Food for Thought: Could Universal Be the Box Office Champion of the Year?


In this new editorial, Food for Thought, we will be taking a popular story in the world of movie news and really analyse it. We'll talk in depth about the pros and cons of the story and really get our hands dirty . Now, these topics will be more than a casting choice or something we can easily write an article about otherwise; these will feature more grey topics and highly opinionated discussions. So, without further adieu, let's get started!

In this installment, we will talk about whether Universal could actually end up being box office champion of 2015.


For 2015, everyone pretty much assumed that Disney would walk about being the most profitable studio. Initially looking at their line-up, they have two giant heavy-hitters in the forms of Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Each was guaranteed to make at least $1 billion, and maybe even $2 billion. They also had a couple others that would make a lot of money, just not nearly as much as those two. They had Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur, two Pixar films for kids, and Pixar movies have been known to make a lot of money. They also had Cinderella and Tomorrowland, both of which looked like they could make a good amount of money. So a lot of people assumed that Disney was going to end up making the most money. But I would like to challenge that.

Through unexpected success (and setbacks), I think Universal will end up making the most money. Let's take a look at their line-up for 2015. 

Blackhat- $17 million worldwide on a $70 million budget (failure)
The Boy Next Door- $50 million worldwide on a $4 million budget (success)
Ex Machina- $35 million worldwide on an unknown budget (probably broke even)
Fifty Shades of Grey- $569 million worldwide on a $40 million budget (success)
Furious 7- $1.5 billion worldwide on a $190 million budget (huge success)
Pitch Perfect 2- $259 million worldwide on an unknown budget (probably a success)
Jurassic World- $500 million in only three days on a $150 million budget
Trainwreck- Unreleased, but should at least break even
Minions- Unreleased, but will probably break $1 billion. The last Despicable Me movie made $970 million worldwide
Ted 2- Unreleased, but will probably be a success. The first one made $549 million worldwide
The Gift- Unreleased, but should at least break even
Straight Outta Compton- Unreleased, but should at least break even
The Visit- Unreleased, but should at least break even. It may even lose money because it's M. Night Shyamalan
Everest- Unreleased, but should at least break even.
Steve Jobs- Unreleased, but will probably be a success, considering the talent and the story
Crimson Peak- Unreleased, but will probably be a success, considering it's Guillermo del Toro
Jem and the Holograms- Unreleased, but should at least break even. It won't make much money, but it depends on the budget
By the Sea- Unreleased, but will probably be a success
Sisters- Unreleased, but should be a success, considering how popular Amy Poehler is right now


While Disney may have two heavy-hitters, Universal has a lot more unexpected successes. They have three potentially billion dollar movies on that list. Furious 7 has already made $1.5 billion. Jurassic World has made $500 million in just three days, so I have no doubt it will cross $1 billion, and will probably end up with $1.7 billion by the end. Minions will definitely cross the mark, considering how successful the previous films have been. Right there is over $3 billion. Then you have to consider the other successes they have had: Pitch Perfect 2, Fifty Shades of Grey and The Boy Next Door all made more money than the studio was expecting. Right now, their only failure was Blackhat, which lost probably them $80-90 million. And some of those other releases could be big. Ted 2 will probably make $500-700 million. By the end of the year, Universal could very well have made $4.5 billion in total, give or take half a billion. Now let's look at Disney's line-up:

Strange Magic- $12 million domestic (worldwide N/A) on a $95 million budget (failure)
McFarland, USA- $44 million worldwide on a $17 million budget (probably broke even)
Cinderella- $532 million worldwide on a $93 million budget (success)
Avengers: Age of Ultron- $1.3 billion on a $250 million budget (huge success)
Tomorrowland- $177 million on a $190 million budget (huge failure)
Inside Out- Unreleased, but will probably make a good amount of money
Ant-Man- Unreleased, but will probably be a success
Bridge of Spies- Unreleased, but will probably break even
The Good Dinosaur- Unreleased, but will probably make a good amount of money
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens- Unreleased, but will be a huge success


Like I said before, Disney is really relying on Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens to make them their money. But I think Disney was expecting Age of Ultron to be a $2 billion dollar movie, and it's slacking a bit compared to the first one. Don't get me wrong: they're jumping with joy over $1.3 billion, but I think they were expecting it to be a bigger hit. Strange Magic lost them money, but Tomorrowland is their biggest loss. They're estimating losing over $140 million because of that movie, then they were expecting it to make them a good amount of money. You can read my full article on that here. The two Pixar films will make them money, and Ant-Man will probably make $500-600 million worldwide. But the big question here is Star Wars. It has the potential to break $2 billion. If it does, then it could give Disney a bit of an edge over Universal.

So right now, it's looking like Universal will take the lead by the end of the year. They have potentially three billion dollar movies, as well as several other surprise successes. But Disney has two huge heavy hitters. Like I said, it all depends on Star Wars. If it makes over $2 billion, then Universal is going to have a real run for its money. Look, I can't predict the future. But from everything I've seen/heard, it looks like Universal may walk away the king of the box office for 2015. But it is only June. If Universal's other films flop and Disney has some surprise hits and record-breaking numbers with Star Wars, then the entire dynamic will change. But right now, it's looking like Universal will win.


What do you think? Will Universal make the most money this year? Will Disney? Will another studio? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Written by: Nate 
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