Predicting Box Office Success of Ongoing, Returning, Budding Movie Franchises For Year 2016 – PART 1.

Note: The article was based solely on my own speculations and guess work, so it may or may not turn out to be accurate or true, in future. Have fun and patience reading this.

Hollywood love Franchise. So do we. As it was made clear last year 2015, Hollywood saw many franchise return to the silver screen, even after lying dormant for years (in few cases a decade or two), yet attracted audiences and fans to the theatres, in masses. While the rest of the established/budding franchise also pitched new entries, as their follow-up to the yesteryear entries. (Note, if you are here, only to learn/know about my speculations alone you can skip the following paragraph, which is all about franchise film making in general.)

Now, there are notably three kinds of movie franchise. One, as they normally (1) pick up or (2) go back to some point, from where the last movie closed out. Here we are talking about SEQUELS/PREQUELS. Two, neither (3) have any connections to the ongoing story  nor (4) have any impact on direction of its own story, from the events occurred in main plot, so we have SPIN-OFFS. Finally we have a franchise, which can take any/all the above said directions (1-4), yet may (5) even bring a new/an existing character(s) to an ongoing plot and/or (6) can crossover with other storylines, thus impacting many/few parallel plots drawn throughout the franchise, over the past as well moving into  future. Nowadays, the most popular of them all. We call them, CINEMATIC UNIVERSES. (Kudos! If you are still reading this and everything still made some sense.)

In terms of box office success, Hollywood was dominated by franchise-based movies in particular, save few standout originals such as Frozen, Avatar (sadly not for long), Inception, Inside Out, 2012, Gravity, Interstellar, Sixth Sense, Forest Gump, E.T to name a few. Marvel Cinematic Universe now placed as both domestic and worldwide champ had grossed more than $9b in total to date, with the twin release of Avengers: AOU ($1.4b) and Ant-Man ($519m) last year. James Bond, with Spectre ($877m and counting), had further established itself as one the best ongoing Action Franchise, putting Bond back at Top 3. Fast and Furious came out of nowhere and landed into Top 10. Jurassic‘s dinos blasted it’s way out of the park and now sitting just outside of Top 10 (now at No. 11). As we had new opening king* with Jurassic World ($1.67b), later in the year we also had a new champion with Star Wars: TFA ($1.99b and counting) bringing Star Wars back to Top 5. Suffice to say, overall 2015 was a great year for Movie Franchises at box office.

Before going into my predictions, lets take a look at the box office history of some popular franchises. When ranking the franchises based on non-adjusted US and Worldwide grosses, which were listed below as it stands on Feb. 06, 2016. (#Global Rank, Franchise, No. of movies, Worldwide Gross, US gross & its respective rank in braces).

  • #01, Marvel Cinematic Universe, 12, $9.08b, $3.59b (#01).
  • #02, Harry  Potter, 8, $7.73b, $2.39b (#03).
  • #03, James Bond, 26, $7.04b, $2.10b (#04).
  • #04, Star wars, 8, $6.47b, $3.15b (#02).
  • #05, Middle Earth, 6**, $5.88b, $1.85b (#06).
  • #06, Spider-Man, 5, $3.96b$1.58b (#07).
  • #07, Fast and Furious, 7, $3.89b, $1.29b (#14).
  • #08, Batman, 10, $3.80b, $1.93b (#05). [incl. Catwoman]
  • #09, Transformers, 5, $3.78b, $1.32b (#12).
  • #10, Pirates of the Caribbean, 4, $$3.73b, $1.27b (#15).

**Franchise wrapped up; *Opening record later beaten by Star Wars: TFA.

Also to be noted: #11, Jurassic Park,  4, $3.69b, $1.46b (#08). #14, X-Men, 7, $3.05b, $1.30b 3. #17, Ice Age, 4, $2.81b, $729m#20, Iron Man, 3, $2.42b, $1.04b. If you really don’t care, yet I do, Superman at #30; Kung Fu Panda #32, Bourne #42, Captain America at #46Alice #49 were few notables among Top 50. So many others left unmentioned, since I’m not considering them for this year’s predictions. Say, Thor which is now at #47. Alright. No more history, numbers and rankings from now on, moving on to my predictions. (Hoping everybody still with me!)

Here are my predictions for franchise’s sequels/prequels, potential franchise starters, cinematic canon entries and few spinoffs releasing through May 2016, in terms of box office grosses. We have in total of 10 movies to see here. (I also avoided another 7 such franchise entries in doing so.) We will see the new rankings, once this 3part post was done and dusted. Here we go!

  1. Kung Fu Panda had seen the return of this popular animated franchise, with DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 3 (in theaters right now, reviews also good). So it made this one easier for me, to predict the final outcome as we already have on-par opening in US and stellar opening in China which means it can easily cross $600m global, with $150m in US and $450m Overseas. If it over-performs in china, it had a clear shot at grossing over $700m. It now stands at $130m+, will cross $175m global after this weekend. So my final guess for this one was $680m global, with $140m in US and $540m overseas.

  2. Pool, Dead. Yeah! Starring Ryan Reynolds in title role, Fox/Marvel’s Deadpool was unknown force, yet got heavy box office potential. It’s opening next weekend, February, 12. Coupled with valentine’s day boost, this one going to be big for Fox/Marvel’s X-Men, if not massive. With opening projected to top $60-65m, with 2.3x multiplier (since R-rated) will finish at $150m range in US. With China already banned, we are looking at 60-65% gross coming from rest of the world, so it might pull around $280m overseas. Global total at $430m-$450m range.

  3. Heading into March, we have two such entries. Well one was all about arresting the slide of YA fiction movies. With 5th Wave under-performing, all eyes on Divergent series next installment, Lionsgate/Summit’s Allegiant (starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James) opens March, 18. With $571m in the kitty, this franchise was looking to gain more ground with this new entry expected to gross over $300m. Though I am little sceptical about this one grossing $300m+, rather it will still crack $275m global with US $45m (with opening at $20m range) and overseas $230m combined.

  4. If Deadpool was going to be big. This one was sure going to be huge. Very huge, indeed. WB/DC’s Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, sequel to Man of Steel, boasts an ensemble cast of Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Henry Cavill, Jeremy Irons and  Jessie Eisenberg to name a few opens on March, 25. No need to be mention, that it will bring Batman & Superman together for the first time ever on silver screen. Though not quite good as expected, yet Man of Steel pulled massive $667m. With everybody’s favourite Batman and all powerful Princess Diana along side, I have no doubt in BVS grossing $1b globally. All signs point to its overwhelming reception, which will open with massive $160m debut, may be even higher. Even with ‘mere’ 2.5x multiplier it will easily top $400m domestic. If movie was good as everybody was expecting, then with 3-3.2x multiplier it will collect $480m-S510m domestically. Overseas was much difficult picture. Even when received poorly overseas, it will easily top $600m. So with all the hype and market place all for itself for at least a month, it is going to top $700m at least. So my guess, with $450m-$480m domestic and over $700m overseas, it will ultimately gross $1.15-1.2b in total. If it does, it means a lot for DCEU moving forward and upwards. (Way to go, Zack!)

  5. Next up was spin-off/sequel/prequel put together in one  arrives on April, 22. Universal’s The Huntsman Winter’s War, a Charlize Theron/Chris Hemsworth/Emily Blunt/Jessica Chastain vehicle, the second entry in Snow White and the Huntsman Franchise. It has little-to-no history behind it, to predict its box office potential, but indeed have huge star-power to propel it.  I am predicting $40-45m opening. With 2.7-2.9x multiplier, it will pull anything in the range of $110m-$130m in US and may do even better overseas with $280m. So we are looking at worldwide total around $400m, not bad. (If it gross any better than that, it will then be attributed to presence of star-studded cast alone, yet it looks like it still need them anyway, to even pull those above said numbers.)

  6. With May, arrives ‘the big’ entry for today’s most dominant Hollywood Franchise, MCU, to kick start their Phase III. Disney/Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Don Cheadle, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Rudd, Paul Bettany, Daniel Bruhl, arrives in theatres on May, 6. It has everything going in its favour. Be it, hype or anticipation or box office success of its predecessor(s) or audiences’ goodwill (earned by CA: The Winter Soldier)  were all behind this one. A few against it. Say, expectation which was sky rocketing. Also many seeing this as Avengers 2.5, but technically Captain America 3, may be disappointed if it turns out any different. Adding fuel to the fire, were much awaited appearances of Spidey and Black Panther along side fellow Avengers (still only attracts established/existing fan base, my guess). It will debut for $170m opening. If the movie was merely ‘good’ but not great, then it will close out domestically with 2.5x multiplier, for US gross of $430m. Overseas, again it all depends on how people see it, as Avengers 2.5/Captain America 3. If it play like Avengers 2.5, then it will pull mighty $750-800m. Otherwise, it will be around $600m, still huge. It was not an excuse if it gross well below BVS or AOU worldwide and/or in US, just because many people merely seen it as CA3. But something tells me (I am rooting for Russos!), it will top $475m in US and $650m in foreign markets, for global total around $1.125b. If it gross $100-200m more, well I won’t be surprised if it does.

  7. A potential franchise starter. Based on one of the most popular video game franchise, Angry Birds, now pitching its own movie franchise with Sony/Columbia’s Angry Birds The Movie arriving on May, 20. Even with one of the biggest video game community behind it, it is yet to be seen whether it can be able to duplicate it massive success at silver screen as well. Also its main target audience were kids, which eventually pull adults audience as well, with parents needs to accompany their kids in first place. Considering all that, we have $40m opener. With good reviews and reception, it can easily get 3x multiple or higher, to finish it run at $120m domestic and it may not double it’s domestic gross overseas, but will collect around $230m. Total gross over $350m against the reported $80m budget, will be good enough for kicking start this new franchise. (Historically, video-game adaptations had tough times at box office over the past, so it may gross well below those said figures.)

  8. Opening on same day-and-date as Angry Birds movie, Universal’s Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (sequel to Neighbors, starring Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Chloe Grace Moretz, Zac Efron) had young-adult audiences in its sight. Though not widely popular as many of those previously discussed franchise entries, it success relies heavily on its comedic strength and in attracting casual moviegoers. With predicted $35-40m opening, it will finish its run with $115m. It may improve marginally overseas, with total of approx. $135m. Total Gross will be in $240m-$250m range.

  9. At close of May, arrives possible ‘overseas might’. Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass (Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter & Anne Hathaway returns for this Alice in Wonderland sequel) opens on May, 27 alongside another big franchise entry. Unlike Neighbors 2-Angry Birds clash, this was all about winning back/retaining the loyalty of established fan base and delivering the quality that matches or exceed original/previous entries. If Alice TTLG delivers a movie just like that, it opens around $85m  and finish over/under $280m in US. Overseas, if plays on same level as the original it will gross $700m but realistically will gross only around  $600m. With china release date not set or may get banned once again, so look for $860m-$880m global total.

  10. Finally, we have another big player arriving on May, 27. This year offers another new entry for this established mutant-based franchise X-Men, with Fox/Marvel’s X-Men: Apocalypse (starring James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Oscar Isaac, Rose Byrne, Olivia Munn to name a few). We will be looking at over $110m opening possibly, if it hadn’t clashed with Alice TTLG, thus resulting in little bit lower opening at $90m. Still good. If it performs similar to DOFP in US, we have $225M domestic total (a decent 2.5x multiplier). Chances are there, as it can perform even better overseas this time around for total over $550m and finish globally with $775m. If pulls anything insane in China, such as figures close to $200m, we will be looking global gross for Apocalypse well over $800m. Scenarios apart, my guess for this one to gross $230m in US, $575m overseas and global total a little over $800m.

I will wrap up my 2016 predictions with two more post, which will be ready in few days. Please do return to check those out as well. This is my first post ever, so any suggestions, ideas are welcome. I do promise, the remaining two post (my second and third ever) will be much, much shorter and have more interesting content. Thank you again for reading.

Sources: Wikipedia, Box Office Mojo.

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