Beauty and the Beast

Box office charts, in recent years, have been dominated by sequels, superheroes and -- usually -- superhero sequels. So it's a little bit surprising that, as we near the halfway mark of 2017, the only two movies to have crossed the $1 billion mark at the international box office have neither Wolverine or the Guardians of the Galaxy in their ensembles... though one of them does have the backing of Disney, which always helps.

Bill Condon's live-action Beauty and the Beast and F. Gary Gray's The Fate of the Furious are the two movies, heading into June, that have made more than $1 billion at the global box, according to BoxOfficeMojo. Initially, this reveal surprised me, as in years past, the latest Marvel movie (like Captain America: Civil War or Avengers: Age of Ultron) has been in this illustrious group. But the Guardians of the Galaxy currently are on the outside of the bubble looking in, with $791 million. They may get to $1 billion, but it hasn't happened yet.

The Fate of the Furious, on the other hand, joins Furious 7 as the only two chapters of the muscle-car soap-opera saga to cross the $1 billion mark, so I shouldn't be too surprised to see Fate doing so well. That being said, any franchise that manages to post north of $1 billion globally with its seventh and eighth films, respectively, is an eye-popping accomplishment. I doubt there's any other long-running franchise that pushed later chapters above that critical box office mark. Even the third Hobbit film (which is fully titled The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies... a fact I'm sure I once knew but completely forgot) stalled out at $956 million internationally.

The Fate of the Furious

Last year, we had four movies that crossed the $1 billion mark at the box office, and all four were Walt Disney pictures. Beauty and the Beast already has performed for the Mouse House, and assuming that Guardians 2 can continue to pack houses, there's a good chance it gets there. But what other films do we think have a legit shot at $1 billion in 2017. Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi seems like a shoo-in. Despicable Me 2 didn't get there, though, so part 3 might fall short.

What about Justice League? The first on-screen gathering of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg? Should be a slam dunk, but in light of all of its pre-production conflicts, who's to say? Either way, it's going to be an interesting second half at the multiplexes. Head over here for a complete rundown of 2017 Release Dates.

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