The country and the world embraced Black Panther in a way few expected, but given the high quality of directing, acting, and story – not to mention amazing visual effects – it deserved all the attention it received. Will the Academy see it that way? One can hope that for the many ways it was groundbreaking it would, but the Academy is extremely short-sighted when it comes to action films. Still it was heartening for me to see this film with one of my favorite Marvel characters and a cast starring people of color make it’s way to the top of the domestic box office for the year. Worldwide, Avengers: Infinity War topped the list with a strong overseas showing. This wasn’t a huge surprise considering how popular the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is.
Also not surprising is the strong showing of Incredibles 2. With a strong story, beloved characters, and culturally appropriate issues (moms being the breadwinner / dads helping to raise the kids), this film zoomed to number 4 worldwide and 15th among all films EVER! Ant-Man and the Wasp held its own, coming in stronger than the first film and ninth overall for the year. And Solo despite its problems and troubled history, was still the fifth highest grossing Disney film worldwide, although disappointing among Star Wars films. Despite being shown in nearly four times as many theaters, it was still the second worst live action Star Wars film ever, only beating out The Empire Strikes Back which was only in 1,278 theaters compared to Solo‘s 4,381. (Stats thanks to Box Office Mojo). Mary Poppins Returns having only just come out, it’s hard to know where it will land. It very well could upset Solo and push it down from number five or even top Ant-Man and the Wasp, but with no information, it’s hard to know.
Here is how the year stacked up to my predictions with my guesses on the left.
- Avengers: Infinity War (1)
- Incredibles 2 / Black Panther (2)
- Solo: A Star Wars Story / Incredibles 2 (4)
- Black Panther / Ant-Man and the Wasp (9)
- Ant-Man and the Wasp / Solo: A Star Wars Story (18)
What will 2019 look like? Unless there is a particularly large showing for Artemis Fowl (not likely although I do want to see it), the top 5 will probably be easy to predict. The hard part will be where they land in the mix. Dumbo isn’t likely to crack the top 5 despite the nostalgia for Disney films. Considering that Tim Burton’s weird and dark takes on almost everything he does seems contradictory to a family film like Dumbo and there are not one, but TWO other live-action remakes coming out of the Disney stable it seems like a long shot – especially with star talent like Will Smith (Aladdin) and Beyonce (The Lion King) heading the mix. And with TWO powerful MCU films coming out including the first to headline a female lead (Captain Marvel) and the culmination of the Avengers films (Avengers: Endgame) it’s hard to see where Dumbo will land (pun intended).
Here’s my 2019 predictions:
- Avengers: Endgame – Really a no-brainer. Considering the cliffhanger Infinity War left us all on and how strong EVERY Avengers film has been at the box office, this is as close to a shoe-in as it can get. Possibly, number 1 of all time? Will almost definitely crack the top 3 which means that the MCU will top the Star Wars franchise.
- The Lion King – Beyonce. That’s pretty much it. Plus, Jon Favreau seems to have the magic touch. Plus, the trailers for this film are simply gorgeous. Plus, the music. Plus, the beloved story. Plus, animal CG is all the rage. Still it will have to do better than Jon’s live action Jungle Book which did fantastic but is 40th overall.
- Toy Story 4 – It’s hard to find a film franchise that keeps increasing in revenue the further on it goes. It seems Toy Story 4 was almost destined to happen despite how well they wrapped up the 3rd installment. Still, if this film comes close to the last one (which came in at over $1 BILLION and is the fourth highest grossing animated film of all time), it should do pretty well.
- Aladdin – Will Smith. As the Genie. Wow. I am REALLY interested to see how they pull this off. Could it be as strong a showing as Beauty and the Beast? Or might it flop like Pete’s Dragon (not likely)? I’d say odds are strong this will be a blockbuster although it will compete on Memorial Day weekend. That says a lot about Disney’s confidence in the film, but also it will face stiff competition that the other films in the Disney pen won’t have to face.
- Captain Marvel – This film has a built-in audience with MCU fans and those who are drooling to see what happens before Avengers: Endgame. Another origin story, this one takes place in the past to set up her appearance in Endgame which means she likely is one of the survivors. Also, the first female lead in a MCU film. This one looks VERY good. Could it be the Black Panther of 2019? Not likely, but then who would have guessed Black Panther?
What are your predictions for the coming year? Share it with us here on Disney Nerds!