Donald W. Reynolds National Center For Business Journalism

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Predicting the biggest summer blockbusters

April 21, 2015

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(Via Marvel Entertainment)

If you were a betting person (or a studio head) trying to figure out what would be the biggest movie blockbuster of summer 2015, the smart money would be on either The Avengers: Age of Ultron or Jurassic World.

It makes complete sense as Avengers movies (and their off shoots, Iron Man, Thor, etc …) have all been burning up the box office for the last few years. The Avengers 2010 release raked in more than $623 million domestically and more than $1.5 billion worldwide, and is No. 3 on the top grossing movies of all time.

Jurassic World, starring Chris Pratt, frontman of last summer’s blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy, might give the Avengers’ second installment a run for its money. Jurassic Park‘s original gross may not compete with that of The Avengers, but it made more than a billion dollars worldwide … in 1993.

When you consider inflation and how much ticket prices have risen since the early 1990s, these two could have a pretty close showdown.

But there are a lot of other movies that could pull in the most money, and one of the biggest spoilers could be Minions. A spinoff from the Despicable Me movies, which each grossed hundreds of millions of dollars in the U.S., Minions should get plenty of kids excited.

And while it isn’t part of an existing franchise like Toy Story or Finding Nemo, Pixar’s Inside Out has some potential to bring in some really young audiences. Never underestimate the power of a movie that kids want to see repeatedly.

Then there are other big budget action movies that have the potential to pull in big money.

Ant-Man (starring Paul Rudd) could be this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Fantastic Four’s reboot looks promising after the original movies in 2005 and 2007 flopped. Terminator: Genisys is bringing back Arnold Schwarzenegger to one of his most famous roles, though that franchise has had diminishing returns since it’s Terminator 2 peak ($204 million worldwide), with the third grossing $150 million worldwide and Salvation pulling in $125 million. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is another Tom Cruise installment in that franchise (Ghost Protocol brought in $209 million globally), San Andreas has Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson facing off against earthquakes, and Mad Max: Fury Road puts Tom Hardy in Mel Gibson’s old drivers seat.

And we’d keep an eye on comedies like Hot Pursuit (with Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara), Trainwreck (from Judd Apatow), Spy (with Melissa McCarthy), Entourage (based on the HBO series), Pixels (with Adam Sandler and Kevin James) and Vacation (the new version of the Griswold’s). They’ve all got power players who have proven their money-making talents over the years.

Some lesser-known sequels hitting theaters this season could also sneak into one of the top spots (though maybe not the top spot). Mark Wahlberg and his foul-mouthed bear are back for Ted 2, and the original earned more than $200 million. Pitch Perfect only made $65 million worldwide, but it was a bit of a sleeper hit, and expectations are now much higher for its second installment.

Lastly, there’s Magic Mike XXL. This one has a built in audience (it made $113 million in 2012) so it should do at least as well this time, it’s just hard to know if there will be a larger audience wanting a peek at Channing Tatum’s abs.

STORY IDEAS

Summer Movie Preview

Can Anyone Compete With Age of Ultron?

The All-Time Top-Grossing Movies Worldwide 

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