Like last year, we decided to look at the best, or the highest grossing, films of 2022. Because voting with your own money is, in our opinion, the most honest reflection of the audience’s preferences, not to mention professional film critics and aesthetes.
Against the background of the easing of Covid restrictions in the West and the deterioration of the Covid situation in China, Hollywood films returned to the top positions in the list of the highest-grossing films of Box Office Mojo, displacing the Chinese ones. Disney/Marvel, 20th Century Studios, Paramount Pictures and other well-known companies are again in the lead.
The film market is gaining momentum after the terrible covid failure. According to updated data, the total box office in 2021 was $18.9 billion, according to estimates (final figures will be released a little later) in 2022, the film industry has already earned $25.8 billion. Yes, this is still not the previous $38 billion in 2017, 2018, and 2019, but already at the level of 2007-2008.
For next year analysts predict the growth of the film market by 12%, i.e. up to $29 billion.
And now let’s look at the Top 10 worldwide box office for 2022. Together, these 10 blockbusters earned more than $9 billion at the box office, which is again almost a third of the total worldwide box office. All figures below are from Box Office Mojo.
Box Office $1,488,732,821
The main air porn of the decade, the film for which Tom Cruise flew a real jet fighter, the film that was postponed many times… Well, as it turned out, Top Gun: Maverick was worth the wait and despite the many frankly fantastic moments, it is a good and very spectacular movie about modern military aviation. And Tom Cruise here destroys a couple of vaunted Russian Su-57s, which is also nice.
With a budget of $170 million, the film earned almost $1.5 billion, that is, it was guaranteed to pay off. Top Gun: Maverick climbed to the 11th place on the list of the highest-grossing films of all time and will most likely enter the Top 10, displacing Furious 7. By the way, the original Top Gun (1986) had a budget of only $15 million and collected $357 million at the box office.
The Top Gun franchise is rumored to be getting a three-quel titled Top Gun: Rooster starring Miles Teller. Apparently, Tom Cruise and director Joseph Kosinski are also involved. Hopefully Maverick and Rooster will hunt down the Russians this time.
Box Office $1,193,157,914
Of course, if the new Avatar had as much time as Top Gun: Maverick, then Cameron’s film would be on the first step of this list. But Avatar: The Way of Water was released only in mid-December and simply physically could not show better numbers. Most likely the sequel wouldn’t make it to the results of the first Avatar, i.e. to the first line in the list of top grossers movies, but it would probably be in the top five.
Due to the delay in the filming process and Cameron’s efforts to shoot three films at once, the estimate of Avatar: The Way of Water reached an incredible $350-460 million, that is, it most likely has not paid off yet. But we already have Avatar 3 release dates on December 20th, 2024, and Avatar 4 on December 18th, 2026. Rumor has it that Cameron already has the first cut of Avatar 3 on his hands, which is… 9 hours long! Against this background, Avatar: The Way of Water, with its 3 hours and 12 minutes, is just a short film.
Box Office $1,001,978,080
The sixth film of the Jurassic Park franchise and the last part of the Jurassic World trilogy collected a little more than $1 billion at the box office, and this is … only the fourth result among the films of the series. Considering the budget of $165-185 million, it seems not bad, and there is also an animated series and all kinds of related products. But even the first film, the original Jurassic Park, collected more at the box office, $1.033 billion, which in general is a phenomenal result, as for 1993.
Jurassic World: Dominion has the lowest ratings ever at 29% on Rotten Tomatoes and 38/100 on Metacritic. For comparison, the first film has 92% and 68/100, respectively. Nevertheless, it collected a good amount of money, so the discussion of the next era of Jurassic Park has already begun. But it seems that the characters of Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern will no longer find a place in them.
Box Office $955,775,804
And finally, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this time a little short of a billion. No, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness fared significantly better than the other Phase Four movies with the exception of Spider-Man: No Way Home, but compared to the achievements of the Phase Three films, it’s not very impressive.
In general, it seems that the authors overdid it a bit with the complex concept of the multiverse, or the new phase simply lacks charismatic characters. Maybe the audience is already a little tired of superheroes?
Box Office $939,628,210
The fifth film of the Despicable Me franchise fell just short of the revenue of the previous films in the series, which can be considered very good in the current environment. With a budget of $80 million, the cartoon collected almost a billion! And in general, the Despicable Me / Minions franchise has earned more than $4.6 billion since 2010, with expenses of only $379 million.
Illumination releases many short films about Minions and the heroes of its other cartoons. Almost all of them have recently been released on Netflix.
Box Office $810,268,513
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the final film of Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and already the 30th (unbelievable) film of the MCU. The second film about the mysterious Wakanda and its powerful defender with the new Black Panther did not reach the collection of the first film, which was released in 2018. But again, in the post-Covid era, $801 million is a very respectable figure. In general, the film was received quite positively by both critics and viewers.
In general, the Marvel Cinematic Universe for 15 years of existence has brought Disney / Marvel an impressive $28 billion with expenses at the level of $5.8-6.25 billion. Very good.
7. The Batman
Box Office $770,836,163
The only film of Warner Bros. / DC in the Top-10. It’s another reboot (because some people drink too much) of the Batman story starring Robert Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz, which should eventually turn into a trilogy, if something doesn’t get in the way again. The first film received good reviews, even compared to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight.
The Batman is apparently not part of the DC Extended Universe, but is supposed to start a separate cinematic universe focused specifically on Batman, his friends and enemies. There are plans to add Robin, Mr. Freeze, Calendar Man, and Court of Owls. Spinoff series about the Gotham Police, the Penguin and Arkham Asylum are already in development, as well as a full-fledged sequel, of course.
Box Office $760,928,081
The third film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the Top 10 and the fourth film about Thor and his friends. Thor: Love and Thunder was slightly behind Thor: Ragnarok in 2017, but surpassed both of the first films. Jane Foster / The Mighty Thor, an astrophysicist and Thor’s ex-girlfriend, seems to have been liked by the audience.
I wonder if Thor 5 will be only with Natalie Portman, or will there still be room for Chris Hemsworth? In any case, at the end of Thor: Love and Thunder you can see the inscription “Thor will return.”
Box Office $626,571,697
The first Chinese film in the Top 10 is only in 8th place, unlike in 2020 and 2021, when they were in the top three. Water Gate Bridge also known as The Battle at Lake Changjin II is a sequel to The Battle at Lake Changjin, which occupied the second line of the rating last year.
And yes, it is again about how the Chinese grandfathers fought against the damned imperialists during the Korean War of 1950-1953. This is even a continuation of the same Battle of Chosin Reservoir in the late 1950s, during which Chinese “volunteers” (more than 250 thousand soldiers) saved North Korea from defeat. The losses of the Chinese “Volunteer Army” were compared to the losses of the UN (USA) troops as 4 to 1.
10. Moon Man
Box Office $460,237,662
Another Chinese film in the top ten at the box office. Of course, as in the case of Water Gate Bridge – a completely Chinese box office. Moon Man is a fantasy comedy about a clumsy engineer who is left alone on a lunar station and must save the Earth from the consequences of a large asteroid impact. Almost Seveneves (a really cool book) but Chinese and with one man instead of seven women.
Films that did not reach the Top 10
11. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore – $405,161,334
12. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – $402,656,846
13. Uncharted – $401,748,820
14. Black Adam – $391,273,355
15. Elvis – $286,040,048
16. The Bad Guys – $250,162,278
17. Bullet Train – $239,268,602
18. Lightyear – $226,425,420
19. Too Cool to Kill – $217,254,604
20. Smile – $216,135,048
21. Nice View – $211,019,042
22. DC League of Super-Pets – $203,857,117
23. The Lost City – $190,844,029
24. One Piece Film: Red – $174,494,853
25. Nope – $171,235,592
For obvious reasons, the film year in Ukraine was not so succesfull. And although cinemas in some cities started working at the end of spring, the occupancy did not reach 2020-21, let alone 2019. In general, according to Box Office Mojo only 80 films were released in Ukraine against 174 in 2021 and 244 in the pre-2019 period. For comparison, the USA in 2022 saw the release of 491 films, and in the “fat” year of 2019 – a total of 910!
According to Box Office Mojo, in 2022, the Ukrainian box office amounted to a little more than $20 million (it will be interesting to see the figures of domestic distributors later), or $250,585 per movie. In fact, the average gross per film is higher than in 2020 due to fewer films.
And the highest-grossing film of 2022 in Ukraine was Spider-Man: No Way Home, which was released at the end of 2021. It was well-watched in January during the New Year holidays and Christmas weekend.
But there is also positive news. Ukrainian films have increased on Western streaming platforms. Netflix bought a number of Ukrainian films and gave money to create new ones. And Ukrainian dubbing, or at least subtitles, now appears in almost all new Netflix releases. That’s cool.
We hope that 2023 will bring us many new good films, especially Ukrainian ones. The author of this article is especially looking forward to the documentary about the creation of the first S.T.A.L.K.E.R., in the filming of which he had the pleasure of participating. And in general, everything will be Ukraine, we know that for sure.
And what films of 2023 have you already seen? Write in the comments.