With just one day to go before we say ‘ta-ra’ to 2019, now is the time to take a look at the Top Ten highest grossing movies of the year. The box office receipts have been counted, and while there are still a few changes ahead (Star Wars will move further up the list in the coming days), the majority of 2019’s big releases are now in place.
Did Frozen II ice up the box office?
Did Joker laugh its way to the bank?
Has Disney really put a stranglehold over the entire Top Ten?
Read on for more details…
The Top Ten highest grossing movies of 2019 are:
- 10) Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – $724,796,816
- 9) Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw – $758,910,100
- 8) Aladdin – $1,050,693,953
- 7) Joker – $1,062,994,002
- 6) Toy Story 4 – $1,073,394,593
- 5) Captain Marvel – $1,128,274,794
- 4) Spider-Man: Far From Home – $1,131,927,996
- 3) Frozen II – $1,217,590,889
- 2) The Lion King – $1,656,713,458
- 1) Avengers: Endgame – $2,797,800,564
(Source: Box Office Mojo)
So, let’s talk about the Top Ten – and there are some very important things to note.
Firstly, of the ten movies that made it into the Top Ten of 2019, seven of them were Disney movies. Only Hobbs & Shaw, Joker, and Spider-Man: Far From Home were non-Disney movies, and in the case of Spider-Man, Disney did have some involvement in the picture (and received a percentage of the profits too).
Secondly, of the ten movies listed above, eight of them crossed the $1 billion mark ($2 billion in the case of Avengers: Endgame). In a year, where some major movie franchises (X-Men, Terminator, Men in Black etc) have struggled at the box office, others have taken a huge slice of the pie.
What these two things make clear is that Disney is having a great deal of success with its properties and it is soaking up a lot of the money that is being spent at the cinema. So, people are still going to the cinema – despite some seasonal drops – but it’s often to see Disney films rather than movies from other studios.
Avengers: Endgame was the clear success story of 2019 and deservedly so. Marvel Studios played… er… the endgame, and delivered a film built upon more than a decade’s worth of backstory. The film became a huge cultural talking point for 2019 and demonstrated that comic book movies are still hot property.
And of course, comic book movies are still obliterating the box office. Four films in the Top Ten are based on comic book characters, with Captain Marvel doing well, and Spider-Man in particular showing just how huge this character can be.
Spider-Man: Far From Home was not only a big hit this year, the film is also the most financially successful Spider-Man movie of all-time. This current era of Spidey films is doing very well, and long may it continue.
As for other films in the Top Ten, well Toy Story 4 proved that there’s still plenty of life in this tale (surely Toy Story 5 is now a dead cert?) and remaking Aladdin and The Lion King also proved to be a good financial move for the Mouse House. The same could also be said for green lighting Frozen II – even if I was less than excited about it.
Of the non-Disney movies, Joker was a runaway success for Warner Bros. and has made it clear there is a lot of potential for films about Batman villains. Hands up if you would now like to see a Mr. Freeze or Scarecrow solo movie?
Hobbs & Shaw also did well, and gave Universal Pictures an excuse to create more spin-offs for its Fast and Furious franchise. With FF9 due out in 2020, and FF10 set for a 2021 release, expect to see a lot more from this series in the not-too-distant future.
And finally, as mentioned above, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is likely to climb further up the Top Ten, so while it is currently at No.10 in this chart, expect the film to leap over Hobbs & Shaw within the next few days. Despite mixed reviews, The Rise of Skywalker is performing well and is expected to continue its box office assault into January 2019 – possibly crossing $1 billion in the process.
The 2019 box office Top Twenty and beyond
So, that’s the Top Ten – now let’s look at numbers 11 – 20.
Just falling outside of the Top Ten are Ne Zha (11) and The Wandering Earth (12). If you’ve not heard of either of these films it’s not surprising – they’ve not had a huge release internationally, but they did very well in China.
In fact, for quite some time this year, both Ne Zha and The Wandering Earth were sat comfortably within the Top Ten. Which only goes to highlight why Hollywood is so keen to tap into the Chinese market, because it can truly add a huge cash injection to a film’s box office returns.
The remainder of the Top Twenty includes: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (13), Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (14), It Chapter Two (15), Jumanji: The Next Level (16), My People, My Country (17), Pokémon Detective Pikachu (18), The Secret Life of Pets 2 (19) and The Captain (20).
All of these films have finished playing in theatres, except Jumanji: The Next Level, so expect it to move up from its current position. Good reviews, plus the holiday season, is helping it to do good business.
Slipping outside of the Top Twenty are the likes of Alita: Battle Angel (21), Godzilla: King of the Monsters (22), Shazam! (23), Men in Black: International (29) and X-Men: Dark Phoenix (30).
Personally, I feel that Shazam! should have done much better at the box office – especially since it had such good reviews – but for whatever reason, audiences just didn’t seem that interested in catching it in cinemas. However, if you’ve not watched Shazam! yet, then give it a go – it’s a great family film and one of the best comic book movies of 2019.
The box office flops of 2019
2019 had some big flops, including X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Terminator: Dark Fate, Hellboy and Men in Black: International. Sure, some of these made money at the box office, but they should have made much, much more considering they are well-established brands.
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part also struggled this year, only making $191 million from a budget of $99 million. Now, $191 million might seem like a huge chunk of change to you and I (and it is), but bear in mind that 2014’s The Lego Movie made $468 million from a budget of $65 million, so you can see why the sequel was a disappointment.
Doctor Sleep also struggled this year, pretty much arriving in cinemas without any fanfare. The reviews were good, but bad marketing and a bizarre release date (post-Halloween?!?) didn’t do this Stephen King horror story any favours.
And then there was Cats, which is one of the biggest disasters of the year. I’ve provided my thoughts on the movie – feel free to read them at your leisure – but in short, the movie stunk.
Another good year for horror
Despite the lacklustre box office response to Doctor Sleep, 2019 proved to be another good year for horror. The genre is built on low budgets and big returns, and this means that even small box office hits can prove profitable.
The horror genre gained some truly great movies in 2019 including Us, and Midsommar. Meanwhile, Warner Bros.’ Conjuring Universe expanded with two new entries: The Curse of La Llorona and Annabelle Comes Home, while Orion Pictures/United Artists delivered a Child’s Play reboot that was… surprisingly good.
Best film of the year?
I’ve been fairly critical of many films this year, including Star Wars, Men in Black and Godzilla, which all should have been much better. However, films that have stood out for me this year have included Knives Out, Midsommar, Shazam!, and Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.
The best film of the year?
I went into the movie with low expectations, yet was blown away with the end result.
As for my most memorable movie experience this year? Well, I have a few!
Watching the 40th anniversary screening of Superman: The Movie and meeting Jeff East was a highlight, as was watching a triple-bill of Star Wars films with one of my best mates. Although I didn’t care for The Rise of Skywalker, seeing The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and a midnight screening of The Rise of Skywalker was still a heck of a lot of fun.
I also thoroughly enjoyed seeing a four-movie marathon of the Batman Anthology, when all four ‘80s/’90s Batman movies were put on the big screen back in May. A big thank you to Warner Bros. for putting all four of these movies back in cinemas – I seriously never expected to see Batman & Robin given the cinematic treatment again.
Well, I guess that’s a wrap then!
I’ll be popping one or two posts up on It’s A Stampede! later today/tomorrow, but for the most part, thanks for reading what I’ve published this year. 2019 has seen a huge surge in readers and I am grateful to everyone who takes the time to read and/or comment.
I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings.
Happy New Year, folks!