Welcome to another installment of Superhero Fix! This week we’ll attempt to follow the money before it leaves our consumer pockets. As we know, this is going to be a gargantuan year for superhero films. While the dominant film and its respective studio might be obvious from its announcement, it’s important to acknowledge the budget-to-box-office ratio when determining which 2019 superhero film winds up most profitable. With M. Night Shayamalan’s “Glass” in the rearview mirror but still puncturing the market, audiences are left with eight options to satiate their comic book hunger. Below we’ll break down the gross potential of each movie, and conclude by ranking these elite eight from most to least likely to reign supreme at the global box office. Let the battle for billions begin!
Captain Marvel (Walt Disney Studios)
Releases: March 8th, 2019
Budget: $152 million
Right around the corner, a new heroine will rise to prove her value in the fight against Thanos. But until that happens, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck will take us back to the mid-90s with the origin story of Carol Danvers, the soldier who transforms into a superhuman defense weapon known as Captain Marvel. Academy Award-winner Brie Larson will be donning the titular role, making her the first MCU female character with a film of her own supervision.
Like “Black Panther” last year, there’s no denying the impact “Captain Marvel” will have on empowering the marginalized, whose stories have long taken a backseat to those of white male saviors. With Warner Bros’ “Wonder Woman” setting the stage for the robust box office appeal of a superhero film with a female at its commercial center – and “Black Panther” proving highly successful with its early release and history-changing buzz – this precursor chapter to “Avengers: Endgame” should pull massive amounts of money, just shy of aforementioned wrecking-ball. The Marvel brand has never been this volcanic.
Predicted Box Office: $525 million domestically, $1.1 billion worldwide
Shazam! (Warner Bros Pictures)
Releases: April 5th, 2019
Budget: $80-90 million
Now that James Wan’s “Aquaman” has flowed new life into the decaying DC brand, David F. Sandberg’s “Shazam!” is hoping to continue the upward swing. Although it’s unclear how Zachary Levi’s Billy Batson/Shazam will fit into the larger canon, as long as the journey there remains a joy ride, there’s no reason to worry that audiences will care. The gimmick of seeing a kid weave back and forth from his youth to an adult deity-like figure could get tiresome if Bill Parker and C.C. Beck’s script meanders into aimless absurdity. Chances are high that this will be a softer DC hit, keeping its brand enough adrift to warrant more individualized hero concentrations.
Predicted Box Office: $215 million domestically, $625 million worldwide
Hellboy (Summit Entertainment)
Releases: April 12th, 2019
Although some obstinate fans of the original two Guillermo del Toro-helmed films are angered by the auteur’s directorial absence, it’s never a bad thing to be inspired by the gentle genius behind some of cinema’s most beautifully designed monsters. David Harbour looks positively beast-primed in that crimson makeup, almost passing for Ron Perlman himself. “Hellboy” has always been a niche draw, and with “Shazam!” releasing a week prior, this reboot is sure to be eclipsed by its own genre.
Predicted Box Office: $100 million domestically, $230 million worldwide
Avengers: Endgame (Walt Disney Studios)
Releases: April 26th, 2019
Budget: Well over $400 million
Is there a more anticipated movie event in the history of cinema? Nobody would have guessed that a groundswell of anticipation would reach as feverish a pitch as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and yet here we stand unable to contain the oxygen coming in and out of our lungs. “Avengers: Infinity War” was the culmination of a decade’s worth of fan dedication, literally doing far more than paying itself off. This is a movie that will determine the unknown fate of over ten heroes dissipated into dust by the snap of Thanos’s gargantuan fingers. Answers, drama, and a serious comeback in the eleventh hour are why the world has united under one manifest destiny to see “Avengers: Engame.” The Russo Brothers are expected to deliver us comic book salvation, but a greater question still remains: how deep is our love?
Predicted Box Office: $850 million domestically, $2.2 billion worldwide
Dark Phoenix (20th Century Fox)
Releases: June 7th, 2019
Budget: $200 million
After stepping aside to give its biggest mutant attraction a heartbreaking sendoff – James Mangold’s Oscar-nominated “Logan” – the X-Men return in full force, likely retconning the stupendously horrid “X-Men: Apocalypse” in their minds. This could very well be the last “X-Men” movie of its kind if it flops as badly as its predecessor, though the focus on Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix might give it some moviegoer fluid. Furthermore, fantasy geek audiences will surely try to maximize their time keeping the aura of their favorite show alive – in this case HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” which airs its final season this spring — even if it’s just supporting one of its key stars in another project. That being said, the birth of Dark Phoenix is a story thread that should have been touched upon right after “X2: X-Men United,” its cliffhanger providing a perfect launching pad for one of the most famous X-Men comic arcs.
Predicted Box Office: $210 million domestically, $650 million worldwide
Spider-Man: Far From Home (Sony Pictures Releasing)
Releases: July 5th, 2019
With John Hughes-esque high school spirit, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is a reminder of the carefree fun this particular Avenger can elicit. Gone was the clashing somberness and cartoon villainy of the earlier “Spider-Man” films. In addition, Oscar frontrunner in “Best Animated Feature,” “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” has given an added jolt of goodwill to a neighborhood pal that was starting to lose his street cred. Jake Gyllenhaal’s appearance as Mysterio is sure to attract cinephiles, but more importantly, this will be first MCU movie to follow “Avengers: Endgame.” It can’t just be a derivative deviation to palette-cleanse the gravitas of world devastation. Hopefully, director Jon Watts can turn this Spidey class field trip into an escapade with character consequences aplenty.
Predicted Box Office: $400 million domestically, $910 million worldwide
The New Mutants (20th Century Fox)
Releases: August 2nd, 2019
Josh Boone is taking a major yet bold gamble by giving a hybrid twist to the “X-Men” universe. Part horror and a whole lot of angsty young-adult melodrama, this comic book adaptation is tailor made for Boone, who specializes in swooning while simultaneously devastating hearts. With an elite cast of young thespians that includes Anya Taylor-Joy and Maisie Williams, this spin-off will hopefully be given the same respectful chance from audiences as the bonkers “Deadpool” received.
Predicted Box Office: $130 million domestically, $300 worldwide
Joker (Warner Bros Pictures)
Releases: October 4th, 2019
Budget: $55 million
A superhero movie producer is born in Bradley Cooper, who shares this credit with director Todd Phillips of “Borat” fame. Carving away at a villain who loves to slice his own mouth is probably a lot more challenging than it seems. Time will tell whether this origin story turns out to be a banal vanity project for Joaquin Phoenix or a revolutionary introspective on pop culture’s most iconic nihilist. The later date-shift wisely avoids the embroiled summer competition, and even angles it towards some Academy eyeballs.
Predicted Box Office: $200 million domestically, $590 worldwide