Predicting the 2022 box office top 10 (and 3 box office flops)
Updated: Jan 27, 2022
2022 is another year for blockbuster movies. Many films that were delayed by covid have been pencilled into release this year meaning we have a stacked calendar of massive movies to look forward to.
It's always hard to predict the box office with so many factors going into it, this year is no different. Covid-19 still has a huge effect on the numbers and releases and may even see some films on the list being delayed to 2023. For the purpose of this article though we're just going to have to try to forget that it exists because if we didn't it would probably be mentioned in every other sentence.
So, in order of top to bottom here's my prediction for this years top 10:
Number 1: "The Batman"
The Batman is finally releasing in 2022. This film was announced as a Ben Affleck directed solo film in 2015 before being shelved after the poor reception that Batman V Superman recieved the same year. The project remained up in the air until 2017 when Affleck stepped down as director and then two years later quit the role entirely. Matt Reeves was picked to rewrite and direct the project with Twilight's own Robert Pattinson (or Robert Battinson if you will) to star as the caped crusader. And now finally, 7 years after the initial announcement it's actually on its way. There is no way this film will do badly commercially even if the film itself is no good, its a Batman movie. The only way this film won't pass $1 billion for the year is if it doesn't actually come out (which is a possibility given its track record).
Number 2: "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness"
It's a Marvel movie. That's all that needs to be said. This one isn't just any Marvel movie though, it promises to include fan favourite characters from every previous incarnation of the Marvel cinematic universe plus brand new and exciting characters (including rumours of a John Krasinski led Fantastic Four cameo). If that wasn't enough, Doctor Strange's second outing is being directed by none other than Sam Raimi (a dream for any longtime Marvel fans). Putting this one in second might be misguided but I think the hugely anticipated Batman film might just edge it.
Number 3: "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"
Are you seeing the theme yet? It's another superhero movie to fill out the top 3, cry about it Scorsese. It's a big year for comic book flicks with many of them being moved back to this year after production delays and covid outbreaks. This film is a divisive one already with people questioning the choice to move on without the late Chadwick Boseman. Boseman's passing will play a big factor in the box office performance of this movie with many going to watch just to see what will happen with the franchise and many sitting it out due to his absence in the movie (although we can expect a Carrie Fisher style digital recreation at some point in the movie). This one makes the top 3 based solely on the popularity of the first one alone but I can see it falling short of the top two by quite a distance because a Black Panther 2 without Chadwick Boseman feels like Iron Man 2 without Robert Downey Jr.
Number 4: "Thor Love and Thunder"
The title may make it sound like an adult movie from the 80s but this is actually the fourth installment of the mixed bag that is the Thor franchise (mixed bag is being very generous actually). If I'm honest I think this one will only hit 4th in the box office based on the fact that its a Marvel movie. Am I that confident that it will actually be deserving of 4th spot? No. Am I confident that it will rank much higher than it deserves? Yes. Having said that, I might just being cynical based on the previous Thor movies. It has a fully loaded A-list cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman or Natalie Thortman if you will (not quite Battinson but I tried), Tessa Thompson, the whole Guardians of the Galaxy crew, Taika Waititi, and finally Christian Bale. It has all the makings of a commercial hit, let's just hope the script is up to the same standard this time round.
Number 5: "Lightyear"
The first non-superhero movie on the list. While nobody asked for a Buzz Lightyear prequel movie I also don't think many will turn down the chance to watch it. Chris Evans stepping into the role also serves as a big draw for a new audience as do the increasingly gorgeous Disney Pixar visuals. Toy Story 4 hit $1 billion in the global box office and while I don't think Lightyear will quite do that I don't think it will be too far off with the popularity of the franchise as a whole and the with the hold that Disney Pixar movies have on us all. This movie will definitely be an interesting one to check out and chances are that it will have the quality to fend off other big name movies in the box office.
Number 6: "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-verse (Part One)"
This one deserves to be higher up, it will almost definitely be one of the best films of the year. Across The Spider-Verse Part One is the sequel to the 2018 masterpiece Into The Spider-Verse, the cast is unconfirmed but at least three characters will return from the first one: Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), and Miguel O'Hara (Oscar Isaac). All signs point to the sequel being just as good, if not better, than the first movie. The only thing that will hold this one back in the box office is exactly the same thing that held back the first one: it's animated. Yes I know another animated movie is on the list but that one comes with the huge advantage of being an all round family movie in a hugely successful franchise, and while this film will be family friendly it's not exactly the kind of film that the whole family will go to see. Regardless of this, it's sure to absolutely smash it both critically and commercially.
Number 7: "Avatar 2"
Did anyone remember this one? No? Me neither? Name 3 characters from Avatar. You can't? Don't worry no one can. Avatar is an enigma. It's the highest earning and least memorable film of all time. Regardless, Avatar 2 makes the list because people will watch it just out of sheer curiosity to see if it will actually be good. As you can tell, I'm not a huge Avatar fan but that doesn't mean I won't watch the sequel. And that's exactly how it will make the top 10, people will see it just to see what it's all about. Will anyone remember it in 2 years time? No. Will it hold any cultural significance? No. Will it break every box office record and completely ruin my prediction list? Very possibly.
Number 8: "The Flash"
This was the hardest one to place. As a general rule fans are not on the side of the DCEU, but it is a chance to see Ben Affleck's final go at Batman, Michael Keaton getting another go at Batman, and Ezra Miller as the Flash again after completely redeeming himself in the "Snyder cut". However, so far people don't seem too keen on this movie being used to reset the movie continuity and write out Ben Affleck's Batman and Henry Cavill's Superman. From the viewpoint of a Zack Snyder fan it doesn't look at all promising, but that doesn't mean that it will be a bad movie by any means. The Flash isn't going to break any records but I'm pretty certain that it will turn over fairly decent returns on the box office front this year.
Number 9: "Uncharted"
Uncharted is already being written off by fans due to the questionable casting choices of Tom Holland as Nathan Drake (I don't mind this choice) and Mark Wahlberg as Victor Sullivan (this is genuinely the worst casting choice of all time). Fan approval doesn't often mean anything though in the unpredicatble world of box office numbers. The Uncharted franchise already carries a huge number of fans as does its leading man, it's also a high budget action movie and they always turn over impressive numbers. I'm not claiming that it will be the 9th best film of 2022 (although I think it will be surprisingly good) but I do think it has enough going for it to climb into the top ten movies as far as box office rankings go.
Number 10: "Black Adam"
The Rock signed on to play Black Adam in 2014. 8 long long years ago. And that's what I think will be the main problem for this movie, it has gone through development hell and overcoming that is no easy feat. Black Adam feels like a movie that should have been set up by Shazam before getting his own movie, it feels almost as though it was rushed out just to get it out. I don't think it will be a bad movie at all, the Rock is pretty consistent in the fact that his movies are at least fun and I think this will be the same, but Black Adam will face an uphill struggle to make any headway in this years box office (although any movie would with a calendar this formidable). It will be very interesting to see how this movie does and whether it can defy all odds and be a genuinely good film after the extreme delays it faced.
And now, the list I've been waiting to write: THE FLOPS
Flop number 1: "Morbius"
I have no hope for this one. Morbius will be terrible. That's all I really know what to say about this. Yes there is a chance of a Spider-Man cameo (which would probably actually push it to earn obscene amounts of money) and a Michael Keaton vulture appearance, but this movie will not be good. The trailers are so hideously bland and generic, Jared Leto seems to be sleepwalking through his performance (from the little we've seen) and the character just isn't made for a solo blockbuster movie. I honestly can't bring myself to talk anymore about it.
Flop number 2: "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom"
This one might be wishful thinking but I'm not alone in that. Many fans were put off by Warner Brothers' firing Johnny Depp but allowing Amber Heard to reprise her role as Mera in this film. There has been a lot of talk from fans about boycotting this movie and if even half of them stick by it this movie is destined to flop harder than any movie of this scale ever. But, the first movie did so well that this one might just follow suit. It will be interesting to see which direction the Aquaman sequel goes in on the box offic ladder.
Flop number 3: "Jurrasic World Dominion"
Jurrasic World: Dominion faces a struggle to perform well this year. Public opinion of its leading man is at an all time low which would be bad enough on its own but the soft reboot/sequel series hasn't been well recieved in general. I don't think it will be a bad movie by any stretch, I just don't think it will go down well commercially at all. Placing it on the flop list feels harsh but I judt can't see this one breaking even or doing all that well critically either. This is a franchise that much like the dinosaurs should have been left to rest.