Box Office Predictions – Biggest Opening Weekends of 2019

And we’re back. As you may have noticed, Box Office Predictions has been on a hiatus since July 2018, but the article series is making its grand return in 2019 today. The first predictions of 2019 are all about the biggest opening weekends at the North American box office. Will Star Wars: Episode IX suffer due to the widely-reported fan divide that defined the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi? I will do my best to answer this and many other questions right now as I list my predictions for this year’s biggest opening weekends.

  1. Avengers: Endgame – April 2019 – Disney / Marvel – $247m
    – I know what you’re saying: “But, Jeffrey, the last film had a bigger opening weekend than what you’re predicting for the sequel.” I know, and you’re right. I’m just hesitant to predict quite as big an opening here. There are a couple of things that has me worried about its chances to top Infinity War‘s opening. First, the directors have, somewhat cryptically, said that ‘the two-hour movie is dead,’ thus suggesting that this might be closer to the 3-hour mark than Infinity War was, which could be a problem. But also, you have to remember that, at least as of right now, Game of Thrones is scheduled to air during the opening weekend of Endgame, which could hurt its Sunday actuals.
  2. Star Wars: Episode IX – December 2019 – Disney / Lucasfilm – $207m
    – We shouldn’t sugarcoat it. Solo: A Star Wars Story was a big disappointment box office-wise, and that is likely, in part, due to the mixed fan response to The Last Jedi, even though it was critically acclaimed. But while, as you see, I definitely do think it will have an impact on its opening weekend — dropping to $207m after The Last Jedi opened to $220m — I just don’t think even the most upset Star Wars fans will be able to keep themselves out of the theater both Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. You’re all seeing it. The line starts behind me.
  3. Frozen 2 – November 2019 – Disney – $200m
    – That’s right, I’m predicting that Frozen 2 will obliterate the record for the biggest opening weekend for an animated film, which was set just last year by Incredibles 2, which opened to $182m. I’ve seen the original Frozen once, and whenever I think about it I like it less. But if there is one thing I know it is that parents have been driven crazy by their kids who all want to rewatch Frozen. I think this film will be huge.
  4. The Lion King – July 2019 – Disney – $185m
    The Lion King is one of the most beloved animated films for my generation. With the cast that Disney has assembled, which includes Beyonce, I have no doubt that audiences young and old will flock to the theaters to see their beloved film again. Yes, even if it is a shot-for-shot remake. In all fairness, this is just $11m more than Beauty and the Beast opened to, but that should be more than enough to satisfy Disney head honchos.
  5. Spider-Man: Far From Home – July 2019 – Sony / Marvel – $158m
    – Is this written in the stars? Maybe. Maybe not. But I think that Far From Home definitely has a chance to become the Spider-Man film with the highest opening weekend ever. Now, why is that? Well, Into the Spider-Verse probably helped get people more excited about new films about web-slingers, and I suspect that Avengers: Endgame will give Far From Home a boost as well.
  6. IT – Chapter Two – September 2019 – Warner Bros. – $140m
    – It feels like the first film just opened right? It’s not just me, right? Anyway, the first film was a huge hit, and I can only imagine that a lot of people became fans by watching it on some streaming service afterward. I think this could land anywhere between #5-#8, but I feel comfortable with this prediction for now.
  7. Toy Story 4 – June 2019 – Disney / Pixar – $140m
    – Maybe it is just because I have my own doubts about how necessary this sequel is, but I do not think audiences, who, like me, grew up with these films, feel the need to watch another Toy Story-film. I’m still predicting it to land above 2016’s Finding Dory because of brand recognition, familiarity, and the extent to which all three films are beloved, but I would not be surprised to learn that it ended up underperforming.
  8. The Secret Life of Pets 2 – June 2019 – Illumination – $100m
    – Perhaps I am betting on the wrong horse. Perhaps Toy Story won’t be the animation winner of June 2019. After all, the first Secret Life of Pets-film was a huge box office success and it earned an ‘A-‘ CinemaScore. I think this film will suffer from opening too close to, albeit earlier than, Toy Story 4. Time will tell.
  9. Pokemon: Detective Pikachu – May 2019 – Warner Bros. – $95m
    – This is going to be an opening weekend hit, I’m just not sure quite how big of a hit. Even if you don’t know what Pokemon is, you definitely know who Pikachu is. The electric mouse is a favorite amongst audiences young and slightly older at this point. On top of all of this, the trailer was met with mostly positive comments, it was trending, and it was a big hit on YouTube. This could be big. Again, I’m just not quite sure how big, but I thought I’d add it to the list for now.

Additional thoughts:

  • Is Aladdin too big of a ‘name’ to fail? Can this title overcome the lousy reception to the marketing? I’m not quite sure what to make of this one, and I am not feeling any excitement about it whatsoever.
  • Can Captain Marvel open as big as Wonder Woman did? No, I doubt it. Sure, the Marvel name should help. Maybe her reference in Infinity War will give it a boost. This is probably all true. But Wonder Woman isn’t just any female superhero, and Captain Marvel isn’t known for much among non-comic book readers. Keep your expectations low and you’ll probably end up satisfied.
  • What about DC Comics? I’m not sure. Joker could be a hit as the title is simple enough to be remembered by everyone, but I’m not sure the film’s approach will appeal to all audiences. However, I have a great feeling about Shazam!, which looks like a lot of fun. I expect it to open somewhere in between the opening weekend totals of the two Ant-Man films, and that should be a victory.

Do you think Hobbs and Shaw will succeed as a Fast & Furious-series spin-off? Do you think Us will perform better than Get Out? What’s your wild opening weekend prediction for 2019? Sound off in the comments below.

– Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.

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