As the movie-going experience slowly gets back to a normal status, famous IPs and sequels will battle for a place at the top of the box office.
Predicting what the highest-grossing films of 2022 will be isn’t entirely straightforward. As the movie-going experience slowly gets back to a somewhat normal status, famous IPs and sequels to previous hits will battle for a place at the top of the worldwide box office. While some titles can be easily expected to have a great performance, others will have to face strong competition for the audience’s money.
2021 was a year of transition for the movie-theater industry. After 2020, which saw very few films have a theatrical release in light of the pandemic, movies such as F9, No Time to Die, and Spider-Man: No Way Home manage to bring back big numbers to the box office. The performance of those movies, especially No Way Home’s, has reassured the industry that theatrical-only films are still a valuable option after many cases of same-day streaming releases.
Picking up the momentum of No Way Home, 2022 will have the opportunity to reestablish the movie-going experience once and for all. With multiple superhero films, animated entries and long-awaited sequels, there are several titles that could be among the most successful films of the year. Here are what may be the biggest movies of 2022.
Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse (Part One) (October 7)
Not only an Academy Award winner for Best Animated Feature, Spider-Man: Into the Spide-Verse (2018) is also known by Spider-Man fans as one of the best films in the character’s long cinematic journey. Two years after the first film, Miles Morales returns in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One). As given away by the title, the movie will be the first of a two-part story that will see Spider-Man exploring the vastness of the multiverse.
While Into the Spider-Verse had a modest performance, having claimed $375.5 million, Across the Spider-Verse will benefit from the first film’s great reception and, with a good enough word-of-mouth, should not struggle to make more than its predecessor. Miles Morales has also had a bump in popularity recently thanks to the Insomniac Spider-Man games, and No Way Home has made audiences crave more of the Multiverse. All that considered, a $700 million to $800 million prediction is not too far-fetched.
Lightyear (June 17)
Pixar’s releases, despite Disney’s recent strategy of relegating some titles to Disney+ only, are always a safe bet. That is no different for Lightyear, which will feature Chris Evans as the voice of Buzz Lightyear (here as the actual space ranger, not the toy). The movie will have a meta connection to the Toy Story films as it will show the fictional adventures of the character who would eventually inspire the line of Buzz Lightyear toys.
The movie’s interesting premise, a so-far stunning-looking animation, and all the previous successes of the Toy Story franchise at the box office make Lightyear an easy pick. Given that both Toy Story 3 and Toy Story 4 managed to cross the billion mark, Lightyear should not have problems doing the same should it remains as a theatrical release only. The possibility of a Disney+ same-day release is the only reason why Lightyear is not ranked higher.
Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom (December 16)
After the financial disaster that it was Justice League (2017), not many people would have thought that the first DC movie following the team-up film would be a billion-dollar movie. James Wan’s incredible eye for action and Jason Momoa’s star power, however, managed to make Aquaman (2018) a worldwide hit and the highest-grossing DC movie of all time. Four years later, Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom brings Arthur Curry back to the December slot in a quest of replicating the first film’s success.
There is only one factor that makes a prediction for The Lost Kingdom a bit complicated and that is its release day. So far, Aquaman 2 is opening the same day as Avatar 2, which might be the worst competitor a movie could have. If neither of those moves, Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom will have a way tougher run than it did in 2018.
The Flash (November 4)
DC’s attempt of reigniting its universe after Justice League, The Flash is expected to be a mixture of Flashpoint and other Crisis-era like stories that fans of the character are so familiar with. The movie will also count with the return of Michael Keaton to the role of Batman thirty years after putting on the cowl for the last time as well as with Ben Affleck’s version of the caped crusader. As if Flash and two versions of Batman were not enough, the movie will also feature Supergirl.
The Flash will open the doors to the DCEU’s Multiverse and is expected to showcase a lot of surprises. The recent trends of multiversal superhero movies such as Spider-Verse, No Way Home, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness could also serve as a boost for the DC film. That will help make the movie’s opening weekend strong, and if it is followed by good reviews, the DCEU could be looking at its best chance of a second billion-dollar film.
Thor: Love & Thunder (July 7)
The first character in the MCU to receive a fourth solo film, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor will come back to the big screen in Thor: Love & Thunder after a redefining third film and two Avengers movies. Taika Waititi returns to director chair following the innovative take on Thor’s character in Thor: Ragnarok promising more of what made the previous film the highest-grossing Thor movie so far. Thor’s recent character arc has been one of the highlights of the MCU. Having been a fan-favorite character in the fifth and second highest-grossing movies in history, Thor got everything that it takes to carry a solo film to the billion mark. In addition, Love & Thunder will also see Natalie Portman’s return to the franchise as a Jane Foster’s version of Thor.
Avatar 2 (December 16)
It is not hard to make a case for the sequel of the highest-grossing movie of all time. Thirteen years after Avatar revolutionized the film industry, James Cameron will finally show the world Avatar 2. The long-awaited sequel will be the first of four other entries in the franchise and is expected to once again redefine movie-making technology and the overall theater experience.
Even after such much time, the impact that Avatar had on pop culture cannot be ignored. While there might an impression that audiences’ interest in the franchise has faded away, as soon as the marketing campaign for Avatar 2 starts people will be reminded of the once-in-a-lifetime experience of the first film and will probably line up in front of the box office. While Avatar 2 may not surpass the first film earnings, it could break the $2 billion mark, becoming the highest-grossing film of 2022 in the process.