Last year I made a 2019 box office predictions list on this site and absolutely failed. I didn’t expect Joker or Captain Marvel to make the insane amounts that they did and I had no idea that films like the Secret Life of Pets 2 or Star Wars would underperform to the degrees they did. But I’ve learnt from all those mistakes and because of that, I believe that I am ready to predict the ten biggest box office hits of 2020. All numbers represent worldwide totals.
10. Tenet ($775 million)
Inception and Interstellar both made well over $650 million worldwide, with the former also managing to cross $800 million. While Tenet doesn’t have the star power Inception had, Nolan’s name has only gotten bigger and he doesn’t need any major actors or recognisable IP to create a box office hit. Regardless of how you feel about his films, he’s doing something unique in the blockbuster space and in a year largely crowded with remakes, sequels, or reboots, this could break out. Also the trailer seemed to be positively received and that’s always a good sign.
9. Eternals ($800 million)
An MCU movie is almost a guaranteed hit these days. With a stacked cast and a release date that could lead to a leggier holiday run I’m almost certain this is going to be another hit for Marvel. I’m predicting something closer to Guardians than Captain Marvel simply because it feels like a risk in the same way the 2014 film did.
8. Soul ($850 million)
A Pixar movie tends to do well at the box office. I’m not expecting both of them to be massive but this looks to be the better of the two and opening in the summer could give it a leggy box office run.
7. Mulan ($875 million)
This may be one that I’m underestimating but I do think the controversy surrounding the lead actress supporting the Hong Kong police could hurt this film a little. Not enough to stop it from being a massive hit but it might lower the overall total. However, if I’m wrong then Mulan is one of the last major Disney animated films to be remade and based on the success of Aladdin and The Lion King, could hit a billion and even be the biggest film of 2020.
6. Raya and the Last Dragon($900 million)
Yeah I know this is a little high but Disney animated films have a pretty good track record and the lack of competition means this should do pretty big. It opens late November and doesn’t really have major competition till Shang-Chi. I know Dune opens in December and even though it’s my most anticipated film of the next year, I don’t have a lot of box office hopes for it. If Raya is a good crowd-pleaser then this film could be one of the bigger surprise hits of the next year.
5. Black Widow ($925 million)
After underestimating all three Marvel movies last year I’m reluctant to predict <$800 million totals for any of them. Fans have been asking for this movie for quite a long time and when we look at how strong the MCU brand has become over the last few years it’s hard to imagine anything lower for this film.
4. No Time to Die ($975 million)
A good Bond movie starring Daniel Craig is bound to make a ton at the box office. Also if rumours are to be believed and Billie Eilish is writing the song, I wouldn’t be surprised if the movie appeals to a demographic it normally wouldn’t appeal to and that gives it a small boost. Would not be surprised if this hits a billion but spy movie competition from a well established brand like the MCU only a month away could hurt it.
3. Minions: The Rise of Gru ($1 billion)
As much as we hate to admit it, the Minions franchise is a guaranteed hit at the box office. Last year I drastically overestimated one Illumination sequel but I think this is different. The minions have been such a massive part of our pop culture over the last few years and even with little to no buzz, the last Despicable Me movie made over a billion. This is surely going to be one of the biggest films of the year.
2. Wonder Woman 1984 ($1.1 billion)
If the last two years have thought us anything it’s not to count out a good DC film at the box office. Based on the reaction to the first trailer, this movie has a high chance of repeating, or at least coming close to, the level of critical reception the first one had. On top of that, there seems to be this restored faith in DC at the moment. When you also take into account how beloved the first one was and how successful the CBM genre is right now, why won’t this be a massive box office hit?
1. Fast and Furious 9 ($1.1 billion)
Although this franchise probably doesn’t have the same passionate fanbase Marvel, DC and various other franchises have, it would be ridiculous to think a Fast and Furious movie won’t perform at the box office. The last two entries easily crossed the billion dollar mark. Fast and Furious 7 is one of the ten highest grossing movies of all time. I doubt this will reach as much as the other two without the Rock. However, it’s a guaranteed billion dollar hit and will be the highest grossing movie of 2020.
So similar to the 2019 predictions, I’m going to making updates every month or so to see how badly I’m doing and to make edits as we get closer to certain releases.
EDIT #1 (March 9th): Birds of Prey and Onward were two possible but unlikely contenders to enter the list. Poor marketing definitely hurt both films and the coronavirus situation means Onward made on $28 million overseas. Disney will really be hoping this one has good legs.
Speaking of the coronavirus, No Time to Die was delayed until November, which means I don’t think Raya will make as much due to stronger competition. The coronavirus also means I think Mulan, Black Widow and maybe F9 will be impacted. Not willing to change the latter two yet but I think the ceiling for Mulan, if it never releases in China is around $600 million.