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Our predictions for 2008's biggest box office movies

Posted Friday, January 11, 2008 at 4:43 PM Central

by Tim Briscoe

It's become a tradition around here for us to predict the big box office winners at the outset of the year. Today seems as good a day as any to step out on that limb.

Turns out, we didn't do all that bad with our forecast last year. We had Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third, Pirates of the Caribbean 3, Harry Potter 5, and Bourne 3 as the top five for 2007. The actual list was: Spidey 3, Shrek 3, Transformers, Pirates 3, and Harry Potter 5.

As for our luck with movies six through 15 -- not so much. What were we thinking putting Fred Claus and Grind House up that high? Oh well, nobody can be perfect.

Here are the predictions of my cohort John Couture and myself for the biggest movies at the box office in 2008.

  1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - Harrison Ford dons the fedora and whip for the first time in 19 years. This is as much a sure bet as Spider-Man 3 was last year. Put it down for $365 million.
  2. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian - The first Narnia movie did an amazing $291 million. This is the only film in the bunch that will contest Indy. Estimate: $317 million.
  3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - The sixth film gets even darker. We're betting that means interest from an even broader audience. A gross of $288 millions sounds about right.
  4. The Dark Knight - The hoopla around this second in director Christopher Nolan's Batman series is already at amazing heights. Will the buzz last until the movie's release in July? Probably. Expect around $245 million.
  5. James Bond 22 - This is the real dark horse of the list. The latest 007 movie could be #5 or it could be #15, largely depending on other films' performances. A tally around the $185 million mark is not out of the question.
  6. Hancock - I Am Legend is proving Will Smith has returned as a big box office heavyweight. It's already done a remarkable $228 million this season. Now he's back as the king of movies released on the July 4 holiday. Put big Will down for $179 million.
  7. Star Trek - Director J.J. Abrams breathes new life into this tired, old franchise with a prequel. We're expecting records to be broken for its Christmas Day release. It'll boldly go to $165 million.
  8. Iron Man - Is America getting tired of comic book movies? Not exactly, but this one won't match up to Spider-Man and X-men levels. $162 million is a lead-pipe cinch.
  9. Wall-E - Could this be Pixar's first bust? I thought a movie about a rat with a funny French name would be so what do I know. But still, this movie has little to no dialogue. Our expectations are tempered at $148 million.
  10. Speed Racer - Can the Wachoskis pull of this live-action re-imagining of the '60s cartoon? We're not so sure. The trailer looks awfully psychedelic. Go for $140 million.
  11. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - Indy is bound to steal a lot of this movie's thunder. Plus, Rachel Weisz is not returning for this third movie. Estimate: $137 million.
  12. Madagascar: The Crate Escape - The four main animal characters from the 2005 hit are back but what about those scene-stealing penguins? Regardless, it won't live up to the performance of the first one. Pencil it in for $133 million.
  13. The Incredible Hulk - Yeah, the 2003 Hulk movie stunk it up. This one promises to be better. We have to give it the benefit of the doubt with Edward Norton as the big green guy. Prediction: $128 million.
  14. The Love Guru - Mike Myers returns in his first live-action role since 2003. We think he still has what it takes. Slot him in for $124 million.
  15. Hellboy II: The Golden Army - Director Guillermo del Toro's career has gotten a lot of critical acclaim since the first Hellboy. Plus, the 2004 film did remarkably well on DVD. Both of these elements signal a $121 million success.