What Will Be 2015's Highest Grossing Movie? Avengers: Age of Ultron or Star Wars: The Force Awakens?

Thursday, 30 April 2015 - 10:16AM
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Thursday, 30 April 2015 - 10:16AM
What Will Be 2015's Highest Grossing Movie? Avengers: Age of Ultron or Star Wars: The Force Awakens?
Avengers: Age of Ultron is currently dominating global box-office right now, taking in a whopping $201 million from 44 overseas markets and breaking records in the process. Age of Ultron comes to North America tomorrow and is widely being predicted to smash the record for biggest domestic opening of all time. That record is held by Joss Whedon's first Avengers movie, which took in $207.4m when it opened in May 2012, but the more bullish forecasts suggest that Age of Ultron could go on to beat that record by as much as $20m, bringing in anywhere from $210m - $230m.

But while Avengers: Age of Ultron has the limelight right now, the latter part of 2015 will belong to another of Disney's franchises...Star Wars. When JJ Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18th, many fans and pundits are saying it will be one of the biggest movie events of all time. Yet, when we spoke to fans at Wonder Con earlier this month, we found that many were unsure whether the 'Galaxy Far Far Away' has what it takes to beat Marvel's big summer tentpole at the box office.

Which movie will earn more money at the box-office? Read the arguments below and let us know in the fan poll at the bottom of the page. 


Avengers: Age of Ultron




Timing
Speak to any box-office analyst about this battle, and they'll tell you that Avengers: Age of Ultron holds one major advantage over Star Wars: The Force Awakens....timing. Joss Whedon's movie is hitting theaters in a slot that has consistently produced some of the biggest box-office hauls the region has ever seen. The top two domestic openings of all time, Iron Man 3 (2013) and Avengers (2012), both had May release dates, while movies released during the wider Summer season (May-August) make up 7 of the top-10 and 15 of the top-20 grossing movies of all time. Star Wars: The Force Awakens, however, is hitting theaters on December 18th, but we'll explore the relative merits of that date a bit later.

Marvel Mania
Following the success of movies like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel's stock with fans appears to be at an all-time high right now. Many predicted that Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie about one of Marvel's lesser known properties, could be the studio's undoing, but they were clearly wrong, and it now appears that the comic book giant can do no wrong. In fact, much of the 3 years since the release of the first Avengers movie has been spent building momentum for Joss Whedon's sequel....

7 Years in the Making
Before Iron Man hit theaters in 2008, the idea of a unified cinematic universe was something of a novelty. 7 years and 14 movies later and Marvel's Cinematic Universe has become the highest-grossing movie franchise of all time, a spot it secured with the release of last year's Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Now it would seem that everybody is trying to mimic that success with their own unified approach to storytelling. Whether they succeed or will not overly bother the execs at Disney and Marvel, because they know that they have the jump on the entire industry. With 7 consecutive years of movies and TV shows under their belt, Marvel's momentum is unprecedented and is arguably their strongest card in the battle for box office supremacy. Sure, Star Wars is about as big a name as you will find in the entertainment industry, but that particular franchise is only just making its return to the big screen after a 10-year hiatus. The fact is, Marvel has managed to ensure that millions of people are emotionally invested in their storytelling efforts, and it's for that reason alone that Avengers: Age of Ultron is looking like a safe bet to crush its predecessor's box-office records.


Star Wars: The Force Awakens




Those Trailers
Marvel's biggest advantage may be momentum, but Star Wars is not too far behind. The Disney marketing machine has done an excellent job of building interest in its new franchise, while still managing to keep an element of allure about the stories that are about to be told. Such is the power of the Star Wars name that the first 2 teaser trailers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens have broken records for the number of views they received online. Though it is hard to make a direct comparison between trailer views for different movies, the figures of 66m and 88m in the first 24 hours of the 1st and 2nd 'The Force Awakens' teasers are hard to ignore, especially when you consider that the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer received 34m views in its first day. If people are that excited about the trailers, just imagine what will happen when the movie is released on December 18th.

Star Wars Celebration Taught Us A Lot
While the reveal of the 2nd Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer was the big draw for Star Wars Celebration, the level of engagement for the rest of the 4 day event in Anaheim was overwhelming. Selling out every single ticket available and attracting a global audience online, Star Wars Celebration taught us that this is still the most powerful entertainment franchise in the world. Think about it. We haven't seen a new Star Wars movie since Revenge of the Sith closed out George Lucas's prequel trilogy back in 2005, and that series of movies was widely denounced by the vast majority of Star Wars fans, yet millions of us still remain at unhealthy levels of excitement as we await the franchise's next installment. When speaking to fellow fans at Star Wars Celebration it was clear that they have a renewed sense of hope that JJ Abrams is going to deliver the movie that they feel the franchise deserves, and this optimism may well carry The Force Awakens to victory at the 2015 box office.

Don't Knock a Winter Release Date
Though the summer season is clearly a great time to maximize box office receipts, it's possible that a release date's importance can be overstated. The top 2 highest-grossing movies of all time, Avatar (2009) and Titanic (1997) were both released in the winter months. In fact, the latter of the two was actually released on December 19th, an almost identical slot to the one being occupied by Star Wars: The Force Awakens this year. It's hard to imagine that the millions of people who tuned in to watch a trailer revealed live on the internet wouldn't want to go and see that same movie on its opening weekend, purely because it was December. If you're a Star Wars fan, like so many people out there are, you're going to be watching that movie at the earliest possible moment and no snow drifts or family holiday parties are going to stop you. There were lines of people camping out overnight to watch the 2nd and 3rd installments of George Lucas's original trilogy back in the 80's, and while that won't happen this time round, because technology, expect the likes of Fandango and MovieTickets.com to become absolutely swamped when those tickets are made available for presale.


Who Wins?


Whatever the result is, there's one clear winner in all of this, and that's Disney. The House of Mouse is now the proud owner of what will likely become the number 1 and number 2 top-grossing movie franchises of all time. With over a dozen movies scheduled between the two over the next 5 years, Disney's outlook has never been better.

But what about the battle for the title of 2015's biggest movie? While nothing is set in stone, it's hard to imagine that Star Wars: The Force Awakens' December release date will be enough to stop it from becoming the biggest movie of the year, if not of all time. The incredible response to the release of the movie's trailers, coupled with the huge global interest in Star Wars Celebration earlier this month has proven that our collective fascination with the Star Wars franchise has never been more intense. 

Have Your Say:
What Will Be the Top-Selling Movie of 2015?
What Will Be the Top-Selling Movie of 2015?
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Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Avengers: Age of Ultron