By this point in 2020, we were supposed to have several box office juggernauts rocking movie theaters worldwide. First there would have been Disney’s latest live-action re-imagining, Mulan. Then there would have been Daniel Craig’s final 007 film, No Time to Die. And rounding everything out, we would have gotten Marvel’s first superhero venture of the year, Black Widow, followed by the tenth installment of the Fast & Furious Franchise, F9.
Of course…none of that happened. The coronavirus pandemic has wiped out movie theaters for an indefinite period of time, leaving us only to speculate on how well each of these movies would have performed at the box office.
But the biggest question that remains: would any of those movies have become the 47th movie to ever achieve $1 billion at the worldwide box office?
In a record year, an astonishing number of nine films managed to crack seven figures in 2019: Aladdin, Toy Story 4, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Joker, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Frozen II, The Lion King, and—the now-highest-grossing film of all time—Avengers: Endgame. Those last three movies rank in the all-time top ten,—an incredible achievement that makes you wonder if 2020 could have ever possibly matched up.
And while all of those 2020 movies I listed before would have unquestionably rocked the international box office, it’s reasonable to wonder if any of them would have eclipsed the $1 billion barrier. And now that the coronavirus has changed the way movie theaters will operate for the foreseeable future, we have to seriously question whether we’ll see a billion-dollar movie for the next several years.
So what movie has the best chance of pulling it off? First, let’s evaluate those five blockbusters that would have kicked off the new decade.
First would have came Mulan—which, in all honesty, might have had the best chance of the litter. Both Aladdin and The Lion King managed to pull off the feat last year. Beauty and the Beast eclipsed $1 billion as well, and The Jungle Book came within a few million dollars. If Mulan’s opening weekend was anywhere within the range of Beauty and the Beast’s—which saw a three-day total of $174.8 million in 2017—then its domestic earnings would have easily topped $300 million (which means the movie would have a decent shot at joining the $100 Million Losers Club).
Past that, it’s Mulan would have without a doubt performed beautifully in overseas markets. The Jungle Book made $602.5 million outside the U.S.; Aladdin amassed $695.1 million; Beauty and the Beast managed $759.5 million; and The Lion King achieved a striking $1.113 billion in international theaters. We likely would have seem a similar result for Mulan.
If Mulan didn’t pull it off, though? I’m not convinced either Black Widow or No Time to Die would have been next in line. While the last three Marvel movies made over $1 billion, that’s largely thanks to the 2018-2019 Avengers movies that all of those projects were building towards. Meanwhile, several other recent standalone Marvel films—including Ant-Man and the Wasp, Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Doctor Strange—failed to even crack $900 million.
And despite being Daniel Craig’s final hurrah as James Bond, I can’t imagine No Time to Die would have enough hype to hit $1 billion. To this day, Skyfall is the only 007 movie to ever push past the $1 billion marker. Spectre churned out an impressive $879.6 million, and both Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace managed to near $600 million—but we’re talking $1 billion here. I’m just not sure Craig’s departure is enough to push the franchise into the seven-figure realm.
Finally, we come to the movie that likely would have pulled off $1 billion no problem: F9. While that might seem strange to assume, the Fast & Furious franchise has truly become one of the most premiere and most underrated (and most profitable) franchises in Hollywood.
While the franchise’s latest installment, Hobbs & Shaw, didn’t perform quite as well at the box office, it wasn’t necessarily expected to since it was a spin-off. Before that, the Fast & Furious franchise had seemingly made the $1-billion-and-above zone its permanent territory, with Fate of the Furious achieving $1.239 billion at the worldwide box office and Furious 7 amassing $1.519 billion (which is currently the ninth-highest result ever, by the way). The Fast & Furious movies have begun to dip a bit in domestic theaters, but their overseas totals alone have remained monstrous. And that would have easily continued with F9.
So what if the coronavirus pandemic prevents all of those movies from making $1 billion? We’ll have to look further down the road for the next billion-dollar juggernaut.
Fortunately, all of top contenders don’t stray too far from this list. Which means the next billion-dollar movie will be something from Marvel, something from Fast & Furious, or something from Disney’s vault. That narrows down our options and gives us a better idea of when the box office will be back to a state of normalcy.
At the very least, we know Avatar 2 will pull it off—whenever we actually see James Cameron’s sequel, that is.
Source: Forbes Business