from the Box Office Mojo
Prior to Avatar's release in December 2009, only four movies had ever made over $1 billion worldwide. Since then, that number has grown to ten, with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 all reaching the coveted milestone in the past three months alone. Each of Summer 2011's billionaires are sequels that showed massive gains on their predecessors in foreign markets, thanks in part to current exchange rates and 3D premiums (the format has yet to experience much of a backlash overseas).
Among the upcoming releases, there are plenty of 3D movies that are poised to at least flirt with $1 billion, though none have the pedigree that Summer 2011's winners had. In fact, the safe bet is that the next $1 billion movie isn't even in 3D (hint: it involves a brooding superhero). Here's a look at the upcoming movies that have the best chance of joining the $1 billion club, along with some movies that aren't likely to make the cut:
The Adventures of Tintin (Dec. 23): While Tintin is basically an unknown quantity domestically, it's an immensely popular brand overseas, particularly in Europe. It's unclear whether it will play in Asia, though, which is critical for any $1 billion contender, and it also may be a stretch for it to make $200 million in the U.S. No matter how big Tintin is in Europe, it's unlikely to make $800 million overseas, likely putting a $1 billion worldwide sum out of its reach. Still, it's worth keeping an eye on.
The Avengers (May 4, 2012): Iron Man 2 is currently the top-grossing Avengers movie worldwide with around $624 million, which is a far cry from $1 billion. Still, all five Avengers movies have combined for around $2.2 billion so far, and those have essentially served as advertisements for The Avengers' much-hyped superhero meet-up. The movie is also incredibly well-positioned at the beginning of a weak May and should at the very least crush Iron Man 2's total.
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