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The pain and toil of 2016 is now in the rear-view window, and while we're only a few hours and days into 2017, you can't help but look further down the line to the weeks and months ahead, especially when it comes to what will populate theaters. While it's hard to know which films are actually going to excel critically, we can make an educated guess about which ones will make the most money.
Studios have cottoned on to a successful formula in recent years, and, as has become a custom, there are several blockbusters and sequels on the way. Plenty of them will go on to make an awful lot of money over the next 12 months. So what better way to celebrate cinematic capitalism at its best than to try and guess the 10 films will become the highest grossing in 2017? That's what I've done, and here are my selections.
10. The Fate of the Furious
It's going to be a big task for The Fate Of The Furious, the eighth installment to the Fast & Furious franchise, to top the amount made by Furious 7. Back in 2015, Furious 7 became an event picture, with fans eager to check out how the franchise would commemorate Paul Walker and say goodbye to his character Brian O'Conner. Furious 7 went on to gross $1.516 billion, becoming the sixth highest-grossing film of all time.
It's unlikely that The Fate Of The Furious will come close to this total, but it is still going to do awfully well. To increase the spectacle, fun and allure, the franchise has added Scott Eastwood, Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren to the film. But it was The Fate Of The Furious' trailer, which showed that Vin Diesel will be pitted against the rest of his crew having seemingly joined Charlize Theron, that immediately amped up the hype. We'll get to see if it can match this when it's released on April 14.
9. Transformers: The Last Knight
I know what you're thinking: is there really any need for another Transformers film? But since the franchise has grossed $3.773 billion across four films, and the last film Age Of Extinction brought in $1.104 billion in 2014, a fifth installment was always going to be demanded. It took a little longer for director Michael Bay to be convinced to return this time around, and he was even given leeway to oversee 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi.
But Paramount has used this time wisely, hiring Oscar winning writer Akiva Goldsman and a writing team to build a Transformers universe. With The Last Knight, the two cinematic worlds of the Transformers franchise have been brought together, as Age Of Extinction's Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci are mixing it with the original trilogy's Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson and John Turturro, while Isabela Moner, Anthony Hopkins, and Jerrod Carmichael have joined the fun, too. _Transformers: The Last Knight _will be with us on June 23.
8. Wonder Woman
Most movie fans would have you believe that the DC Extended Universe needs a hit. Considering that Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Suicide Squad made a combined total of $1.68 billion at the box office last yea.r the DC Extended Universe's crisis isn't quite as bad as it seems. Still, it would help to quash a lot of nerves over at Warner Bros if Wonder Woman was the DC Extended Universe's first critical hit, as the first installment Man of Steel was divisive, too. It would also help to keep the Neanderthal misogynists that scuppered the success of Ghostbusters before it was even released quiet.
With Gal Gadot leading the way after being one of the few bright sparks of Batman v Superman, as well as the trailer suggesting that Wonder Woman will be a whole host of fun from a unique point of view, there's a very good chance it will be the one to stem the tide. We'll find out when Wonder Woman is released on June 2.
Deadpool proved that a huge audience wants to see superhero films taken down an R-rated and more mature terrain. From just a $58 million budget, Deadpool went on to gross $783.1 million, and it also convinced 20th Century Fox to green-light an R-rated Wolverine film, too. But Deadpool didn't just work because of its rating. It was so popular because it was very good film that used its R-rating to bring out the best of Deadpool in a loyal and original way.
Logan should do the same treatment to Wolverine, too, and the red-band trailer gave us a sneaky peek at the sort of violence and gore we can expect to see in the film. Logan has also been given an early release date of March 3, 2017, which means that it will look to kick-start the summer season even earlier than usual, and if it matches the critical acclaim of Deadpool, it could profit from eager movie fans who have been starved of blockbuster action.
6. Justice League
Bringing Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, Cyborg, James Gordon and Lois Lane together for a film should mean that Justice League will be right up there as one of the biggest films of 2017. But rather than Kryptonite or Steppenwolf, the Parademons or Lex Luthor, Justice League's biggest threat is Zack Snyder.
The blame for Batman v Superman's critical panning fell firmly as his feet, even though scriptwriter Chris Terrio was just as responsible in my eyes, so the fact that they're both returning for Justice League means that the response to the film from journalists will be integral to its success. Even then the allure of Justice League should still prove to be huge, but not quite as big as Warner Bros hoped when they originally began the DC Extended Universe. Justice League will be with us on November 17.
5. Spider-Man: Homecoming
Spider-Man's debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America: Civil War was one of the cinematic highlights of 2017. It also immediately increased hype for his first solo outing, which smartly saw Tom Holland's Spider-Man made much younger than Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's incarnations so that Marvel can elongate the franchise.
Marvel has developed quite the knack of making its films huge spectacles, which is why Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man has been brought in to increase excitement, and the first trailer suggested that it will have the quirk and humor that we want from a Spider-Man film, too. Either way, with the five previous Spider-Man films having grossed a combined total of $3.962 billion, there was always going to be a hankering for Spider-Man: Homecoming, which will be released on July 7.
4. Despicable Me 3
If 2016 proved anything, it's that kid films really do bring audiences to cinemas. Finding Dory, Zootopia, The Jungle Book and The Secret Life Of Pets are currently, until Rogue One catches up, numbers 2-5 at the worldwide box office over the last 12 months. That doesn't show any signs of slowing down, while Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2 and Minions have made $2.76 billion since 2010, and with the fourth film, they have brought on South Park's Trey Parker to make adults just as keen to see the film as their younglings.
The Despicable Me franchise has been a nice little money churner for Universal over the years, and since Despicable Me 3 has a release date of June 30, it should prove to be a welcome alternative to the blockbuster material.
3. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Guardians Of The Galaxy was probably the biggest surprise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet. It's not just the fact that it was so good, as James Gunn was always likely to create such a wonderfully enthralling film. It's also because it grossed $773.3 million to become the third highest grossing in 2014. Now Marvel wants to make it the cornerstone of their cinematic universe, which is why they're releasing Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 on May 5, a date that they reserve for their biggest outings.
Thanks to the fact that Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper are returning, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 should be able to flourish in this spot. Even though The Magnificent Seven and Passengers have taken the shine off of Chris Pratt's box office prestige over the last 12 months, expect Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 to run close to the billion dollar mark.
2. Beauty and the Beast
Disney hit gold with their decision to make live-action versions or spin-offs of their classic animated films. So far, Alice In Wonderland, Maleficent, Cinderella and The Jungle Book have made just under $3.5 billion at the box office. But Beauty And The Beast is set to be Disney's biggest film yet of these films. First of all, the 1991 version is regarded as one of Disney's most celebrated films, becoming the first animated film to ever be nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award. It also produced some of Disney's most popular ever songs, while Emma Watson's casting as Belle has immediately been seen as a stroke of genius.
The first trailer for Beauty And The Beast proved just how popular the film will be, as it reached 127.6 million views in just 24 hours. We'll see how this translates at the box office when Beauty And The Beast is finally released on March 17.
1. Star Wars: Episode VIII
I mean, of course it's Star Wars: Episode VIII. It's not just because Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has been at the top of the box office for three weeks in a row and continues to bring in plenty of money. It's not just because Star Wars: The Force Awakens became the third highest grossing film of all time in December 2015 thanks to its $2.068 billion gross. It's also because it will give audiences the final chance to say goodbye to Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia.
Off the back of The Force Awakens' success, this heady mix of emotion and spectacle means that the release of Star Wars: Episode VIII will be more of an event than ever before. Especially since we still have eleven months of build-up until Star Wars: Episode VIII is with us on December 15.