Aside from Glass, the 2019 box office has barely cleared its throat. There are roughly 30 upcoming films that could be classified as blockbusters, and we may be heading toward the greatest summer movie season in history. Expect records to be smashed, money to be made, and fancy yacht parties to be thrown.
But which of these tentpoles will really pop? Here, our predictions for what will become this year’s highest-grossing pictures, broken down by studio.
Avengers: Endgame (April 26)
Disney has six films that could earn up to $1 billion this year. That’s right, six. The Hollywood record for the most $1 billion movies in a single year from all studios combined is five. While the Mouse House has multiple worthy contenders for this slot, polls, social media buzz measurement and industry chatter have tapped Endgame as the most anticipated release of the next 12 months. It would be a genuine surprise if the concluding Marvel chapter didn’t cap 2019 as Hollywood’s highest grosser. Expect it to rack up at least $2 billion.
POKÉMON Detective Pikachu (May 10)
With more than $90 billion in total revenue, Pokémon is the highest-grossing media franchise in the world. It is a beloved property that spans multiple mediums and several generations. And now Warner Bros. is bringing that historic property to life with a photo-realistic, live-action adventure that will basically serve as the ultimate wish fulfillment for kids and young parents alike. It looks positively amazing.
WB seems to have a ton of confidence in the movie, already having lined up a writer to pen the script for a sequel. Don’t be surprised if this one brings in $1 billion, folks.
Runners-Up: Shazam!, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, It: Chapter 2
20th Century Fox
Dark Phoenix (June 7)
By March, Fox should officially belong to Disney, so this is something of a moot point. Although we’ve pegged Dark Phoenix as a potential flop, it’s hard to say which of Fox’s other films boast the same worldwide brand recognition. Alita: Battle Angel could be an expensive misfire, The New Mutants may be re-routed to streaming, Ad Astra hasn’t even released a trailer yet and Ford v Ferrari could be great but likely won’t become a blockbuster.
Even if Dark Phoenix underwhelms—whispers from test screenings have been less than ideal—it should earn somewhere in the realm of 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, which pulled in $544 million worldwide.
Runner-Up: Ad Astra
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (August 2)
The Fast and the Furious franchise has grossed a staggering $5.1 billion worldwide over eight films; the last two entries in the series have each earned more than $1 billion overseas alone. Now Universal is giving box office king Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson his own spin-off with added value in the form of Jason Statham and Idris Elba.
While Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw may not speed to the jaw-dropping finish of its predecessors, we still expect it to be a force, both domestically and abroad. As an August release, the movie could post some impressive legs as one of the last biggies of summer, similar to what happened with 2016’s Suicide Squad and last year’s Crazy Rich Asians. It could feasibly rake in total earnings of around $800 million.
Runner-Up: The Secret Life of Pets 2
Untitled Terminator Reboot (November 1)
We really should have taken Arnold Schwarzenegger’s immortal words more seriously when his Terminator promised to be back. Thirty-five years after the original first hit theaters, the Terminator franchise is somehow still going, though not without a few system malfunctions. The three most recent entries all delivered waning box office grosses and critical praise.
But as Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor told us, there’s no fate but what we make. Paramount has brought the old gang back together, with Schwarzenegger and Hamilton returning for a story developed and produced by franchise mastermind James Cameron and directed by Deadpool filmmaker Tim Miller. They will be joined by newcomers Mackenzie Davis and Natalia Reyes in a direct sequel to 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day that ignores all the subpar installments that came after it. Don’t underestimate the power of a classic franchise with original mainstays back in control. Total earnings of $550 million–plus aren’t out of the question for this one.
Runner-Up: Gemini Man
Untitled Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Sequel (December 13)
We understand if you think this spot belongs to Spider-Man: Far From Home. But with The Lion King arriving two weeks after that film’s release, the Spidey sequel could be looking at a slightly smaller gross due to the packed schedule. For that reason, we’ll double down on the Star Wars counter-programming, as Sony will once again run a reimagined Jumanji flick against the Jedi.
The last film of the franchise legged it to a shocking $962 million worldwide, setting a studio record of $404.5 million domestic. The popular action comedy was propelled by the lovable dynamic between Johnson (who could wind up having multiple hits in 2019), Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black, all of whom will be returning. Repeating those dollar amounts would be a tall order, but $850 million–plus worldwide seems possible for pretty much any movie starring The Rock.
Runner-Up: Spider-Man: Far From Home