The 2019 box office is down 5.5 percent year to date compared to 2018’s record-setting $11.9 billion total. November’s ticket sales have sunk a concerning 27 percent from last year, setting of alarm bells throughout Hollywood. Despite the unfathomably successful run Disney is currently enjoying—Avengers: Endgame is the highest-grossing film of all-time with $2.79 billion worldwide—2019 is not expected to match last year’s mammoth total.
But that doesn’t mean we’re going to end the year with a whimper.
Disney’s Frozen 2 will hit theaters this weekend, six years after the 2013 original became the biggest animated film ever with $1.27 billion. Tracking projections peg the sequel’s opening between $90 million and $135 million domestic and $120 million to $140 million abroad, Deadline reports. Outside of the original Frozen‘s $94 million five-day gross, no animated film has threatened the $100 million mark in North America outside of the comfy summer season. Are you ready to set another precedent, Disney?
Frozen II will face some tough competition in the ensuing weeks, but such a strong opening would put it on pace for more than $300 million, assuming this one is a bit more frontloaded than the out-of-nowhere phenomenon that was the original. The highly-anticipated Disney sequel will be the first domino in a string of high-upside bets to close the year.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is expected to be one of the highest-grossing films of the year as the conclusion to the 40-plus-year-old franchise. Box Office Pro, which specializes in long range projections, predicted an opening weekend between $185 million and $225 million and a final domestic tally between $550 million and $750 million. The five highest-grossing movies in North America are Avengers: Endgame ($858 million), The Lion King ($543 million), Toy story 4 ($434 million), Captain Marvel ($427 million) and Spider-Man: Far From Home ($390 million). Even the low end of that projections puts it in elite company.
Outside of Disney, Sony is hoping to replicate the success of 2017 when it scored big with Dwayne Johnson’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle squaring off against Star Wars: The Last Jedi. That action-adventure blockbuster became the studio’s highest-grossing domestic feature ever ($405 million). December’s sequel, Jumanji: The Next Level, is looking at an opening weekend between $66 million and $76 million, according to Box Office Pro. If it enjoys similar legs to the first go-around, it’ll be looking at a healthy haul.
Complimenting the big-budget behemoths are a handful of high-profile awards contenders and mid-budget snacks that could catch on with audiences. Bombshell, Cats, Knives Out, Little Women and 1917 could all breakout to varying degrees. No, it doesn’t look as if 2019 will set a new record at the domestic box office. But the second-best year of all time is still in play, and that’s not exactly a failure.