While certain billionaires and industries were able to navigate the changing economy under 2020’s new guidelines, many entertainment-based industries struggled to stay open during the extenuating circumstances. Many businesses were impacted greatly and had to adapt to a new structure, but none were as threatened as movie theaters.
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A cultural staple reliant on their closed off spaces and concessions, theaters served as a haven from home to enjoy upcoming films and escape from the chaos of changing times.
But due to a mix of stay at home orders and limited capacity requirements, several theaters were forced to face the inevitable.
Alamo Drafthouse, a major player in the dine-in cinema scene, filed for bankruptcy. AMC, despite its newsworthy headlines from its GameStop and Reddit rallying, struggled through several financially difficult moments as the company reportedly lost $4.6 billion in 2020 from the pandemic.
But as spring looms around the corner for 2021, new opportunities and rule-adjustments have created several opportunities for theaters to reopen.
Several films with large budgets are being used as collateral for the theater to regain their footing and maintain their reputation as a cultural epicenter for communities.
These films are some of the most-anticipated, top-budgeted films that may hold the key for saving the movie theater in 2021.
15 Pinocchio, $35 million
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This Disney classic is being turned into a stop-motion dark fantasy with Guillermo del Toro taking the reins as director.
Previously, del Toro’s latest release as a director was the Academy Award-winning film The Shape of Water. With a humble budget of $19.4 million, the film went on to accumulate a world-wide gross of over $195 million.
Stop-motion animation is also known for attracting audiences to the theater. The classic film Chicken Run earned over $220 million world-wide and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit earned just under $200 million in 2005.
14 Mortal Kombat, $50 million
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Making millions is nothing new when it comes to the Mortal Kombat franchise. The last game to be released, Mortal Kombat 11, made headlines when over 8 million copies of the game were sold.
With an already-devoted fan base, the film adaptations of the game have done well in the past. The 1995 movie had a total budget of $20 million, which it recouped during its opening weekend.
13 Tom & Jerry, $50 million
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Based on the iconic characters originally created by Hanna and Barbera, this film was released in February of 2021. In just a few weeks, the film has already made over $67 million world-wide.
As theaters reopen, Tom & Jerry will be the first animated feature film audiences will have the chance to see, giving both kids and their parents who grew up watching the original series a reason to attend.
12 West Side Story, $100 million
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This remake of the musical classic will feature TikTok influencer and dance sensation Maddie Ziegler, whose over 10 million followers might be interested in the film.
It is also being produced and directed by noteworthy millionaire Steven Spielberg.
His previous films have grossed astonishing sums including 1993’s Jurassic Park which earned over $1 billion and 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull which earned over $786 million.
11 Sherlock Homes 3, $107 million
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This will be the third installment of the Sherlock Holmes series and will again star Robert Downey Jr. as the lead.
The original release of the new franchise earned over $524 million world-wide and its successful sequel earned over $543 million.
10 Top Gun: Maverick, $150 million
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A remake of the 1980’s classic will feature Tom Cruise reprising his role as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.
The original film had a much smaller budget of around $15 million but managed to gross over $356 million world-wide. If the new installment of the film performed within that same ratio, it would be expected to earn over $3 billion.
9 Dune, $165 million
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Dune is the riskiest franchise on this list. The original movie was considered a flop and earned a meager $30 million worldwide, less than this new adaptations budget. The project was controversial and is often abandoned by its original director David Lynch.
Another remake was attempted by surrealist artist Alejandro Jodorowsky and was ambitious, casting icons such as Salvador Dali, Orson Welles, and Mick Jagger. The film was never released, but a documentary about the experience came out in 2013.
With a star-studded cast featuring Zendaya and Timothée Chalamet, this film is expected to break the curse.
8 Ghostbusters: Afterlife, $170 million
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Originally released in 1984, this cult classic film also profited from mainstream revenue, earning over $600 million in world-wide gross.
With an original production budget of $30 million, the original film was able to gross over 9.8 times its budget. If that same ratio could preform today, this new addition to the franchise could gross over $1 billion.
7 Space Jam 2: A New Legacy, $183 million
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LeBron James is set to star in this new addition to the Looney Tunes universe.
The film was shot in California, earning a $21.8 million tax break.
The original budget for the cult-classic film was only $80 million but managed to gross over $187 million domestically. If the same ratio holds, Space Jam 2 could be set to make over $400 million domestically.
6 F9, $200 million
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This latest installment in the Fast and Furious franchise is set to peak summer with a release date of June 25, 2021.
The series is known for setting records and recording achievements. When the seventh installment in the series was released, it earned over $384 million during its opening weekend.
5 The Suicide Squad ~$200 million
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One of the largest DC universe properties is the Suicide Squad series. Featuring some of the most iconic villains from the universe, the original film earned over $746 million worldwide.
This latest film will be directed by James Gunn who is also known for his financially successful Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.
4 Godzilla vs. Kong, $200 million
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While no longer in stop motion, this big budget monster movie is set to be released in March of 2021. It is anticipated to be one of the most financially successful films of the year.
Set to be a sequel to Kong: Skull Island, this new project has been stirring up excitement since its original announcement in October of 2015.
3 Mission: Impossible 7, ~$200 million
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Both Tom Cruise and the Mission Impossible series are known for their ability to generate income.
Cruise’s highest grossing film of all time was Mission: Impossible – Fallout, earning over $791 million. This was almost $100 million more than his second highest grossing film of all time Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
2 No Time to Die, $250 million
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Set to be the 25th installment of the legendary James Bond series, No Time to Die will be Daniel Craig’s last time reprising the role of British MI6 agent James Bond, making it a hot commodity to see in the theater.
The film has already earned critical acclaim prior to its release when Billie Eilish earned a Grammy for Best Visual-Media Song for her contribution to the soundtrack.
1 Spider-Man: No Way Home, $258 million
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Featuring an iconic cast of fan favorite Peter Parker Tom Holland and Zendaya starring as MJ, this Marvel adventure film is set to release in December of 2021.
As the most anticipated film of 2021 with one of the largest budgets, this film is expected to out-preform its latest release Spider-Man: Far From Home which earned over $1 billion worldwide.
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Sources: Forbes, Vulture, TheNumbers, RottenTomatoes, ComicBook, MSN, NY Times, LA Times, BoxOfficeMojo, IMDb, USA Today
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