Predicting the 2020 box office in a non COVID-19 world

What would the 2020 cinema landscape look like if Covid-19 never existed? 

With so many huge blockbusters due to release last year it would have been another record breaking year at the box office where most of the studios would have been licking their lips with the revenue that would have come from their films. However, as history has shown, this never happened with this virus, as it spread across the world affecting each country causing border closures, lockdowns or even both. This forced film studios to either delay their major blockbuster or take a risk and release them during this pandemic hoping that not only would it garner them some revenue but also save the cinema industry we all know and love.

Throughout this article I will dissect some of the major blockbusters that were due to release or were released during 2020 and predict what their box office number would have been.

A Quiet Place Part II

Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe as the Abbott family in A Quiet Place Part II – Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Due to release on March 20th 2020, A Quiet Place Part II was going to kick off the summer blockbusters of 2020. A Quiet Place managed to gross $341million back in 2018, which is really impressive considering it was an original film at the time. A Quiet Place Part II’s main competition at the time would have Mulan where its number would have been slightly affected but it would have sustained a good run at the box office. With a well established history built in the first film A Quiet Place Part II would have seen it surpass the original at the box office.

Box Office Prediction: $450-500 million.

Mulan

Liu Yifei as Mulan in Mulan (2020) – Courtesy of Disney

Originally set to release on the 27th of March 2020 before succumbing to the Covid-19 delays and being released in September 2020 on Disney +, Mulan had a good chance to rule the box office for a month. If we take a look at the previous live action Disney remakes before Mulan they all managed to reach the billion dollar club The Lion King ($1.6 billion), Aladdin ($1.05 billion) and Beauty and the Beast ($1.26 billion), it is pretty safe in assuming that Mulan would have also joined the billion dollar club.

Box Office Prediction: $1.1-$1.2 billion.

No Time To Die

Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas in No Time To Die – Courtesy of Universal Pictures

The final Bond film in Daniel Craig’s career was set to release in early April 2020 where it would have been relatively unchallenged at the box office for over a month. Skyfall, the most successful Bond film to date, grossed $1.1 billion and Spectre released a few years later managed to gross $880 million. Now it would not have reached the heights of Skyfall but with a huge fan base spanning decades and this version of Bond coming to an end, No Time To Die would have had a healthy box office haul.

Box Office Prediction: $900 million – $1 billion.

Black Widow

Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff in Black Widow – Courtesy of Disney and Marvel Studios

The first entry into phase four and the second female led film for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Widow has an already established character and beloved fan base at their disposal to become a success. Due to come out on May 1st Black Widow would have enjoyed a couple of weeks at the box office before the release of F9.

Box Office Prediction: $700-$760 million.

F9

Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Jordana Brewster and Nathalie Emmanuel as the Fast Family in F9 – Courtesy of Universal Pictures

The Fast and Furious franchise has and always will be a box office juggernaut, people just love to see outrageous and over the top action set pieces which continually one up each other with each installment. Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious both amassing over one billion dollars at the box office and with the rumours of F9 going into outer space, I’m sure not only hardcore fans, but the general public would have come to witness this happen.

Box Office Prediction: $1.2-$1.3 billion.

Wonder Woman 1984

Gal Gadot as Diana Prince in Wonder Woman 1984 – Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Suffering an insane amount of delays Wonder Woman 1984 was going to grace theaters on June 5th 2020 with its main competition being Soul coming out a couple of weeks after. At this current point in time Wonder Woman 1984 has grossed just over $165 million at the box office. Wonder Woman managed to gross a healthy $822 million during its run back in 2017, and after seeing Wonder Woman 1984 it is safe to say that its opening weekend would have been huge but it would have seen a dramatic drop in numbers the weeks after and it would have never had reached the heights of the previous film.

Box Office Prediction: $460-$550 million.

Soul

Jamie Foxx voicing Joe Gardner in Soul – Courtesy of Disney and Pixar

An original Pixar film exploring the meaning of life, what’s not to be interested in? This film released at the start of 2020 and is currently sitting at $116 million at the box office and with an original release date of June 19th. Soul would have enjoyed a few weeks at the top of the box office taking away Wonder Woman 1984’s numbers before being dethroned by Minions: Rise of Gru.

Box Office Prediction: $750-$850 million.

Tenet

John David Washington as The Protagonist in Tenet – Courtesy of Warner Bros

Literally released during the middle of a pandemic and managing to gross $363 million to keep the cinema industry alive for a few months, Tenet was the unsung hero of 2020. Now lets erase Covid-19 from history, we would have seen this film come out on July 17th to which there wasn’t really a major blockbuster film coming out for a few months – Tenet would have had a chance to reap all the rewards. With the rewatchability being high due to the complexity of the film and audiences wanting to understand what the hell was going through Christoper Nolan’s mind while filming, Tenet would have been a great success for not only Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros. but film fans themselves.

Box Office Prediction: $800-$880 million.

Enternals

Eternals Logo – Courtesy of Disney and Marvel Studios

Now this is an interesting film we have here, Eternals was due to come out on November 6th where it would have dominated most of the month at the box office. A completely new project from Marvel based on an unknown comic book team set to explore the cosmic side of the MCU. Comparisons are already being made between Eternals and Guardians of the Galaxy where they were both lesser known comic book characters based on a team set to make their debut into this amazing universe. If we look into Guardians of the Galaxy’s numbers the film grossed $772 million at the box office. Chloe Zhao is attached as the director as well as a fantastic cast, we would have seen a similar box office number to Guardians of the Galaxy.

Box office Prediction: $760-$800 million.

Godzilla vs Kong

Godzilla and King Kong in Godzilla vs. Kong – Courtesy of Warner Brothers.

With its official release date just mere days away, Godzilla vs. Kong was set to release on November 20th just before the holiday period started. Warner Bros. offered us another good guy vs good guy film except this time it’s two gigantic titans going toe to toe with each other. Looking to redeem themselves after the disappointing battle that was Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Warner Bros. was confident that this Monsterverse idea could work and pitted two classic characters against each other.

Box Office Prediction: $820-$880 million.

Dune

Timothee Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson in Dune – Courtesy of Warner Bros.

The much anticipated Dune was set to release on December 18th right in the middle of the popular holiday season. Dune already has a large fan base and director Denis Villeneuve considers this his passion project. Boasting one of the most amazing casts I have ever seen and Denis Villeneuve’s amazing direction this film would not only have looked amazing but it would have become an instant cult classic. However if you are a Denis Villeneuve fan it’s best you look away now as the box office numbers are not looking great. Looking back at his past three films, Sicario (2015) grossed $84.9 million, Arrival (2016) grossed $203.4 million and Blade Runner 2049 (2017) grossing $260.5 million so it begs the questions could Dune break this mold and become a box office king, sadly I don’t believe so, while it might be critically acclaimed the general audience themselves wouldn’t find a film of this stature appealing.

Box Office Prediction: $280-340 million.

So there you have it, in a perfect world or in an alternate universe where Covid-19 didn’t exist we would have had one amazing year at the cinemas and the box office in general, but sadly it just wasn’t meant to be and who knows how high or low some of these films could have reached. The question is, what happens now…

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