ByJerome Maida, writer at Creators.co
Writer
Jerome Maida

The Cinematic Chicken Littles never learn.

Last year, it seemed every Hollywood writer was declaring 2013 the Year of The Bomb - and cited films like "Elysium" ($93 million total domestic take) and "The Lone Ranger" ($89 million domestic take) as examples. Which is itself absurd. A lot of films would love to "fail" that way.

Everyone seemed to ignore the fact that films like "Iron Man 3" ($409 million domestic take), and "Despicable Me 2" ( $368 million domestic take) wildly exceeded expectations. To a lesser degree, so did films like "World War Z".

2013 did need a monster Fall and Holiday Season to set a new yearly record for domestic box-office. Starting with the surprising success of "Gravity" ($274 million) and then continuing with the expected monster box-office trifecta of "Thor: The Dark World" (#206 million domestic take), "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" ($424 million domestic take) and "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" ($258 million domestic take).

While "Smaug" underperformed, it was more than offset by both Katniss Everdeen and the God of Thunder improving on the box-office their immediate predecessors had, as well smaller hits that did much better than expected, like "American Hustle" ($150 million domestic take).

Even with all that, it was a film no one saw coming that pushed the 2013 domestic box-office to a new record.

It's name was "Frozen". You may have heard of it.

When people forecast the box-office for the film, it was generally predicted it would likely fall below Disney's "Tangled", which grossed $200 million domestically, because "Rapunzel", the story on which "Tangled" was based was more well known than the story on which "Frozen" was based, "The Snow Queen".

People would have been called crazy if they predicted a $300 million domestic take for the film, so that makes it's $400 million final domestic tally that much more amazing.

When all was said and done, a record 35 films released in 2013 crossed the $100 million mark domestically; 13 crossed the $200 million mark; four crossed the $300 million mark and an amazing three crossed the $400 million mark.

It all added up to a new yearly record in 2013..

Not bad for the "Year of the Bomb".

The same thing is going to happen in 2014.

The press has been hammering away since May how the Summer of 2014 has been "disappointing" at the domestic box-office.

This fails to take into account that a film that would traditionally be released in summer, "Captain America: The Winter Soldier", set a new record being released in April, technically Spring, and has generated $259 million domestically so far.

It also doesn't take into account that a lot of these post-mortems took place fro May until July.

Then August, typically the slowest Summer month in terms of ticket sales, was graced by the breakout hit of the year, "Guardians of the Galaxy", which traditionally would have been released in May, June or July.

The Marvel Studios hit has grossed an amazing $313 million domestically so far.

Combined with the reboot of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles", which has grossed an almost equally surprising $185 million domestically, the gap by which 2014's box-office totals has narrowed considerably.

There is a possibility 2014 will prove to have a deeper "bench" than 2013. So far, 22 films have crossed the $100 million mark, from "Guardians of the Galaxy" to "Edge of Tomorrow". That leaves 14 more films to cross the threshold in the next three-and-a-half months.

First, although there is no Marvel Studios movie this Fall, there are still four films that are basically guaranteed to combine for $1 billion domestically, maybe even far more: "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part1"; "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies"; "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" and "Interstellar".

"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" may take a small dip from the incredible $424 million domestic take of "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire". But it's just as likely it could defy history again and edge up a bit from it's predecessor. It still seems assured that "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1" hits the $400 million mark domestically.

Then there is the last film in "The Hobbit" trilogy. Due to lukewarm word-of-mouth for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", 2013's "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" had a low - for the franchise - opening weekend and became the first film in "The Lord Of The Rings" franchise to gross less than $300 million at the domestic box-office.

With better reception for "Smaug" and the feeling that this will be the last new tale told in this franchise, there should be more buzz - and revenue - for the last installment. Figure "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" to cross the $300 million mark.

People were talking about the potential "Captain America 3" versus "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" same weekend showdown? "The Battle of the Five Armies" opens the same weekend as "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" and "Annie". That's December 19. Right before Christmas.

Those films alone are stronger than last December's fare, which included huge flops like "Grudge Match" and "47 Ronin".

People tend to forget just how popular the "Night at the Museum" franchise has been.

The original grossed over $250 million domestically, while the second film in the franchise, "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian", grossed $177 million. Adjusted for inflation, the first film grossed $301 million domestically, while the second grossed $193 million.

With a strong trailer, a December 19 release date - plus those who will want to see Robin Williams onscreen - it would not surprise if "Secret of the Tomb" hit the $250 million domestically and it would be a major shock if it finished with less than $200 million.

The final member of my "Big Four" is "Interstellar". Again, the trailer is strong, it has top talent, trailers have been shown non-stop, it's considered awards-worthy and Christopher Nolan has an astounding recent rate of box-office success.

The most recent comparable film would be "Inception", which grossed an incredible $292 million domestically in 2010 - meaning it would gross over $300 million today with the same attendance.

Possible pitfalls are that people feel the film is tooo serious, not relatable or that Nolan's stock is slightly lower now than right after "The Dark Knight".

Still it's hard to see "Interstellar" making a penny less that $200 million domestically.

So that would give 2014 a total of 26 films with over $100 million.

Of the remaining films on the schedule, "The Equalizer", "Horrible Bosses 2", "The Penguins of Madagascar" and "Exodus: Gods and Kings" look like sure bets to pass the mark.

That would make 30 films over the $100 million mark in 2014.

"The Maze Runner", "The Boxtrolls", "Gone Girl", "The Judge" , "Fury", Annie" and "Dumb and Dumber To" are also strong candidates to hit the mark.

Which would make 37 films hitting the mark in 2014.

Of course, there is always a chance a few of these movies will underperform.

In which case, 2014 would need a "Frozen"-like hit to pick up the slack.

The best candidate to that is "Big Hero 6". The marketing campaign has been strong and it seems both children and adults are laughing at the trailers.

"Big Hero 6" is a cinch to hit $100 million but is very likely to double that - or do even better. Depends on opening weekend and if the film is any good.

Whatever happens, it is starting to look pretty good that the 2014 Domestic Box-Office will supersede 2013's and set another record.

Proving the doomsayers wrong, yet again.

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