2021 Could Be the Biggest Year Ever at the Box Office

Despite having the highest-grossing movie to ever hit theaters, 2019 isn't having crazy big hay day at the box office; through last weekend, theaters have made $8.4 billion domestically. The year is trending down five and a half points year-to-date compared to last year's box office, which ended up making a record-setting $11.89b stateside. We don't want to pull the cart before the horse by any stretch of the imagination, but after what some would consider an abysmal year at the box office, we wanted to take a quick detour into the future.

Thanks to the news breaking earlier this week that Disney and Sony had come to terms on a new deal to continue sharing live-action Spider-Man rights, we now know Spider-Man 3 is receiving a prime July 2021 date. Then we got looking at the overall release schedule for the year. Not only will Marvel Studios have a record-setting four movies scheduled in the twelve months, but most of the other major studios have jam-packed schedules in place for 2021.

Many might think it's way too early to consider 2021 will be a record-setting year at the box office, but let's take a look at the release schedule and since we've already brought up Marvel, we'll start there. The Kevin Feige outfit will be releasing four films, including Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (February 12th), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 7th), Spider-Man 3 (July 16th), and Taika Waititi's Thor: Love and Thunder (November 5th).

Marvel Studios is likely looking at Shang-Chi as a major play in China, though the studio has found major success stateside with both Black Panther ($700m) and Captain Marvel ($426.83m). Even if Shang-Chi would finish its domestic run at a conservative $300m, there's probably at least another $350m in both Spider-Man 3 and Thor 4 as well as $275m in Doctor Strange 2. Certainly conservatively speaking, at least $1.275b from just one studio is one hell of a start.

That's only half of a studio. Other Disney-owned properties currently set for a 2021 release include Nimona (March 5th), Indiana Jones 5 (July 9th), and Avatar 2 (December 17th). That's not including for untitled live-action films (March 12th, May 28th, October 8th, and December 22nd) or untitled offerings from Pixar (June 18th) and Walt Disney Animation (November 24th).

Whew, one studio down. Then you move across the aisle to Warner Brothers, which has its two most anticipated superhero films in a decade in the Robert Pattinson-starring The Batman (June 25th) and James Gunn's The Suicide Squad on August 6th. Outside of that, WB then has Mortal Kombat (March 5th), Tom & Jerry (April 16th), Space Jam 2 (July 16th), Fantastic Beasts 3 (November 12th) a third Sherlock Holmes on December 22nd, and at least four more untitled movie dates.


If you're keeping track in your head, there's a healthy amount on the table already. That's not including healthy slates from both Universal and Paramount, which include major tentpoles like Fast and Furious 10, Mission: Impossible 7, and Halloween Ends. Then to wrap everything up nice and tight, there's a Rugrats remake (January 29th) also scheduled, Sony's Masters of the Universe remake (March 5th), a Tomb Raider sequel (March 19th), and John Wick: Chapter 4 (May 21st) to help beef up box office returns. Between now and then, it looks like 2018's $11.89b will be the record to break domestically — do you think the 2021 slate can break it?

What movie are you looking forward to most over the course of the next few years? Share your thoughts in the comments below or by tweeting me at @AdamBarnhardt!