From the new Christopher Nolan movie to the next Hunger Games installment, fall 2014’s box offices may be able to resurrect this year’s almost dismal ticket sales and give us solid Oscar candidates.
After 2013’s summer of box office records — thanks in large part to big hits such as Iron Man 3, Despicable Me 2, and Man of Steel — 2014 has been underperforming to the dismay of movie studios everywhere. Compared to 2013, the 2014 summer blockbuster season is down 17.9% from last summer’s season. June and July, which are usually the biggest movie months of the summer, were packed with big movies, but none took off as critics and analysts predicted. Thankfully, the month of August shattered box office records, with a whopping grand total of $965 million made for the month after the monumental success of Guardians of the Galaxy and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Guardians has gone on to be the highest grossing movie of the year so far, and TMNT has become the second-highest-grossing movie of August. August 2014 is now the highest-grossing August of all time, and has helped propel the sluggish summer box office into the lower ranks of last year’s returns.
But have no fear, fellow movie buffs. This upcoming fall movie season* is looking up, thanks to a string of hits, potential and certain, which will bring the 2014 box office up to speed. I have included below the movies that I predict will be big hits of the upcoming season, along with the predicted gross, the reasons why they could or will be hits, and my opinion of the movie. So get those Fandango apps ready, because after we go through these movies, you won’t want to wait till opening day to buy tickets.
*The fall movie season usually ends at the last Thursday before the first weekend of November, but for the sake of this article, I will go through November. There will be a shortened Holiday Forecast coming shortly.
Gone Girl 10/3/14
Total Domestic Prediction: $100 million
Based on the very popular novel by the same name, Gone Girl should perform well at the box office — especially since Ben Affleck, who has been generating a lot of buzz because of his casting as Batman, has the leading role. With solid previews emphasizing the mystery surrounding the disappearance of a man’s wife, and a big hype with those who are already fans of the novel, this movie is a thriller drama with some hints of dystopia. Some analysts and predictors believe that this movie may have a shot at nabbing a few Oscar nominations, which would propel its box office total even further. Overall, the movie looks intriguing and seems to have one of Ben Affleck’s most solid roles yet. I have not read the book, but after seeing this preview, I am reading this the first chance I get, and will for sure see the movie this October.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day 10/10/14
Total Domestic Prediction: $74 million
Another movie based on a book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is a very popular children’s book that will be sure to draw the family audiences especially since October is lacking any family films. With actors like Steve Carrol and Jennifer Garner in lead roles, this movie may draw some older kids and adults who are either fans of the cast or remember the book from childhood. Although the trailer makes the movie seem like the plot has been beefed up a little to fill up an hour and a half, the movie looks like it stays true to the moral of the story, which should draw fans to theaters. I loved this book as a kid, so my family is already planning to catch this film to relive memories. The upbeat nature of the film may be a nice break from Gone Girl and the menacing possible Oscar nominees to come.
Fury (2014) 10/17/14
With powerhouse Brad Pitt as lead actor and executive producer, this movie is sure to be a modest hit of critical acclaim. After 12 Years a Slave won the Oscar for Best Picture, Brad Pitt has the credentials for not only being an outstanding actor, but for the ability to produce stunning motion pictures. Based on the invasion of Germany towards the end of WWII, Fury tells the story of an American platoon facing the challenge of facing an advancing German flank with just a few men and a tank called Fury. With supporting actors like Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, and, oddly enough, Shia LaBeouf, this movie has the potential to nab supporting actor Oscar nominations. After seeing 12 Years a Slave, I have no doubt that Brad Pitt will deliver in this new period piece about war, violence, and the strength of friendship. I always make a point to see every movie that is nominated for Best Picture, so I will be there, front row, to see if Brad Pitt can repeat last year’s critical acclaim.
Big Hero 6 6 11/7/14
Total Domestic Prediction: $183 million
As the first collaboration between Marvel and Disney Animations, if this movie takes off (I believe it has a good chance), we will see many more animated superhero movies to come. In the past, more obscure superhero movies would have been a big risk, especially with the big price tags that come with superhero movies. But after the huge success of Guardians of the Galaxy, it seems the more obscure the superhero is, the better. Big Hero 6’s superheroes are a boy and his robot who fight against a masked man…who controls nano-robots with his mind? Audiences are as confused as the cop who talks to the main character in the trailer about what the heck is happening, but it looks pretty awesome. Typically, that reaction is found for almost all Marvel movies now. The audience loves the movie and the spectacle, but finds it hard to actually explain or recall the plot. (Try explaining the plot of Guardians without going off on wild tangents about the spectacle of the film.) I personally won’t be jumping off of my very comfortable couch to go see the movie, but I am willing to spend a little cash to rent it off of Amazon.
Total Domestic Prediction: $332 million
After the extraordinary success of the Dark Night Trilogy and Inception, Christopher Nolan has become a critically acclaimed director, writer, and producer who knows how to make the big bucks at the box office. With an all-star cast including Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, and Jessica Chastain alongside a fascinating concept, this movie is sure to blow expectations out of the water. In his next film, he ventures away from the Caped Crusader and the recesses of the mind to journey deep into the abyss of space. The earth is dying, and humanity’s only hope is to test the limits of space travel by exploring a wormhole and investigating what lies on the other side. Personally, this looks like one of the best movies coming out this year. Not only is it an original story, but the movie is from the mind of Christopher Nolan, who will not disappoint. A midnight premier may be necessary for a movie that looks this good.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 11/21/14
Total Domestic Prediction: $460 million
The Hunger Games is one of the biggest movie franchises ever in cinematic history, and it will only get bigger. Catching Fire was huge last year and ended up being the highest grossing movie of the summer, but forecasts show Mockingjay, Part 1 becoming even more monumental. Jennifer Lawrence is one of the biggest actresses of the decade, and her rise to fame doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. Her fame, along with the hype for the movie, may push the movie to become the next movie to earn a billion dollars. Analysts thought it was possible for Catching Fire to reach this level, but are sure that Mockingjay will. Like I’ve done with every other Hunger Games film, I will be at my local theater Thursday night at 11:30 PM to get good seats amongst the hundreds of other people who will see the midnight screening.