These 7 Sequels Will Dominate the Box Office in 2014

Thanks to massive late-year pushes from sequels including Lionsgate's (NYSE: LGF  ) The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX  ) The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, domestic movie-goers have spent more than $10.7 billion at the box office so far in 2013. 

That's nearly a full percentage point ahead of the $10.61 billion at this point in 2012, which means 2013 could very well exceed last year's fresh $10.8 billion high mark. 

But several other big-budget sequels played a large part in running up the score this year, including the likes of Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) Marvel's Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, Disney Pixar's Monster's University, and both Despicable Me 2 and Fast & Furious 6 from Comcast Universal.

Naturally, the world's most powerful studios are hard at work bringing a new round of sequels your way next year. In order of appearance, here are the seven I think will command the most attention in 2014:

1. 300: Rise of an Empire

Image source: Time Warner

On March 7, Time Warner hopes to win big with another gory, quasi-historical action flick in 300: Rise of an Empire.

And if the runaway success of its 2007 predecessor is any indication, this latest graphic-novel-turned-movie-blockbuster should do just fine. Remember, despite limiting its audience with an unsurprising "R" rating, 300 still managed to earn an impressive $456 million worldwide on a relatively modest $65 million production budget.

Time Warner hasn't released official budget numbers this time around for Rise of an Empire. But given the sheer anticipation created by the massive looming battle at the end of the first filmit seems safe to bet they upped the ante in their efforts to pick up where 300 left off.

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Image source: Disney/Marvel

Next, Disney looks to continue its Marvel-driven box office domination with the April 4 launch of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

At first glance, it's tempting to think this sequel may not perform all that well when you remember Captain America: The First Avenger took home "just" $370.6 million globally in 2011. That's the second-lowest total of any film in the current Disney-Marvel cinematic universe, ahead of only the $263.4 million earned by 2008's The Incredible Hulk -- which was produced before Disney acquired Marvel in 2009, by the way -- and less than one quarter of the $1.52 billion achieved by Marvel's The Avengers last year.

But consider this: Thanks largely to its Avengers boost, Thor: The Dark World has already earned more than $628 million worldwide after just seven weekends in theaters, compared to $449.3 million over 16 weekends for the first Thor in 2011. If The Winter Soldier follows a similar upward trajectory a few months from now, it should easily be able to eclipse the $550 million mark when all is said and done.

3. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Image source: Sony Pictures

Speaking of potential billion-dollar comic book-based movies, you can be sure Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) Pictures wants to steal the show with its May 2 debut of The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

And why not? Its risky reboot in The Amazing Spider-Man last year grabbed an impressive $752.2 million after 15 weekends on the big screen, nearly two-thirds of which came from foreign audiences. This time, the second installment should not only benefit from the ever-growing star power of leading lady Emma Stone, but also from having Jamie Foxx portraying Spidey's next supervillain antagonist, Electro.

All things considered, that's why I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see the The Amazing Spider-Man 2 near the top of 2014's highest-grossing films.

4. How to Train Your Dragon 2

Image source: Dreamworks

Then on June 13, Dreamworks Animation (NASDAQ: DWA  ) plans to heat things up with How to Train Your Dragon 2.

At least Dreamworks had better hope so; By that time, How to Train Your Dragon 2 will be more than four years in the making (the sequel was announced in April 2010), and likely boasts a production budget at least as large as the $165 million required to create the first movie.

But that doesn't mean How to Train Your Dragon 2 is doomed to failure; the original grossed a solid $494.9 million globally over 17 weeks.  What's more, Dreamworks was later able to successfully segue the franchise into a popular TV series named Dragons: Riders of Berk, which began airing on Cartoon Network in August 2012 and serves as an effective bridge between the first film and next year's sequel.

5. Transformers: Age of Extinction

Image source: Viacom

On June 27, Viacom's (NASDAQ: VIAB  ) Paramount Pictures is bringing out the big guns with the fourth film of its blockbuster alien robot franchise, Transformers: Age of Extinction.

And it's tough to blame them for sticking with it: The first three movies in 2007, 2009, and 2011 earned jaw-dropping worldwide grosses of $709.7 million, $836.3 million, and $1.12 billion, respectively. But there also exists significant risks this time around with regard to the film's widely publicized cast shake-ups -- and no, Bumblebee isn't going anywhere. Specifically, the franchise will move forward without lead actor Shia LaBeouf, and Age of Extinction. Audiences will be treated instead to healthy doses of Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, and Kelsey Grammar.

Call me crazy, but something tells movie-goers didn't spend more than a billion dollars last time to watch LaBeouf do his thing. As long as everybody's favorite automatons stay in play, Transformers: Age of Extinction should do just fine.

6. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1

Image source: Scholastic Press

Then on Nov. 21, Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment will continue their latest massive book-based franchise in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1

The first two Hunger Games films have proven massive successes, with Catching Fire most recently setting the record for highest-ever November debut, then following up in week-two by smashing the Thanksgiving weekend record set by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 12 years ago. As of yesterday morning, Catching Fire had taken an impressive $778 million globally, well ahead of the $691.2 million earned by the first Hunger Games in early 2012.

In the end, barring our world's decent into the scary dystopian future The Hunger Games describes, there seems to be little standing in the way of Mockingjay, Part 1 from building on that momentum.

7. The Hobbit: There and Back Again 

Image source: Time Warner

Finally, Time Warner will once again close out the year, with the Dec. 17 launch of The Hobbit: There and Back Again.

Incidentally, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has absolutely dominated the box office since hitting the big screen on Dec. 13, grabbing a stellar $446.8 million worldwide during its first 15 days. But that's also well off the pace of 2012's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which enjoyed an even faster start and ultimately gained over $1 billion in gross ticket sales.

Given the estimated $250 million budget for There and Back Again, however, even a fraction of its predecessors' successes would be more than enough to prove worth Time Warner's while. So rest assured, Hobbit fans, because your favorite franchise isn't going anywhere.

There's more where that came from...

Keep in mind this certainly isn't an exhaustive list, and there are several other aspiring new franchises -- some even originating from the very same companies I named above -- which will attempt to steal the spotlight from these established winners.

Regardless of the competition, though, I'm still convinced each of the aforementioned titles will effectively continue their legacy in 2014.

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Read/Post Comments (23) | Recommend This Article (31)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 12:46 PM, seanotron wrote:

    That 300 sequel has bomb written all over it. New director, 7 years between it and the original, none of the original leads, bigger budget...honestly, I'll be shocked if it breaks even.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 12:54 PM, themadbruin wrote:

    Number 7 should be retitled, "Not Another Hobbit Movie!" ugh.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 1:26 PM, e527674 wrote:

    #8 Dumb and Dumber To

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 1:41 PM, Frogface wrote:

    They certainly did not up the ante on a 300 sequel. They are hoping to make money off the name pure and simple! They shot it cheaply in Bulgaria where they shoot a lot of really bad films. Also, that film style has been done to death! There is a low budget Hercules movie with the same look coming out right before the sequel in Jan. That film was also shot cheaply in Bulgaria at the same studio! You get what you pay for.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 1:47 PM, Njancek wrote:

    $50 says at least half of these end up getting slammed on here at one point or another for not being good/as good as they should have been.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 2:47 PM, SylkFlame wrote:

    Themadbruin. Speak for yourself. I love the hobbit movies.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 3:00 PM, twist58 wrote:

    Too bad Blue Sky Studios/Fox was left out for sequels that will dominate the box office in 2014. It left out "Rio 2" and it should've made the cut as the 7. Why? Since Pixar is a no-show in 2014 (due to production push-backs on their would-be next flick "The Good Dinosaur"), that only leaves Dreamworks and Blue Sky butting heads at the box office for best animated sequels. Back in 2011, "Rio" marked the first non-Ice Age film to almost reach $500 million worldwide, establishing it as the next successful franchise for Blue Sky. The sequel "Rio 2" will surely surpass its predecessor with ease.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 3:04 PM, truth123 wrote:

    22 JUMP STREET

    THINK LIKE A MAN 2

    these will be more profitable for the parent companies than any of the ones mentioned above.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 3:12 PM, delfra wrote:

    I have absolutely no problem with the 7 films on your list except one, "300: Rise Of An Empire". It has none of the returning lead cast members and it's been way too long since the last film, it also has a brand new set of film makers. I'm not going to say this will be a flat out flop, but it's no way it will put up the numbers the first "300" did, I just don't see it. This film is the only blaring mistake your list had, this film should have been replaced by "X-Men: Days Of Future Past" and the list would have been perfect.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 3:58 PM, jamesreyes65 wrote:

    Let's not forget 22 Jump Street & The Muppets Most Wanted. 2015 will be a more better year for sequels includes Fast & Furious 7 & Star Wars Episode 7, & in 2016 Independence Day 2, & Avatar 2

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 4:18 PM, scalan15 wrote:

    Transformers 4 will make 1.5 Billion at the box office

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 6:07 PM, Summerland81 wrote:

    The most anticipated film and sequel of 2014 is X-Men: Days of Future Past by a large margin with 7 Oscar nominees/winners. It might gross more than 4 of the films on this list combined.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 6:12 PM, scalan15 wrote:

    X-men first class did not do that great. it might make 750 million worldwide if they're lucky

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 8:31 PM, drtammy1511 wrote:

    While #6 - Catching Fire - may make money, you have to remember, most people who will attend are those who haven't read the book. The first two books in the series were at least good reads.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 9:20 PM, monarchmike wrote:

    What? No love for X-Men: Days of Future Past and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes? I'm anticipating these sequels, more than 300: Rise of an Empire or How to Train Your Dragon 2.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 9:24 PM, ArmyGuyDan wrote:

    sorry I won't be watching anything with that Race War baiter Jaime Fox in it

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 10:04 PM, MrB569 wrote:

    They all sound like cool movies to me! I love the superhero movies...looking forward to Capt America and The Hobbit pt3! However, I do plan on skipping Spidey 2 - I refuse to support movies/shows with jamie foxx...he's a racist a$$h0le

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 10:18 PM, dwduke wrote:

    Is Hollywood running out of creative ideas?

  • Report this Comment On December 30, 2013, at 12:03 AM, jayb wrote:

    Wait until "I Dream Of Jeannie" the next movie gets started, it's just been stuck in the development stage, but once the script is finalized it's going to dominate. Sadly, I can't find the current status of the movie it's produced by sony pictures and written by Sheila Callaghan, I think Sidney Ganis will be producing it.

  • Report this Comment On December 30, 2013, at 1:50 AM, Burstedbladder wrote:

    Dragon 2 seems to be the on;y decent film worth watching imo.

  • Report this Comment On December 30, 2013, at 8:59 AM, Scobe wrote:

    The movie "300" was merely my steroids can beat your steroids. It was a waste of medicine.

    Frank Scoblete, author of "Confessions of a Wayward Catholic"

  • Report this Comment On December 30, 2013, at 11:24 AM, zemos23 wrote:

    Well transformers 3 was a flop for me I mean whats her name get blown up in a building crawls through ruble no dirt no scratch not even a broken nail and look in the camera to fix her hair . O.o whats up with that!

    cap will do great same for hobbit train your dragon was a very cute movie with alot of morals in the story line so the secand one could be just as great.

    but t4 they have some fixing to do after the 3 one.

  • Report this Comment On December 30, 2013, at 2:03 PM, saxgod wrote:

    So how do you forget X-Men Days of Future Past? That will dominate more then 300 part 2 lol. If anything fails it will be 300 part 2. But seriously you should have thought about X-Men Days of Future Past.

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