- Aside from Disney dominance, this year’s box office has struggled to keep up with the record-breaking 2018.
- Next year’s box office is expected to be more evenly distributed among studios, as Disney has no “Avengers” or “Star Wars” movies on its schedule.
- But 2021 could be another record-breaking year, with anticipated entries in mega popular franchises hitting theatres.
- A showdown between Marvel and DC will be at its centre, but new movies in the “Avatar,” “Fast and Furious,” and “Jurassic World” franchises are also on the year’s slate.
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Disney is almost single-handedly keeping the box office afloat this year with over 40% of the domestic market share.
But after a record-breaking 2018 at both the domestic and global box offices, 2019 has struggled to keep up, even with Disney’s dominance.
Next year’s box office looks like it will be more evenly distributed across movie studios, as Disney has no “Avengers,” “Star Wars,” or Pixar sequel on the release schedule. It could also be the “calm before the storm,” as popular franchises will release new installments in 2021, with Marvel and DC facing off like never before.
Four Marvel Cinematic Universe movies will be released to theatres for the first time in 2021. With the announcement this week that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s “Black Adam” is set for a December 2021 release, Warner Bros. has three DC movies set. All of them have the chance to be successful. The MCU is at the top of its game and DC movies have rebounded after “Justice League” disappointed in 2017.
Beyond Marvel and DC, though, new entries in the “Avatar,” “Fast and Furious,” and “Jurassic World” franchises are slated for 2021, as well.
Below are 13 movies that could lift the 2021 box office to a record-breaking year after a calm 2020:
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” — February 12, 2021
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” will star the MCU’s first Asian superhero to lead a solo film, played by Simu Liu. The character is unknown to non-comic readers, but that hasn’t stopped Marvel from delivering success stories with the likes of “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Doctor Strange.” And the milestone in diversity in the franchise could give the movie added attention.
“Fast and Furious 10” — April 2, 2021
The ninth “Fast and Furious” movie hits theatres next year and audiences won’t have to wait long before its follow-up. The “Fast” franchise has grown into a worldwide sensation, with “Furious 7” and “The Fate of the Furious” both making over $US1 billion worldwide. This year’s spinoff, “Hobbs and Shaw,” didn’t rise to those heights, but still earned a respectable $US760 million globally. There’s reason to think that this series still has gas in it.
“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” — May 7, 2021
The first “Doctor Strange” wasn’t one of Marvel’s biggest movies, but it didn’t need to be. It introduced a relatively unknown character who has only grown in popularity since thanks to his appearances in “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.” His solo debut still made $$US678 million worldwide and there’s no reason to think that a sequel wouldn’t further capitalise on the popularity of the MCU.
“John Wick: Chapter 4” — May 21, 2021
The “John Wick” series has grown from a low-budget action movie in 2014 to a hit franchise going on to its fourth entry (with a TV spin-off in development at Starz, as well). And each movie has earned nearly double at the box office what its predecessor did, which is extremely rare in Hollywood. This year’s “Chapter 3 – Parabellum” grossed $US327 million worldwide off of a $US75 million production budget and the series shows no signs of slowing down.
“Jurassic World 3” — June 11, 2021
2015’s “Jurassic World” and its 2018 sequel, “Fallen Kingdom,” earned $US3 billion globally combined. The third entry is expected to close out its trilogy in a big way and the three stars of the original “Jurassic Park” – Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum – are all returning alongside “Jurassic World” stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard.
“The Batman” — June 25, 2021
“The Batman” will be the second take on Batman in five years (Ben Affleck first debuted as the character in 2016’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”), but if the movie is good enough, audiences might not care. And Batman is one of the most bankable superheroes of all time, no matter who is donning the cape and cowl. With an intriguing cast that includes Robert Pattinson in the title role and Colin Farrell as the Penguin, and an acclaimed filmmaker in Matt Reeves (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”) behind the camera, “The Batman” is shaping up to be a hit.
“Indiana Jones 5” — July 9, 2021
It will be 13 years between “Indiana Jones 5” and the last entry in the series, 2008’s “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” Ford will be just shy of 80 years old when the movie is released, meaning it will likely be heavily pushed as his last hurrah in the iconic role. Will it work? “Kingdom of the Cyrstal Skull” overcame bad reviews to earn $US787 million worldwide.
Third MCU “Spider-Man” movie — July 16, 2021
Sony, which owns the film rights to Spider-Man and retains distribution rights, and Disney struck a new deal in September after a brief tussle over the character’s future film appearances. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man will star in one more solo movie and appear in one other MCU movie. This year’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home” was the first Spider-Man movie to reach $US1 billion at the global box office and with the major cliffhanger it ended on, its sequel should be a huge hit, as well.
“Mission: Impossible 7” — July 23, 2021
The “Mission: Impossible” franchise has never been a juggernaut at the box office, but last year’s sixth entry, “Fallout,” was the series’ highest grossing yet with $US791 million worldwide. It was also hailed as one of the best movies of 2018 by critics, with a 97% Rotten Tomatoes critic score. With star Tom Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie returning, the seventh instalment could keep up the momentum.
“The Suicide Squad” — August 6, 2021
“The Suicide Squad” is a semi-sequel to 2016’s “Suicide Squad,” which earned $US747 million worldwide despite terrible reviews. The movie made headlines last year when Warner Bros. hired James Gunn to write and direct following his firing from Disney/Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy 3.”Disney eventually rehired him, but he’ll release “The Suicide Squad” first with an ensemble that includes returning favourite Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and new faces like Idris Elba and John Cena.
“Thor: Love and Thunder” — November 5, 2021
2017’s “Thor: Ragnarok” breathed new life into Chris Hemsworth’s Thor with $US854 million worldwide and a 93% Rotten Tomatoes critic score. Since then, Thor has only grown in popularity thanks to standout roles in “Infinity War” and “Endgame.” He’s the first character to get a fourth solo movie in the MCU, so Marvel Studios is confident in not only Hemsworth’s ability to carry the movie, but also in “Ragnarok” director Taika Waititi to capture similar magic.
“Avatar 2” — December 17, 2021
James Cameron’s 2009 sci-fi adventure “Avatar” was the highest-grossing movie of all time for a decade, until it was dethroned this year by “Endgame.” It remains to be seen whether audiences will turn out again for the movie’s long-delayed sequel, but Cameron has proven he should never be underestimated.
“Black Adam” — December 22, 2021
Black Adam is a DC Comics villain (and sometimes anti-hero) who is a frequent nemesis of Shazam, who starred in a solo movie earlier this year. It’s Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s first superhero movie, which should give it a boost to make up for the character’s lack of popularity with general audiences. Johnson is the highest-paid actor in the world for a reason and he regularly carries would-be duds to international success (see “Rampage” and “Skyscraper”). The studios Warner Bros. and New Line are probably hoping that his star power, combined with the DC brand, will make the movie a box-office winner. It will have to be, as it opens just five days after “Avatar 2.”
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