These 2020 Movies Are the Year’s Biggest Hits So Far

More often than not, the biggest moneymakers of any given year arrive in theaters during the summer or holiday season. Even as the former has crept into May and now April, the first quarter of any year in cinema is almost always its weakest. But in the case of 2020 movies, it’s worth taking stock of which films have managed to stand out.

Robert Downey Jr. attends a 'Dolittle' special screening
Robert Downey Jr. attends a ‘Dolittle’ special screening | Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Hollywood has hit pause for now

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the entire entertainment industry has all but stopped. Major releases throughout March, April, and May have disappeared. And the vast majority of movie theaters — including leading chains AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas — have closed up while the nation tends to this crisis.

Right now, moviegoers have no idea when they’ll be able to head to their local theaters again. Films such as A Quiet Place Part II, Fast & Furious 9, and Black Widow have been pushed back or pulled from the schedule until further notice. Meanwhile, productions on just about every high-profile film and television series have stopped completely.

So, as it stands now, the fate of cinema is very much uncertain. We have no clue when the industry — or life in general, for that matter — will return to normal. The effects of this Hollywood shutdown, relatively speaking, remain unknown. But what we do know is which 2020 movies have made the biggest impact so far. So let’s start there.

The surprising films leading 2020

For the purposes of this breakdown, we’re setting aside 2019 holdovers — like 1917 and Star Wars — and focusing strictly on movies first released in 2020. As one might expect, the top five is still dominated by franchise movies and sequels. But with the current state of the industry, it provides a glimpse of which 2020 movies most captured audiences’ attention and cash.

With $204 million domestically, Bad Boys for Life tops the 2020 box office so far. The Will Smith-Martin Lawrence action-comedy comes 17 years after their last team-up. Yet, audiences seemed pleased to welcome them back. Elsewhere, Sonic the Hedgehog speeds into second with $146 million, despite early backlash over its character design. And R-rated DC Comics adaptation Birds of Prey sits at number three with $84 million.

Rounding out the top five are Dolittle and The Invisible Man with $77 million and $64 million, respectively. The two films might have made similar amounts so far, but their profitability couldn’t be more different. Made for $175 million, Dolittle is one of the year’s biggest flops. Meanwhile, the $7 million The Invisible Man is a runaway success on every level.

When will movie theaters re-open?

This current top five might not accurately represent the films most moviegoers expected to see. But the way things are, this line-up might not change for a while. With a long way to go before the coronavirus pandemic is under control, moviegoers will have to turn to on-demand options and streaming services for their entertainment needs.

As of this writing, AMC Theatres has closed at least through the end of April 2020. And Regal Cinemas too has closed its theaters until further notice. In the interim, studios are coming up with creative ways to keep profits flowing. In fact, two of the top five 2020 movies — Birds of Prey and The Invisible Man — will be available to purchase or rent at home in late March.

Hollywood might not be in top form at the moment. But the back half of 2020 could be teeming with hits. If the theatrical experience is somewhat on the wane, perhaps this break will renew some moviegoers’ appreciation for movie theaters. After all, the communal experience of experiencing a story with a rapt audience is a special one. Even if it’s not appropriate right now.