Will any 2020 superhero movies reach $1 billion at the box office?

MARGOT ROBBIE as Harley Quinn in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “BIRDS OF PREY (AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN),” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/ & © DC Comic
MARGOT ROBBIE as Harley Quinn in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “BIRDS OF PREY (AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN),” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/ & © DC Comic /

With Birds of Prey nosediving at the box office, should 2020 superhero movies  be wary of potentially lackluster financial returns?

Birds of Prey was supposed to be the first tentpole movie event of the year yet, after three weekends, the Harley Quinn feature has failed to hit $100 million domestically, with only $173 million worldwide.  Sure, its R-rating excludes younger audiences, but tell that to Deadpool or, Joker, which made over $1 billion late last year. Maybe Birds of Prey was never meant to fly so high, given Suicide Squad landed just shy of $750 million. On the other hand, Birds of Prey will be lucky to clinch $250 million at this point, possibly losing money for the studio. Could its poor box office performance be an indicator of things to come for superhero movies?

We have many more live-action comic book movies to look forward to in 2020. Only two are sequels to established franchises, while a few are new-ish entities in expanding movie universes. But up next, with a release date of March 13, is Bloodshot, the Valiant Comics adaptation. The Vin Diesel vehicle is not even close to being in the conversation for $1 billion, as the last non-Marvel/DC superhero movie, Hellboy, completely flopped with $45 million worldwide. It would be surprising if Bloodshot can even compete with Birds of Prey’s numbers.

In April, The New Mutants will have to prove it deserves to see the light of day after Disney swallowed up all of Fox’s films. The X-Men movie was made before the Disney acquisition, similar to X-Men: Dark Phoenix, which arrived in theaters last June. Since the X-films never built up a billion-dollar brand, neither Dark Phoenix nor New Mutants would expect to exceed other films in the franchise. The real problem for New Mutants is that Dark Phoenix brought in the smallest haul of any X-Men movie ever. Disney is probably just hoping for New Mutants to break even.

Related Story. Bloodshot: Everything you need to know. light

Black Widow has the best chance of reaching $1 billion, considering Scarlett Johansson has appeared as the superspy in five billion-dollar MCU blockbusters (four Avengers films and Captain America: Civil War), but perhaps most telling is the performance of last year’s Captain Marvel. Brie Larson’s solo introduction was the first appearance of Captain Marvel in the franchise and exceeded expectations with $1.1 billion worldwide. So if a brand new female superhero can bring home the bacon, the most established Marvel heroine has just as good, if not better, odds.

The MCU will then be introducing the world to The Eternals later this year. Although Kevin Feige’s previous two non-sequels, Black Panther and Captain Marvel, surpassed $1 billion, Eternals may not be comparable. King T’Challa already wowed fans in Captain America: Civil War, and Captain Marvel also starred Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, not to mention Carol Danvers’ link to the last two Avengers epics. With no prior cinematic experience for the heroes in Eternals, the movie may line up closer to Guardians of the Galaxy or Doctor Strange at the box office. That would put it in the $600-$800 million range.

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Sony is dropping two live-action Marvel films in 2020, Morbius and Venom 2. The first Venom didn’t excite critics, yet fans around the world were hooked; 75% of its $856 million came from International revenue. Could the sequel add an additional $150 million, or will viewers who disliked the first one take a pass? Perhaps Venom 2 could be The Dark Knight to Venom’s Batman Begins… not to equate the quality of Venom with Batman Begins, instead focusing on the vast improvement of The Dark Knight after a modest first film. Both Venom and Batman Begins had run-of-the-mill villains, and both failed to reach $1 billion at the box office. Heath Ledger’s Joker helped The Dark Knight hit the mark – could Woody Harrelson’s Carnage give Venom 2 a similar boost?

And a few months before the Venom sequel, Sony will be adding Morbius to its Marvel Universe. One big plus, at least in terms of drawing in audiences, is that Sony will be taking advantage of their MCU Spider-Man deal by connecting those films to Morbius. However, faintly linking the antihero to the billion-dollar Spider-Man: Far From Home will likely not push Morbius over that revenue threshold. If a fan favorite character like Venom finished about $150 million short of a billion dollars in its first outing, the lesser-known Morbius – Marvel’s second most popular vampire – will inevitably not come anywhere close.

Next. Upcoming superhero movie schedule. dark

One of the most anticipated films of the year is Wonder Woman 1984. The Patty Jenkins sequel will be DC’s biggest release in years and should surpass the original’s take of $821 million based on almost universal agreement among fans that Wonder Woman is the DCEU’s best film to date. Fans will surely have to adore WW1984 just as much for it to secure $1 billion. It is worth emphasizing that the only two true sequels coming out this year are follow-ups to movies that did not break $1 billion. Of course, Venom and Wonder Woman were close enough to not count out their sequels, but the lack of guaranteed commercial success only adds pressure to the genre.