Early in the year, we projected which movies would do the best at the box office in 2015. There is no reason to believe that winter blockbusters like Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens or The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 won’t be huge come Christmas, but the deficit they have to make up to the likes of Jurassic World and Furious 7 may be insurmountable before the end of the year.
Let’s look back at our picks, check out how things have panned out thus far, and reset the odds heading into the tail end of the year.
#10 The Hateful Eight
Release Date: December 25, 2015
The Down-Low: During a blizzard in the Civil War era, eight westerners encounter a blizzard in Wyoming. It’s hard to go wrong with Samuel L. Jackson starring in a Quentin Tarantino western. We’re imagining Django but with more violence and swearing (which would make it entirely violence and swearing).
#9 Fifty Shades of Grey (new entry)
Release Date: February 13, 2015
The Down-Low: The film adaptation to one of the best-selling novels of all time did surprisingly well considering it only scored a rating of 25-percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Teenage girls swooned over Edward Cullen in Twilight. Now it’s Mom’s turn to ogle Jamie Dornan’s six-pack in Fifty Shades of Grey. Still, $569 million is a respectable showing for a movie whose source material was written on a Blackberry. Had it not come out near Valentine’s Day, the film would undoubtedly have made substantially less.
#8 Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Odds: 80-1 (Down from 50-1)
Release Date: July 31, 2015
The Down-Low: Ethan Cruise, I mean Tom Hunt, whatever his name is, returns in the fifth installment in the Mission Impossible franchise. The secret agent will be battling a nefarious “syndicate”. If 2011’s Ghost Protocol is any indication (it was Cruise’s highest-grossing film ever, earning $694,713,380 worldwide), audiences will lineup for this one despite the tired sounding premise. On the bright side, Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner will reprise their roles as Benji Dunn and William Brandt.
#7 Inside Out
Odds: 60-1 (Up from 100-1)
Release Date: June 19, 2015
The Down-Low: It’s animated; it’s by Pixar; it’s from the same writer as Toy Story 3. Pixar’s tale of a girl who must cope with moving to a new house and new school in a new city is sure to be a big hit, especially with kids (like every Pixar movie that came before it). It will feature the vocal talents of Amy Poehler, Lewis Black, and Mindy Kaling.
#6 Minions (new entry)
Release Date: July 10, 2015
The Down-Low: This Despicable Me spin-off is living up to all of the hype. Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, families are flocking to theaters to see these adorable (though very inept) yellow creatures in their first feature-length film. Minions has already earned over $1.1 billion internationally, and looks to be the top grossing animated feature this year.
#5 The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Odds: 10-1 (Down from 9-1)
Release Date: May 1, 2015
The Down-Low: A sequel to one of the biggest money-makers of all time, Age of Ultron is a battle between Marvel’s heroes and Ultron, their greatest threat since their last greatest threat (Loki) and their first greatest threat (each other!).
All the main players are back for Ultron: Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, and Jeremy Renner as Legolas … I mean Hawkeye. Joss Whedon directs!
#4 Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
Release Date: December 18, 2015
The Down-Low: We don’t know much about the plot yet, but the film will be set 30 years after Return of the Jedi, and will focus (in part) on the exploits of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. (Now 30 years older, we can only assume that Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford will be playing a lot of space golf and taking more frequent trips to the restroom.) The first of the new Star Wars trilogy is our second choice primarily because a lot of the money it earns will take place in 2016.
#3 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
Release Date: November 20, 2015
The Down-Low: Part 1 was the box-office champ of 2014. If the two-part Harry Potter finale is any indication, Part 2 will outperform its predecessor. If only your ticket purchase could help fund District 13’s munitions supply! Gwendoline Christie joins the cast for the final movie as Commander Lyme. J-Law, J-Hutch, and L-Hem are all back, of course.
#2 Furious 7
Odds: 3-2 (Down from 1-1)
Release Date: March 26, 2015
The Down-Low: In a drastic underestimation of The Rock’s appeal – especially internationally – this one wasn’t originally on our list. But Furious 7, one of Paul Walker’s last movies, is absolutely killing it at the box office. It had the ninth-highest opening weekend ever, raking in $147.2 million.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the film, though, is its critical reception. Furious currently has 82-percent on Rotten Tomatoes, which is almost more than 2 Fast 2 Furious, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and Fast and Furious, combined.
#1 Jurassic World
Odds: 1-1 (Up from 3-2)
Release Date: June 12
The Down-Low: In 1993, Jurassic Park was a sensation. Set 22 years later, Jurassic World takes place in a fully functioning dinosaur theme park near Costa Rica. By splicing some dino genes and tossing in a pinch of “make sure this thing eats everybody,” the scientists at the park create the Indominus Rex; it starts eating everybody. Chris Pratt is the only person who can save them. (Everybody is screwed.)
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