The year of 2016 is nearly over, and I for one am excited to call it a new year and start afresh. There’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to movies in 2017, but it’s impossible to predict whether a year will truly be good or not. I thought 2016 was going to be a quality cinematic year and ended up being kind of disappointed.
So I’ve decided to put my ego and (already low) reputation on the line, and try to make some predictions as to what we can expect from the cinematic year in 2017. Below are six educated guesses I’ve made, looking at trends, hype and unexplainable personal theories. Now obviously there are other predictions I could make, like “Episode VIII will make the most money” but that’s a boring prediction and doesn’t need explaining. And clearly I like to talk. I’ve even included some ‘odds’ to give you an idea of the presumed likelihood, even though my knowledge of betting systems are slim and nil.
Let me know what you think, as well as some of your own predictions for the coming year. Join me as I put my online neck out there, because if nothing else I’m fully prepared to laugh at my own stupidity this time next year.
Beauty & The Beast cracks $1 Billion at the Box Office
Odds – 7:1
Disney just became the first company to crack $7 billion dollars in one year at the box office, with at least three films (Civil War, Finding Dory, Zootopia – and possibly Rogue One) each breaking the billion dollar mark on their own this year. That is a truly astronomical number, and it probably won’t be the last time this mega-company hits that mark, when you factor in yearly Star Wars movies, billion dollar animation properties and the MCU.
But I’m predicting the upcoming live action movie adaptation Beauty and the Beast puts in some serious work to try and help the company go back to back on that honour. There has been a surprising amount of hype for this movie, with the trailers collecting over 20 million views a piece on the official Disney trailer Youtube channel. It also has Emma Watson, who may not have had massive success yet outside of Harry Potter, but she still carries some serious name value, and hasn’t had a movie of this magnitude to bounce off of. I think it’s feasible this does the same kind of numbers Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland did, which also reached a billion (not so much the sequel…)
It’ll need a big jump from the reasonably well received 2015 version of Cinderella, which reached nearly $550 million worldwide. But that was met with reservation over a live action adaptation, rather than the excitement that Beauty and the Beast seems to have. There’s some competition in the surrounding weeks of its release, but none of them really match the primary demographic of Beauty and the Beast, and some of them are rather risky properties. One of those movies, which comes out two weeks later, is Ghost in the Shell. Speaking of which….
Ghost in the Shell ‘Flops’
Odds – 10:1
This is going to hurt me to say but I think at this point in time next year, by the metric we currently weigh up cinematic success, we’re going to consider Ghost in the Shell a failure. I still have no idea what to expect from this movie quality wise, even after watching the trailer countless times. For every moment that makes me think it’s going to work, I see another that fills me with dread.
It’s died out lately, but I’m fully expecting the ‘whitewashing’ brigade to be back out in full force as this movie nears release, and I think the potential negative press there won’t do it any favours. I think a similar case study can be made for the 2016 Ghostbusters, which didn’t break over $230 million worldwide and was hampered with controversy over the casting. The Ghostbusters branding alone should have gotten it over $300 million, but the ‘female casting’ rhetoric that plagued the marketing campaign clearly had an effect.
Factor in that while Ghost in the Shell is one of the most revered anime ever, it’s still very much a niche franchise that won’t have a lot of name value outside of the hardcore fanbase. This isn’t a ‘Power Rangers’ that might decently purely because of the brand. The one thing it does have going for it? Scarlett Johansson managed to drag an uninspiring action sci fi movie in Lucy to over $460 million – and that drawing power might be the very reason she was cast as The Major.
I desperately want this movie to do well, but I don’t think this is going to be considered a success. Will it make its money back? Sure. But I suspect this will have high expectations from a financial perspective and a culture penetration perspective, and I don’t think it is going to achieve that. Mind you, the thermoptic suit that kind of makes Scarlet Johansson look naked might very well make this prediction utterly stupid. Is it wise to bet against boobs?
A Late Release of The Lego Batman Movie Leads to Massive Piracy in Australia
Odds – 2:1
This is the safety bet of the article. So it was announced earlier this month that The Lego Batman movie would be released on the 30th March in my home country of Australia, a full 48 days after the film sees widespread release elsewhere. Why? Well the likely reason is because the primary demographic – children – will be at school during that time, and it is an obvious decision to try and release movies targeted at them during the school holidays when they’re more likely to be able to go.
But when they tried this trick with The Lego Movie in 2014, they later acknowledged that it cost them and estimated $5 million dollars due to Aussies choosing to pirate instead of waiting, which is a lot of money within the Australian system. Village Roadshow co-CEO Graham Burke even came out and admitted the move was a mistake, and that they wouldn’t be making that same mistake again…
The Lego Batman Movie might technically be targeted at kids, but it’s going to be pulling in a large adult segment. And even though the Australian government is taking steps to stop piracy in the country, chances are this movie is going to be pirated a lot in the month and half between its American release date and the Australian release date. They did it with the first movie, and they’ll do it with this one, perhaps even strictly to prove a point.
Pirates 5 Ends the Franchise
Odds – 25:1
Disney had a damn good run with this amusement park ride turned blockbuster franchise, but I think there’s a chance it ends in 2017. The series peaked creatively with the first movie, and financially with the second. By the time the fifth movie comes out, titled Dead Men Tell No Tales, it will have been six years since the franchise was in cinemas with On Stranger Tides. That’s a long time between drinks, and I’m not sure people care enough about Jack Sparrow and his merry band of pirates anymore to flood the cinemas once more.
I’m not going to beat around the bush, On Stranger Tides made over a billion worldwide. That’s a lot of money. But it also cost a lot of money to make. It is considered the most expensive movie ever made, with Forbes reporting it might have cost upwards of $410 million dollars. Dead Men Tell No Tales is rumoured to have well over a $300 million dollar budget, which means there is far less room for error here for the franchise compared to other movies.
Can Disney afford it? Sure. But the question is do they need to? There are a lot of movies on Disney’s plate right now, and Pirates of the Caribbean is their most expensive franchise as far as production goes. In my eyes ‘Dead Men’ basically has to break $1 billion, otherwise the franchise might not be guaranteed to continue. Seems like a lot to ask, but this is the same world where The Amazing Spiderman 2 can make $700 million and be considered a franchise killer. But I really think the gap between movies here is going to be what hurts it the most. The original Pirates of the Caribbean came out in 2003, and the cinematic world has changed a lot in those (soon to be) fourteen years…and realising how old the original is has suddenly made me feel old…
John Wick 2, Kingsmen 2 Both do Noticeably Better at the Box Office
Odds – 5:1
I’m not expecting either of these movies to do record numbers, but I do think we’re going to see a healthy increase when it comes to the finances. Both are sequels to movies that caught a lot of people by surprise when they came out in 2014 and 2015, earning critical acclaim and ended up making plenty of ‘top movies of the year’ lists.
The original John Wick was a small budget action movie that quadrupled its budget – and despite that impressive return it is still considered to be a movie that was overlooked in cinemas. As the sequel’s release nears, I suspect the online media will be driving the hype train to push for this movie to succeed, much in the same way many publications did for Mad Max: Fury Road last year. It won’t need to make a lot of money to be a success, but now people are aware of this movie I think they’ll go see it. Men will at least, given it’ll open alongside the 50 Shades sequel.
It’s a similar story, albeit on a larger scale, for Kingsman. It had a fairly low key debut in cinemas and succeeded more on word of mouth than anything else, and also quadrupled its initial budget. Now people know about Kingsman, and the announcement of a sequel was met with quite a bit of anticipation. The series should be able to build off of this hype to a strong showing in the cinemas next year, now it’s no longer an unknown commodity.
Aquaman Becomes a Favourite from Justice League
Odds – 10:1
Full disclosure, I’m an Aquaman fan. But I don’t think that inherent bias is the cause for this prediction. The Justice League has a lot of pressure on it. If it fails, it could kill the DC cinematic universe regardless of how well Wonder Woman goes, simply because the Justice League will be the foundation from which the rest of the DC movies are built from. Much of the success here will come on their portrayal of the League itself.
My reasoning for the expected Aqua-love is two-fold. Firstly, there is a calculated design to how the cinematic universe Aquaman is being crafted. He’s not the blonde haired, blue eyed good guy from the comics and the Super Friends animation that has been the root of much mockery over the years, but a dark, tribal warrior king. It’s a rather radical change, but one that has been met with plenty of positivity. And I think people are going to jump on the bandwagon for this revised version. Yes Flash will be popular, and people already like Battfleck and Wonder Woman, but I think the unexpected enjoyment of Aquaman will lead to his popularity here. Expect people to talk about his history as they walk out of cinemas like the didn’t quickly look it up on Wikipedia beforehand in an attempt to appear ahead of the curve.
We don’t know much about his character in the movie, but from the trailer we received I think he’s going to be a fairly blunt and aggressive character, potentially causing some tension among the group which should lead to a stand out performance. Also worth noting is Geoff Johns involvement with DC cinematic universe, who was behind the incredible New 52 run that made Aquaman a must-read and sent him to the top of the comic sales lists – his influence should lead to at least one stand out action scene with the King of Atlantis. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a change in the perception of Aquaman, even if it is based off a version that isn’t entirely aligned with the comics.