No box office mojo
By Craig Allan, Staff Writer
This will be the first time in almost 30 years that Sony has reached the top of the box office.
When this year began, if bets were being taken for what the top films of the year 2020 were going to be, anyone who bet on films like James Bond, Marvel’s Black Widow, or Jordan Peele’s Candyman, would not have received a high return on their bet. However, in a year in which theatres have been ravaged by COVID and those films disappeared off the schedule, films with little-to-no expectations were able to rise to the top and become artificial kings of the box office. Here are some of the unexpected champions and anomalies of the abnormal 2020 box office. Note that this list will only include the domestic box office results.
First is the number one film of this year. As of November 26, the highest grossing film of 2020 is Bad Boys for Life. The film so far has grossed $206,305,244 and is the only film in 2020 to gross over $200 million. To make a comparison, last year’s highest grossing film, Avengers: Endgame, grossed $858,373,000 and was one of 11 films to make over $200 million. If Bad Boys for Life is placed in that year, it would only finish in 12th place.
Bad Boys for Life was released by Sony Pictures Entertainment. If they are able to hold the top of the box office, this will be the first time in almost 30 years that Sony has reached the top of the box office. The last movie to do this was Terminator 2: Judgement Day, which was the number one film in the year of 1991. The title of number one film at the box office normally belongs to Disney, who has won the title every year since 2015 and eight of the last 10 years. This year that will not be the case, as not only does Disney not have the number one spot at the box office… they don’t even have a film in the top five. The highest grossing film they have this year is Call of the Wild—which is currently holding sixth place and was a holdover film from the studio’s 20th Century Fox acquisition.
If judging the year by the calendar gross, the herd thins out even more, with four films in the top 10 that were actually released last year, like 1917 (second) and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (fifth). The calendar year also shows that none of the films in the top 10 debuted after March, with Tenet being the closest post March release at number 14.
Some of the biggest films in the last 20 years have been comic book superhero films, with many of them frequenting the top 10. This year will be vastly different, as it will be the first year since 2009 that the Marvel Cinematic Universe does not release a film in its long running series. The only film Marvel was able to release this year was The New Mutants, which, like Call of the Wild, was a holdover from the 20th Century Fox acquisition and had been sitting on the shelf for almost three years. Instead, the highest grossing comic book movie of the year will be Warner Bros DC Extended Universe film Birds of Prey.
Though, this year will be a shining light for one film genre that has often been ridiculed: the video game movie adaptation. After years of futility at the box office, and incremental climbs over the last decade, this year will see the speedy Sonic the Hedgehog breakthrough on the charts for the video game movies. The movie is claiming the title of highest grossing video game movie and highest ranking video game movie of all time, finishing second at the calendar year box office with $146,066,470. A successful, yet slightly hollow win for the genre.
Despite this odd year, we could see the box office go in the opposite direction next year due to so many films being moved. Next year could see a huge boost due to two years of tent-pole movies being released in one year. If anything, the 2020 box office is a snapshot of this time, as anyone looking at the box office for this year in the future will likely not understand that sudden drop in money if they are not aware of the damages of COVID.