It is 2023 and more people have returned to theaters, or have they? As many of us have learned to live in a “post-pandemic” world, the box office has shown some improvement. But it’s a far cry from pre-pandemic levels of success. As of this writing, only three films have surpassed the $1 billion mark in box office receipts worldwide.
Disney was the most profitable studio in 2022 and Avatar: The Way of Water turned out to be the box office champ crossing $1.5 billion as of the end of the year. However, there is a pretty big caveat to consider before celebrating this figure. After Avatar 2’s opening weekend was called “disappointing” by most, the movie opened against little to no competition week after week. A sequel 13 years in the making has been called “visually stunning” by many while others say the story doesn’t hold water when compared to the original.
The box office was down 33% from the same time last year and movie releases were also down 30%. Movie studios held back on certain films hoping the delayed anticipation would find moviegoers flocking to the theaters once again. Next, it was another sequel, this time from Paramount that would Cruise to the top spot with Top Gun: Maverick. Paramount held the sequel back approximately six months and it seems they made the right call. Maverick pulled in $1.45 billion thanks to a strong script, good acting, and top notch directing by Joseph Kosinski. I wasn’t a big fan of the original, but Maverick struck just the right chords to earn its spot as a 2022 blockbuster. At one point in the film, I could swear I spotted Ponce de León piloting a Super Hornet. Turns out it was just Tom Cruise looking like he just came off the set of the original Top Gun (1986).
Finally, the third film to surpass the billion dollar mark with $1.01 billion in box office receipts was Jurassic World: Dominion. If you follow our podcast, it’s no secret how I felt about this film!
Even superheroes failed to soar to big heights at the box office with flops like Morbius, Stallone’s Samaritan, and the Rock’s Black Adam. Although we have come to expect lackluster results from the now James Gunn helmed DC franchise, Marvel didn’t exactly light the world on fire in 2022. Thor: Love and Thunder, Doctor Strange in the Mulitiverse of Madness and even Black Panther: Wakanda Forever did not live up to their previous offerings. While we were rewarded with one DC film in 2022 with The Batman starring Robert Pattinson and Zoë Kravitz, the excitement didn’t last long. With an announcement from the Man of Steel himself, Henry Cavill, stating he would be donning the super suit once again, James Gunn turned out to be Cavill fans’ kryptonite with news he and his “creative” team were going to fly in a different direction.
Dan and I also spent much of 2022 reviewing streaming series. Shows such as Severance, Succession, The White Lotus, Better Call Saul, and even She Hulk: Attorney At Law likely took a bite out of the box office.
Turning our sights to 2023, a few coming attractions peaked our interest at the Oh Brother podcast including Mission Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer starring Cillian Murphy, and acting legend Harrison Ford reprising the role of Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Check out the Oh Brother podcast’s new feature First Look as we review newly released movie trailers and share our initial impressions. What films are you most looking forward to in 2023? Who will be at the center of this year’s Oscar buzz? And Will the 2023 Academy Awards have us tuning in with anticipation over who will take home a golden statute or will it turn into another episode of WWE Smackdown? We Smith’s have a reputation to uphold.