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Box office: Top 10 most likely movie blockbusters to start saving up for in 2024

It’s a new year, which mean new movies, and lots of curious eyes and minds looking forward to what’s ahead and which contenders will be the “Barbenheimer” phenomenon of 2024.

Every year, there are many movies that rake in $300 million or more domestically. Last year there were five, including “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” and “Barbie” both grossing over $500 million. In 2022, there were eight, with half of those grossing over $400 million. In 2019, before the pandemic, five movies grossed more than $400 million and two others came close, but 2018 had significantly less. In other words, there’s never a guarantee that there will be any amount of mega-blockbusters, especially in a year where Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm and James Cameron are less present.

With that in mind, you can scroll through our gallery above (or click here for direct access) to see the Top 10 box office releases coming in 2024 that are likely to be the biggest movie blockbusters, bearing in mind that the order may change based on other factors not currently in play just yet, including quality of trailers, reviews, etc. Glancing at this list, Disney looks to have a much better year than it did in late 2023.

SEE Box office: All time domestic top-grossing movies

  1. Mufasa: The Lion King” (Disney) – Dec. 20

Most years, one major studio blockbuster can dominate the weeks before and after Christmas Day. Barring any surprise “Star Wars” movie, this prequel directed by Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”) – his biggest movie to date – seems like it will offer enough nostalgia combined with newness to stick around through most of January, which is why I think it could be the top-grossing movie of 2024. Some of the voice cast from John Favreau‘s $1.6 billion-grossing 2019 remake of the classic Disney animated film are back, with Aaron Pierre taking over the role of the younger Mufasa, and Kelvin Harrison Jr. voicing his brother Taka, who later becomes Scar.

  1. Deadpool 3” (Disney/Marvel) – July 26

It’s hard to imagine a sequel, let alone a threequel, can be the biggest release of the year, but there’s no denying that pitting Ryan Reynold‘s “Merc with a Mouth” against Hugh Jackman‘s popular X-Man, Wolverine, seems like the perfect way of bringing both popular characters into the MCU. Granted, this pairing already happened in 2009 with “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” but the least said about that fiasco is probably for the better. Director Shawn Levy (“Free Guy”) has worked with both Reynolds and Jackman in the past, and the mix of comedy and action and the potential for cameos from the world of mutants will make this one of the biggest movies of the year, remembering that both previous “Deadpool” movies made over $300 million domestically and $780 million worldwide without that Marvel bump.

  1. Inside Out 2” (Disney/Pixar) – June 14
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In recent years, Pixar Animation hasn’t been quite back at the box office heights of earlier classics with their attempts at creating new original films like last year’s “Elemental.” Directed by Pixar Chief Creative Officer Peter Docter, the original “Inside Out” made $356.4 million domestic and $850.5 million worldwide before winning the Best Animated Feature Oscar. The premise for the sequel is that the young female protagonist of the first movie now a teenager, creating all sorts of new emotions inside her head. Over the next few months, Pixar movies that debuted on Disney+ during the pandemic are receiving theatrical releases, so you can guarantee Disney will be using those to build anticipation for “Inside Out 2,” which is likely to be even bigger.

  1. “Despicable Me 4” (Universal) – July 4

Again, it’s a little disheartening that studios need to keep returning to proven territory to make animated movies work theatrically, but Universal and Illusion Entertainment know the score, and that bringing Steve Carell‘s Gru and his Minions back gives them the ability to print money at the box office. Not a ton is known about the plot, although this installment is written by Mike White of “The White Lotus” and the recent “Migration.” Not that it matters, since people are just gonna be there to watch the lovable Minions act  silly. 2017’s “Despicable Me 3” didn’t quite make $300 million domestic, but it was bookended by two hugely successful “Minions” movies, including 2022’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” which made $370.3 million.

  1. “Beetlejuice 2” (Disney) – Sept. 6

Every once in a while, there’s a sequel that comes along, decades after the original movie, that gets fans excited about leaving their living rooms and going into theaters. We’ll have to see if the reunion of Tim Burton with Michael Keaton for a sequel to the 1988 comedy that put them both on the map will do just that, but Tom Cruise‘s “Top Gun: Maverick” did, and Disney is hoping Keaton’s return as Beetlejuice, joined by super-hot “Wednesday” star Jenna Ortega, will do the same. For this one, Disney is taking the weekend after Labor Day that has led to quite a few horror hits such as “It” and its sequel, but this could be a huge kick-off for the normally slower fall month.

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SEE Grab the popcorn and sound off in our movie forums

  1. “Joker: Folie a Deux” (Warner Bros.) – Oct. 4

Although James Gunn is in the middle of reworking the entire DC Universe, this sequel to Todd Phillips‘ Oscar-winning take on the Batman villain, starring Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix, will look to replicate the 2019 movie’s success, as that grossed $335 million domestically. This time, Phillips and Phoenix are joined by pop icon Lady Gaga, playing Harley Quinn, with a similar release date that could make this the dominant film for much of October.

  1. “The Garfield Movie” (Sony) – May 24

Remember how we mentioned “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” as one of the biggest blockbusters of 2023? Now, take that movie’s voice acting superstar, Chris Pratt, and have him voice arguably one of the most popular and beloved cartoon strip characters that’s been around since the late ’70s. It’s been almost two decades since Bill Murray voiced the lasagna-lovin’ feline, but kids today will have even more reason to see this one.

  1. “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” (Warner Bros.) – May 24

George Miller‘s return to his “Mad Max” franchise with “Mad Max: Fury Road” over 30 years after “Beyond Thunderdome” led to a movie that maybe didn’t blow up at the box office … but it did make more its opening weekend ($45.5 million) than the previous movie made in total theatrically. After taking $153.6 million domestically and $369.9 million globally, it also swept the technical Oscars, winning six. Instead of doing a straight sequel, Miller decided to go back and tell the origin of Charlize Theron‘s Furiosa, as played here by Anya Taylor-Joy with Chris Hemsworth as co-lead. Considering how big a fanbase “Fury Road” has created over the past nine years, expect this one to make $200 million or more domestically. Can we make #GarFuriosa a thing yet?

  1. “Dune: Part Two” (Warner Bros.) – March 1

After being delayed until March, Denis Villeneuve finally completes his two-part adaptation of Frank Herbert‘s classic sci-fi with hot young stars Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya joined by another hot young star in Austin Butler (“Elvis”). The first chapter won six Oscars, all below-the-line, although it came out during the height of COVID in 2021 (released to HBO Max concurrently), which may have limited its box office. That won’t be a problem for Part 2, which opens in less than two months, with many more people having caught Part 1 on streaming.

  1. “Untitled Venom Sequel” (Sony) – Nov. 8
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Although 2024 will be relatively devoid of Marvel and DC films, that won’t stop Sony from releasing three of their own, the strongest of them being the third movie starring Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock aka Spider-Man frenemy Venom, this one written and directed by Kelly Marcel. The fact that both previous movies made almost exactly $213.5 million – the 2021 sequel in the midst of a pandemic – makes it obvious enough movie fans like the character to go see this one in November.

Just for laughs, here are four other movies likely to break into the box office blockbuster mix this summer:

“The Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” (20th Century) – May 10

20th Century brings back its hit sci-fi franchise with Wes Ball (“The Maze Runner”) directing this one, with it having recently been moved up in May after originally taking on “Furiosa” AND “Garfield” over Memorial Day weekend. Oddly, 2017’s “War for the Planet of the Apes” made less than Matt Reeves‘ previous movie, but the premise of world-ruling apes is still quite marketable.

“A Quiet Place: Day One” (Paramount) – June 28

Another prequel released this summer, but this one absent of John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, the stars of the first two movies, will see whether audiences are still interested enough in this sci-fi premise to learn more about how it began. Dijon Hounsou returns in his role from 2021’s “A Quiet Place: Part II”

“The Fall Guy” (Universal) – May 3

Those missing Blunt in the “Quiet Place” prequel will at least have this action-comedy directed by David Leitch (“Bullet Train”) with Ryan Gosling – presumably soon to receive his third Oscar nomination for last year’s mega-blockbuster “Barbie.” (This was just announced to kick off the SXSW Film & TV Festival in March, too.)

“Bad Boys 4” (Sony) – June 12

I’m not even sure that many people even realize that we’re getting this action-comedy reuniting Will Smith and Martin Lawrence with the same directors from the 2020 blockbuster, the top movie of that year with just $200 million as COVID shut theaters down. This should be a good test of Smith’s summer starpower post-Oscar slap.

That’s it for now, but make sure to check back every Wednesday for Gold Derby’s weekend preview, as well as monthly for a look of what’s ahead.

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