In case you haven’t heard, J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a box office juggernaut. The movie is well on its way to becoming the biggest domestic hit of all time, and it’s entirely possible that it could wind up finding its way into Titanic/Avatar territory on the global scale before too long. After three weeks, the movie has managed to continue to hold on to the top spot on the charts… but that just makes us wonder what movie will be the one that eventually knocks the blockbuster off its pedestal.
Released back in 1997 – when the release schedule looked entirely different than it does today - Titanic holds the record of consecutive number one weekends at the box office, but what are the movies that are standing in the way of Star Wars: The Force Awakens shattering that industry best? We’ve taken a close look at some of the big movies that are set to come out in the next few weeks, and looking at both the individual titles themselves as well as certain important bits of history, we’ve analyzed whether or not they will be the one to make Star Wars number two or lower.
The ForestRelease Date: January 8th
What Is It?: A young woman (played by Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer in a dual role) goes searching for her twin sister in Japan’s Aokigahara – also known as the Suicide Forest. While she struggles to find her sibling, what she does find are more than a few supernatural spirits haunting the woods.
Can it beat Star Wars: The Force Awakens?: To put it bluntly, no. In its release, Star Wars has only dropped about 40 percent each week – and in its third weekend still managed to make more than $90 million. Continuing this trend, the film should still make more than $50 million in competition with The Forest, and the horror movie simply isn’t going to make that kind of scratch.
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of BenghaziRelease Date: January 15th
What Is It?: Based on a true story, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi centers around a security team working at a U.S. Compound in Libya. The facility comes under attack, and an American ambassador is killed as a result, leaving the team the sort out the chaos.
Can it beat Star Wars: The Force Awakens?: This one isn’t arriving too deep into January, but it actually does stand a moderate chance for exactly two reasons. The first is that Michael Bay is at the helm, and has regularly found an audience in his career. The second is the performance of Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper around the same time last year (which I guarantee explains the studio’s release date choice).
Ride Along 2Release Date: January 15th
What Is It?: On his way to both become a police officer and marry his girlfriend (Tika Sumpter), Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) finds himself traveling down to Miami, Florida with his future brother-in-law and "partner" James Payton (Ice Cube) to try and take down a drug kingpin dealing between states.
Can it beat Star Wars: The Force Awakens?: Ride Along 2 stands a decent chance of being the movie that takes Star Wars: The Force Awakens off its throne. When the first movie came out in 2014, it debuted with an impressive $41 million - which, if the sequel succeeds in the same way, could be enough to knock Star Wars off kilter in its fifth week of release.
Dirty GrandpaRelease Date: January 22nd
What Is It?: Jason Kelly (Zac Efron) is a good, uptight kid who is about to be married to his lovely girlfriend. Unfortunately, his plans get derailed a bit when his fun-loving grandfather (Robert De Niro) tricks him into going down to Florida to celebrate Spring Break with college co-eds.
Can it beat Star Wars: The Force Awakens?: This one is a touch hard to predict, as it’s hard to say if Dirty Grandpa will actually be able to find an audience. Zac Efron’s last R-rated, late-January released comedy was That Awkward Moment, and that movie just made $8 million in its opening frame – which would most likely not be enough to take down the Star Wars: The Force Awakens juggernaut.
The 5th WaveRelease Date: January 22nd
What Is It?: The 5th Wave begins years after aliens have invaded and basically taken over the Earth. Over the course of what have been described as "waves," the extraterrestrial species has managed to wipe almost every human off the face of the planet. The story follows a young woman named Cassie (Chloe Moretz) as she tries to survive with her younger brother at the time that the invaders launch their fifth wave of attack.
Can it beat Star Wars: The Force Awakens?: We wouldn’t exactly put money on Star Wars: The Force Awakens - depending on just how much the 2015 blockbuster starts to wain in the later January weeks. There isn’t exactly a long history of young adult sci-fi movies released in the early months of the year to go from, so this is kind of a toss up.
The Finest HoursRelease Date: January 29th
What Is It?: Set during a blizzard that rocked the Northeast back in 1952, The Finest Hours centers on Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) and his fellow coast guards as they try and rescue the men aboard a pair of destroyed oil tankers just off the coast of Cape Cod.
Can it beat Star Wars: The Force Awakens?: Reviews will almost surely define the success of The Finest Hours. If critics dig it, that positive buzz will get asses in the seats, and give it a modest chance to take down Star Wars: The Force Awakens in late January. Given that Disney is releasing the coast guard film, it’s really a win for them either way.
Kung Fu Panda 3Release Date: January 29th
What Is It?: Following Kung Fu Panda 2, which found Po (Jack Black) learning more about where he came from, Kung Fu Panda 3 actually features him getting to meet his father (Bryan Cranston) while also teaming up with the Furious Five to take down a new supernatural foe.
Can it beat Star Wars: The Force Awakens?: Given the built in advantage that kids movies have, you might think that this would potentially be a slam dunk to beat Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but it may not be that cut and dry. With a big summer release, Kung Fu Panda 2 was considered a disappointment opening at #2 with $47 million, and January isn’t exactly late May. Families may still choose Star Wars.
Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesRelease Date: February 5th
What Is It?: Based on the book by Seth Grahame Smith, Pride and Prejudice And Zombies is a retelling of the classic Jane Austen tale Pride and Prejudice, with the main difference being that Elizabeth Bennet (Lily Janes) and Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley) have to face off against and kill hordes of the undead.
Can it beat Star Wars: The Force Awakens?: While it’s distance from Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ release date gives it a certain edge, it’s also hard to see this film making any kind of big waves. The marketing has been basically non-existent, and the project carries a reputation of being dragged for years and years through development hell and numerous directors. Time is the horror/action movie’s only advantage over J.J. Abrams’ film.
Hail, Caesar!Release Date: February 5th
What Is It?: The latest comedy from Joel and Ethan Coen, Hail, Caesar! stars Josh Brolin as Eddie Mannix, a "fixer" in 1950s Hollywood who is forced into action when the star of a major motion picture, Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), is kidnapped by a group calling themselves "The Future."
Can it beat Star Wars: The Force Awakens?: Movies from the Coen brothers are obviously regularly beloved by critics, but the sad truth is that their movies don’t exactly make a big box office impact. Their highest opening to date was 2010’s True Grit, which opened in December with just $24 million. If Hail, Caesar! beats Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the box office, it will be because it’s February more than anything.
Zoolander 2Release Date: February 12th
What Is It?: Years after helping save the prime minister of Malaysia, Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) return to the world of modeling, and once again find themselves trying to solve a deadly mystery.
Can it beat Star Wars: The Force Awakens?: After being considered a disappointment when first released in September 2001, Zoolander has gained an impressive cult following, and there is a chance that following could give Zoolander 2 the edge over Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Like the previous entries mentioned, it also has the advantage of time, meaning the comedy sequel could wind up being the one to top the space-set sequel… provided some other direct competition doesn’t get in the way.
DeadpoolRelease Date: February 12th
What Is It?: Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), a smart-mouthed special forces soldier, is diagnosed with cancer, and in an attempt to continue living with his one true love (Morena Baccarin), he enters what winds up being a torturous experimental program. Left with hideous scars, an incredible healing factor, and completely sociopathic, Wade wears a superhero costume, calls himself "Deadpool," and sets out to reunite with his love and get revenge against the man responsible for the experiments (Ed Skrein).
Can it beat Star Wars: The Force Awakens?: It wasn’t until the first weekend of February 2010 that Avatar finally got bumped from its perch as box office king – and while it’s possible that Star Wars: The Force Awakens can get past that point, it will probably be Deadpool that serves as the big eventual box office roadblock. Depending on reviews, the film could certainly replicate the performance of Kingsman: The Secret Service on the same weekend in 2015, and a $36 million take should be enough to take down the sci-fi blockbuster.