Box Office Prediction: $1.2 Billion

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For whatever reason, the Fast and Furious films do big business at the box office. It goes to show you that a lot of people like really dumb movies, or that fast cars are a universal language. Watching tricked-out rides do ridiculous CGI stunts may not be for me, but you have to respect the money the franchise pulls in, and with 2015’s Furious 7 raking in a cool $1.5 billion, it’s reasonable to expect something similar from The Fate of the Furious.

Furious 7 should have ended the franchise after the death of Paul Walker. I see this newest addition taking a bit of a dip at the box office but not below the billion mark.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5, 2017): 2/3

Worldwide Box Office Prediction: $1.1 billion

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The massive success of the first film ($773,328,629) was a complete surprise, and it is considered one of the greatest Marvel films of all time. For the last three years, people have been waiting anxiously for Volume 2. When it finally drops this year, you can fully expect it to surpass the original, in part, because it has the perfect release date, facing no real competition. Bring on Awesome Mixtape #2!

Beauty and the Beast (March 17, 2017): 2/3

Worldwide Box Office Prediction: $1 Billion

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This is a tough one to predict. This new trend of Disney giving their classic toons the live-adaptation treatment has been an absolute goldmine for the House of Mickey. Last year’s The Jungle Book took in $967 million. In 2015, Cinderella made $544 million. Both of those films got great reviews and, with how beloved the original Beauty and the Beast is, I am predicting the film will do huge numbers. But a billion worldwide? I guess we’ll find out when the last petal drops.

Transformers: The Last Knight (June 23, 2017): 1/1

Worldwide Box Office Prediction: $940 million 

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We might be tired of these films in North America, but the rest of the world eats this stuff up. Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) did $1.1 billion with 78-percent of that being foreign money. Will the piss-poor storytelling finally bring a decline to the franchise? Based on the previous Transformers films, it’s hard to say with confidence that this will do less than a billion, but I’m predicting the franchise will start to see diminishing returns.

Justice League (November 17, 2017): 2/1

Worldwide Box Office Prediction: $910 Million

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Warner Brothers doesn’t give up. Last year’s Batman v. Superman got panned by critics but still did a respectable $873 million, which was $300 million less than what Warners envisioned. The same goes for Suicide Squad, which almost did exact same numbers as BvS, raising the question: do DC fans care about quality?

This movie opens one month before Star Wars so it has about 30 days to rake in the dough. But it’s also in direct competition with Thor 3, which could take away a few dollars. To some extent, its success hinges upon that of Warners other big 2017 offering, Wonder Woman (June 2). Justice League will probably come close to a billion, but I see it staying slightly under.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7, 2017): 7/3

Worldwide Box Office Prediction: $900 million

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Three 2017 Marvel films is a bit of overkill but my spidey senses are tingling, telling me that this newest Spider-Man flick will cash in. I will even swing out on a limb and say that this will be the highest-grossing Spider-Man film ever. Will it make more than Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2? Probably not, but don’t sleep on this one. People geeked out when they saw a younger version of Spidey (Tom Holland) make a cameo in last year’s Captain America: Civil War, so the buzz is there.

Despicable Me 3 (June 30, 2017): 3/1

Worldwide Box Office Prediction: $825 million 

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Are we at the end of the Minion craze yet? Despicable Me 3 will be one of the highest-grossing animated films of 2017, but a billion dollars? I just don’t see it. I think it will creep close to that magic mark, but do slightly less, similar to what Despicable Me 2 did.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (May 26, 2017): 4/1

Worldwide Box Office Prediction: $820 million 

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Johnny Depp doesn’t draw like he used to and the last film in the franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, didn’t exactly get great reviews. But that was 2011 and it still snuck over the billion mark. Six years later, people might still have an appetite for some rum, and enough time has passed that most have probably forgotten about the franchise’s decline in quality.

Thor: Ragnarök (October 27, 2017): 50/1

Worldwide Box Office Prediction: $715 million 

Poster for Thor Ragnarok
Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

This has the potential to be the most successful Thor film yet, and with the inclusion of the Hulk, some sort of connection to the Guardians of the Galaxy, along an upcoming Avengers movie, this should be a massive hit for Marvel. I just don’t see it doing anywhere near a billion dollars. That said, it won’t have real competition for a couple weeks until the release of Justice League. This will bring in a lot of money for the Son of Odin but will have a hard time getting to $800 million.

The Field

  • War for the Planet of the Apes – Worldwide Box Office Prediction: $715,000,000
  • Wonder Woman – Worldwide Box Office Prediction:$700,000,000
  • Cars 3 – Worldwide Box Office Prediction: $675,000,000
  • Coco – Worldwide Box Office Prediction: $630,000,000
  • Alien: Covenant –  Worldwide Box Office Prediction: $600,000,000
  • The Dark Tower – Worldwide Box Office Prediction:$575,000,000
  • Blade Runner 2049 – Worldwide Box Office Prediction: $550,000,000 
  • Kong: Skull Island – Worldwide Box Office Prediction: $530,000,000 
  • Dunkirk – Worldwide Box Office Prediction:$525,000,000
  • The LEGO Batman Movie – Worldwide Box Office Prediction: $480,000,000 
  • Logan – Worldwide Box Office Prediction:$470,000,000 
  • Ghost in the Shell – Worldwide Box Office Prediction: $450,000,000
  • Kingsman: The Golden Circle – Worldwide Box Office Prediction: $425,000,000 
  • Power Rangers – Worldwide Box Office Prediction: $400,000,000
  • The Emoji Movie – Worldwide Box Office Prediction: $400,000,000
  • Fifty Shades Darker – Worldwide Box Office Prediction:$395,000,000 
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