2014 wasn't the kindest year for movies. While there were some massive comic book successes like Guardians of the Galaxy and X-Men: Days of Future Past, many films underperformed as annual ticket sales in general fell for the second year in a row.
Not to worry, Hollywood: 2015 is shaping up to be one of the biggest years the movie industry has seen in a very long time. Blockbuster after blockbuster will pillage the wallets of moviegoers as anticipated sequels, the return of beloved franchises and original, creative ideas flood the theaters.
With all that said, let’s get to the list of films predicted to rake in a lot of money at the box office. It is, of course, impossible to truly predict the quality of a film and the consequent critical response during advance screenings - which will surely affect the total earnings. However, factors such as release date, reputation, buzz around the title and previous box office earnings in a franchise are taken into consideration to make some reliable predictions about which movies will be 2015's 15 biggest hits.
15 Fifty Shades of Grey
The movie every guy will be dragged to on Valentine's day this year kicks off our list. The Fifty Shades of Grey novel was a massive financial success, with over 60 million copies sold worldwide. It was only a matter of time before “mommy p*rn” would make its way to the silver screen. Just like the novel, the studio can expect the film to crank out serious dough as we witness Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele heat up the screen.
A huge opening weekend is expected as the film cleverly opens on the most romantic day of the year. Its R rating could cut into its overall success, however. Further, issues including backstage clashes between the film's director and the book's writer as well as the leading man and woman have been rumoured which could negatively impact on the overall product.
14 Terminator: Genisys
A packed summer season will be a barrier to the overall success of this next installment of the Terminator franchise, but not enough to prevent it from topping the $400 million mark. Terminator: Salvation didn’t leave the best taste in fans' mouths, but the return of Arnie to the film series will surely generate buzz and people will fork over their money, especially if the film garners positive reviews.
Genisys will serve as a reset to the time-travelling madness, setting itself up as a prequel, sequel and a remake. Terminator 2: Judgement Day was the most successful entry in the franchise, both critically and financially, topping $500 million. While those numbers aren't impossible, something closer to Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines’ $430 million mark is predicted.
Marvel is hoping Ant-Man can follow in Guardians of the Galaxy’s footsteps, bringing forth a lesser known hero to the silver screen with resounding success. With that said, it’s fairly safe to assume that the film won’t come near in matching Guardians’ $770+ million haul. Marvel won’t catch lightning in a bottle twice, especially with a busy summer slate.
Although this is set to disappoint compared to everything Marvel has churned out in the past, the hero who shrinks and grows will still do well enough to pass the $400 million in revenue thanks to the superhero studio's a marketing machine and a name moviegoers can trust.
12 Ted 2
The 2012 hit comedy by Seth MacFarlane gets its much anticipated sequel in 2015. Aptly titled Ted 2, the loveably crude talking teddy bear returns for some thunder buddy action with Mark Wahlberg. With the first movie grossing close to $550 million, it's reasonable to expect that the sequel, with the same star cast on board, will match those numbers.
Its release date falls during the busy summer schedule, which could hinder a movie’s success. However, being one of the few big comedies coming up in 2015, in addition to the guaranteed droves of Family Guy and American Dad fans, Ted 2 shouldn’t have a problem reaching $500 million, creating another hit for MacFarlane.
11 The Good Dinosaur
Coming to theaters at a less-than opportune time, a week after the last Hunger Games movie, Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur is one of the studio’s two films this year that’s set to make a decent amount of money despite its competition.
Although behind the scenes problems such as delays and staff changes may have caused some excitement for the film to fizzle out, one thing the film industry can always bank on is kids and their love for dinosaurs. The next installment of the Jurassic Park franchise will also help The Good Dinosaur in terms of sparking some dino mania.
10 Mission: Impossible 5
Opening on Christmas Day, Mission: Impossible 5 stars everyone’s favorite Scientologist, Tom Cruise, as he gets to kick butt and perform some crazy stunts – strapped to a plane – in the role of badass Ethan Hunt. While the interim entries to this franchise were hit or miss, it’s impossible to deny just how great the recent Ghost Protocol really was, and it showed in its box office payout with $694 million.
If it wasn’t for a certain new entry in a popular space opera film franchise being released a week prior to this film, it would be reasonable to expect this Mission: Impossible film to match its predecessor. The truth is, the new Star Wars film will cut into the sales of MI5 significantly. It wouldn’t be a surprise, in fact, if this one is pushed back to 2016 to avoid being on the losing side of that particular competition.
A big budget, special effects-filled adventure made by Disney, starring George Clooney and directed by Brad Bird? A sure fire hit. This has dollar signs written all over it with its splendid cast, awesome behind the scenes crew and of course the massive marketing power of Disney.
An original film without any other source material besides the Disney World attraction, Tomorrowland’s unfamiliarity might drive away some, but all early signs suggest it will be a quality film that will make some big bucks thanks to some seriously positive buzz. Furthermore, it’s Disney: the company will ensure that this film finds success – it has a pretty good track record.
8 Inside Out
Another sure-fire hit for Pixar will be on the books once Inside Out is released on June 19th. A creative, original concept involving a little girl’s anthropomorphised emotions, the trailers have fans buzzing with excitement. Both this film and The Good Dinosaur will bring monumental success for Pixar, but this one is set to come out on top.
Expect some huge box office totals when parents bring their kids to see what will most likely be an emotional, heartwarming and comical take on a little girl’s psyche when she has to adjust to a new city – and a new step in her life.
7 Furious 7
This action series has always earned a good amount of money, but the 2011 Fast Five gave the series a second breath as The Rock joined the cast and started taking names. Fast & Furious 6 built on that success, and there’s no reason Furious 7 shouldn’t follow suit. With sexy rides and jaw-dropping stunts, this film will have a massive audience of young and old alike.
Another factor to consider for its inevitable success is the sad, untimely death of series mainstay and beloved actor Paul Walker. His sudden death will surely make fans of the series flock to the movies to watch him in his last hurrah.
These little yellow weirdoes can sure bring in the money. Minions is a spinoff of the Despicable Me franchise, which has become a Hollywood goldmine. Parents will take their kids to this movie, and if the track record continues, they'll enjoy it just as much as the young audience.
While big things are coming, it will certainly be hard to top Despicable Me 2’s $970 million total. It remains to be seen if these Minions can actually carry a movie on their own; after all, they don't really speak - they babble. That gimmick could wear thin fast if it’s not handled properly.
5 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
Having taken up the mantle of other successful novels adapted to film such as Harry Potter and the Twilight saga, the young adult series starring Jennifer Lawrence comes to an end in 2015 with the second part of its finale. Although numbers and critical acclaim slightly declined with the third film entry, the series as a whole has never made any less than $690 million, with Catching Fire, the biggest entry to date, making $864 million.
Expect Mockingjay – Part 2 to finish at around the $900 million mark, not quite reaching that billion the Harry Potter finale did. One thing’s for sure, people will rush to see the end of Katniss Everdeen’s revolution against the Capitol that began on screen just a few years ago.
With the last Bond entry, Skyfall, cracking the billion dollar mark, it’s hard to say for sure whether or not the 24th film in the series can match that effort, especially with hot competition from other smash hit franchises this year - but you can be certain it’ll come close.
The premise of a good looking spy with some gorgeous Bond girls looking to save the world will make for an exciting time at the movies for people of all ages.
James Bond films have always generated big box office sales, but it wasn't until Skyfall that the world saw just the kind of a money-making behemoth it could be. Sure, it helped that critics and fans called it one of the best Bond movies ever, but with Sam Mendes returning to direct a fantastic cast led by Daniel Craig and Christoph Waltz, it’s safe to assume this one will generate 9 figures.
3 Jurassic World
After a 14 year absence, the Jurassic Park series returns with Jurassic World, bringing dinosaurs back to the silver screen. With an entirely new audience of youngsters as well as old fans that have been clamouring for a new entry to the beloved series, we expect this to be a mega hit, earning well over $1 billion.
Less of a sequel and more of a nostalgic reboot, Jurassic World will benefit from having the hottest commodity in Hollywood right now, star Chris Pratt. No one has more buzz than him, and that should carry over to the film. Jurassic World feels like a cinematic event, a must-see film in theaters to witness the dinosaurs in all their glory.
2 Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
When that logo and opening crawl fill the screen and John Williams’ epic score hits your ears, you know Disney will be laughing to the bank with its 9 figure cheque. The much anticipated Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens will draw millions of viewers, from the hardcore nerds to the casual moviegoers. With the less-than-stellar Phantom Menace earning close to $1 billion in 1999, this film will shatter records as young and old come to watch the next installment of this space opera.
Although a huge chunk of its earnings will come in 2016 because of its December 18th release date, it will arguably be the biggest film of the year, closing out 2015 with a bang. Disney has too much invested for this to not be a financial and critical success: the company will ensure the product matches the overwhelming hype.
1 Avengers: Age of Ultron
While The Force Awakens will certainly give it a run for its money, no recent film universe has been as successful as Marvel’s, and The Avengers pits its best and brightest on the same team against otherworldly villains. We guarantee that Avengers: Age of Ultron will be a box office slam dunk and is certain to smash the billion dollar mark. It will more than likely surpass its predecessor, reaching close to $2 billion.
The film’s financial success will be multiplied by all the individual superheroes and their fan base, creating a collective effort that will thwart all other films and shatter records in the process. Iron Man, Captain America and Thor along with the Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye will lead the way in the box office in 2015.