The ten films most likely to lead the 2015 box office

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As much as I clearly obsess myself with trying to accurately predict the Oscars, I also have a slight fascination with attempting to figure out which film will wind up as the most successful at the box office, even if the actual numbers are incredibly difficult to pinpoint. Sadly, most of the time the movies in contention for that crown are iffy at best in terms of quality, but his year might very well be different. 2015 offers up a number of potentially very strong flicks that will vie to be number one at the box office, including a couple that might actually contend for the all time crown. That’s pretty rare (though with the numbers we see year in and year out, it’s slowly getting less and less rare), making the next nine months or so possibly very interesting…

As a quick refresher, this was what the top ten box office hauls of 2014 were, including what some of these made after the calendar changed over:

1. American Sniper ($341,380,905) *and counting
2. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 ($337,103,873) *and counting
3. Guardians of the Galaxy ($333,176,600)
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($259,766,572)
5. The LEGO Movie ($257,760,692)
6. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies ($254,916,285) *and counting
7. Transformers: Age of Extinction ($245,439,076)
8. Maleficent ($241,410,378)
9. X-Men: Days of Future Past ($233,921,534)
10. Big Hero 6 ($221,690,346) *and counting

Here now are the ten most likely films to run away with the 2015 box office crown:

10. The Good Dinosaur – The first of two Pixar releases on this list (as well as the first of two to involve dinosaurs), you know that an animated feature is going to rake it in during 2015…the question is just, which one? This has been a slightly troubled production, so that might be an issue, but if it’s not, watch out. Marketing wise, this is a dream for Disney/Pixar.

9. Trainwreck – I spoke about this comedy yesterday, but there’s a chance that this could be even bigger than Bridesmaids. Consider this Judd Apatow flick a dark horse. I think it’s possibly the least likely, but it’s still one very much worth keeping at least one eye on. A comedy always seems to break out, so why not this one, particularly if it’s the critical favorite it’s shaping up to be?

8. Terminator: Genysis – Arnold Schwarzenegger is back as the Terminator in a franchise sequel/prequel/reboot that could bring in a whole new generation of fans. It has a high risk of straight up flopping, but if the quality is there, I wouldn’t be shocked at all if it was a huge success. We shall see, I guess.

7. Furious 7 – This franchise is a safe bet each year to rake in the dough, but this one could be even bigger than usual since it functions as a farewell to the late Paul Walker as well. Flying cars (not really, but…kind of) seem to sell, so I wouldn’t be shocked if this surprised and really broke records for the series. We’ll have to stay tuned for what happens, but it’s a distinct possibility.

6. Inside Out – The other Pixar offering for 2015 is a truly high concept outing, looking at the emotions and mind of a teenage girl. It’s hard to get a good read on this one, but it probably has the best chance of appealing to adults as well as children. That’s always a plus. This is another X factor, essentially.

5. Spectre – James Bond returns with much of the cast and crew that made Skyfall an incredibly big blockbuster a few years ago. Considering how much this installment could call back to 007’s early days, especially involving the villain, I wonder if this is likely to make more than the last one by a substantial margin? We’ll know in about six months…

4. Jurassic World – Here’s the other dino centric release this year, the next picture in the Jurassic Park franchise. I have to imagine that there will be massive numbers for this one, but the other titles still to come on this list will likely keep it from outright dominating. If it’s especially good though, watch out for it to almost be this year’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

3. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 – This franchise wraps up with what could be its most profitable installment yet. Every other movie in this series has made boatloads of money, so expect more here, with perhaps an added kick for it being the finale. At the very least, it should do better than Part 1 did last year, which is saying something for sure.

2. Avengers: Age of Ultron – If it weren’t for this number one pick on this list, I’d feel very confident in saying this superhero sequel would run away with the box office crown. Marvel is seeing their cinematic universe just make more and more money, so if Captain America: The Winter Soldier is any indication (not to mention The Avengers a few years back, which is just one of the top three highest grossing films of all time), count on this to make gargantuan sums of money. If it does better than The Avengers, it could even challenge Avatar for the all time crown. The next title to come might have something to say about that, but stay tuned…

1. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens – The most hotly anticipated film of this year, as well as perhaps in the last few decades, begins a new Star Wars trilogy. At one point, Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope had the crown, so if there’s an odds on favorite not just to take the 2015 title but the all time one as well, it’s this one. Even if it’s terrible, just look to the prequels…they made some serious bank. Now, if it’s good or even great, oh man, this will be a massive moneymaker. Disney is going to have a very strong 2015, regardless, but this could put it towards unheard of levels. We’ll see what happens, but we might very well be in for a record breaker.

Honorable Mention: Ant-Man, Alvin and the Chipmunks 4, Fantastic Four 2, London Has Fallen, and The Martian

Stay tuned to see which film wins the box office title this year when all is said and done!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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