Top 10 highest-grossing movies of 2023: the fall of Marvel

After looking at the global box office statistics for 2023 from Box Office Mojo, which is considered one of the most authoritative resources dedicated to the film business (by the way, it is now owned by IMDb, which, in turn, is a part of Amazon), I was going to start analyzing the box office of last year with the dictum that Hollywood has finally regained its position and finally pushed Chinese films out of the top 10. But it turned out that this was not the case.

It seems that after several Chinese films appeared in the Top 10 highest-grossing films of 2021 and 2022 (this was especially noticeable in 2021), Box Office Mojo, perhaps at the request of American filmmakers, decided to remove them from the general list, arguing that they have always been American-owned. ), Box Office Mojo, possibly at the suggestion of American film producers, decided to remove them from the general list, arguing that they do not have a US distribution, which has always been more important for this resource than international distribution. Well, it looks like this time we’re going to focus on the numbers provided by The Numbers, a competitor of Box Office Mojo, which has Chinese, Indian and South Korean films in its top ten. The numbers for Hollywood movies on both sites are almost identical, so it’s an adequate substitute. But Box Office Mojo updates more frequently, so we’ll take the numbers for American films from Box Office Mojo’s statistics, and for Chinese films from The Numbers.

One of the trends in 2023 that is worth paying attention to is the decline in viewer interest in superhero movies, which has had the greatest impact on Marvel’s film output. The films that used to collect billions and compete for the top positions in the ranking of the highest-grossing films of all time are now barely returning their own budget. This year’s top 10 includes only one Marvel movie, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which fell short of a billion, and one animated film co-produced with Sony, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, but its success is more a credit to Sony’s animators than to Marvel’s producers.

As for other films of the fifth phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantum of Solace most likely remained on the verge of breaking even, earning $476 million against a budget of $200 million, but The Marvels failed miserably, grossing only $205 million against a budget of more than $220 million.

The fall of Marvel is an interesting phenomenon worthy of separate consideration, but for now, let’s take a look at the top 10 global box office for 2023. There are many familiar titles here, but there are also unexpected new IPs, the results of which are impressive.


1. Barbie

Country USA
Box office $1 441 827 208

Barbie was a real media phenomenon last year. Why women go to see the feminist comedy film by Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird, Little Women) is understandable, but why men, who are not portrayed in a very good light, like it, is not.

Perhaps it is the merit of the star duo of Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, or the carefully planned and very expensive advertising campaign, but the fact remains that with a budget of no more than $145 million, the film grossed $1.442 billion at the box office. Almost as much as the last year’s favorite Top Gun: Maverick.

Such achievements allowed Barbie to jump to the 14th place in the list of the highest-grossing films of all time. Barbie is likely to move up to 13th place, overtaking Frozen II ($1.450 billion) and becoming the highest-grossing film directed by a woman.


2. The Super Mario Bros. Movie

Country USA
Box office $1 361 939 570

Another phenomenon of the past year. It was the first time in history that a movie based on a video game rose so high. The Super Mario Bros. Movie surpassed the results of the previous record-holder Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) three times over, becoming the 16th highest-grossing movie of all time, as well as the third highest-grossing animated film of all time after The Lion King (2019) and Frozen II (2019). Yes, it’s Nintendo, yes, it’s the most famous game character in history, but it’s still impressive. With a budget of only $100 million, it’s quite an achievement.

In fact, 2023 was a very successful year for video game movies. The top 100 films of the last year included two more titles based on video games: the horror Five Nights at Freddy’s (23rd place), which grossed $295 million with a budget of only $20 million, and the sports drama Gran Turismo (55th place), which brought in $122 million with a budget of $60 million.

In addition, in 2023, a pretty good movie was released based on the board game that many video games are based on, including the best game of 2023, Baldur’s Gate 3. We are talking, of course, about Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, which ranks 32nd in the list of the highest-grossing films of the year. But the box office is not so good here. With a budget of $150 million, the film grossed only $208 million, which means it didn’t pay off.


3. Oppenheimer

Country USA
Box office $952 037 070

Christopher Nolan’s epic biopic starring Cillian Murphy, which was released at the same time as Barbie and spawned a bunch of memes, just missed reaching $1 billion with a budget of $100 million. But this is actually quite an achievement for a biographical historical film, which usually grosses much less money than superhero blockbusters.

Oppenheimer has become the highest-grossing biopic in history, surpassing the previous leader, Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), by $50 million. In addition, it is Nolan’s third highest-grossing film, behind only The Dark Knight (2008) with $998.7 million and The Dark Knight Rises (2012) with $1.08 billion. After the box office failure of Tenet (2020), this is exactly what the director needs to be able to continue filming.


4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Country USA
Box office $845 555 777

The only Marvel movie in the top 10 and the only definitely profitable Marvel movie of 2023, which still did not reach the results of the previous part. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 rode on an impressive cast and James Gunn’s charisma and skill, and the fact that it is a direct sequel to a film from the second and third phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not a strange new product from the fourth and fifth phases with unfamiliar characters.

Despite a big budget of $250 million, the movie grossed $845 million at the box office, making it only the 16th highest-grossing film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Something really broke in the MCU after saying goodbye to the old heroes.


5. Fast X

Country USA
Box office $704 875 015

Despite the fact that the title of Fast X does not contain the words “Part I”, it is really only a part of the movie, as it has become fashionable to do lately. The movie literally breaks off in the middle of the story, which is a bit disappointing. Fast X: Part 2 is already in the works and should be released in 2025.

This is indeed the tenth film in the main series and the eleventh film in the Fast & Furious franchise, because there was also Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019). Despite the fact that the latest films have been rated very poorly by audiences and critics, Fast & Furious continues to attract audiences, even though the main characters have aged significantly and the story itself seems to be moving in circles.

Fast X’s budget was an impressive $340 million, but the movie seems to have paid off, although it is far from the records of Furious 7 (2015) and The Fate of the Furious (2017). Fast X is only the sixth film in the franchise, which has already earned more than $7.4 billion.


6. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Country USA
Box office $690 516 673

The sequel to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), which won the favor of both audiences and critics, received a larger budget (from $100 to $150 million), but also grossed almost twice as much as the 2018 animated film.

Like the previous movie, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse features interesting animation effects that mimic the comic book and a stunning plot that takes place in several dimensions at once.

The sequel to the cartoon, Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse, is already at the voice acting stage, and a Spider-Woman spinoff with Spider-Woman is also planned.


7. Full River Red

Country PRC
Box office $673 596 577

And here is the first Chinese movie in the top 10. Full River Red is a historical thriller set in 1146. The title of the film is a reference to a Chinese poem written by the general and national hero of China, Yue Fei, in 1133. Yue Fei was killed by the government in 1042 on trumped-up charges because of his belligerence.

In the film, a simple soldier and a guard commander have to investigate a mysterious murder in the mansion of the Song Dynasty chancellor on the eve of a visit by a diplomatic mission from their Jin Dynasty opponents.

The film was released on the eve of the Chinese New Year and grossed $673 million at the domestic box office. The film’s budget is estimated at $73 million.


8. Wandering Earth 2

Country PRC
Box office $604 460 538

The second Chinese film in the top 10 is a sequel/prequel to the sci-fi film The Wandering Earth (2019), based on a short story by Liu Qixin, author of the famous Three Body Problem.

The Wandering Earth 2 is a prequel to the first movie and tells the story of building huge engines that will send the Earth flying to another star, because the Sun will soon turn into a red giant. Of course, the new movie also touches on the trendy topic of artificial intelligence.

Just like Full River Red, which is ranked 7th in the top, The Wandering Earth 2 was released on the eve of Chinese New Year and grossed $604 million, only $5 million of which came from international distribution. $604 million is less than the first film, which crossed the $700 million mark. The budget of The Wandering Earth 2 is not disclosed, while the budget of the first film was estimated at $50 million.


9. The Little Mermaid

Country USA
Box office $569 626 289

Despite a campaign of hate after it was revealed that the Little Mermaid would be played by a black actress, the cinematic remake of the 1989 animated film grossed a good amount of money. Although The Little Mermaid fell short of The Lion King (2019), Beauty and the Beast (2017), and Aladdin (2019), it became the seventh highest-grossing remake of Disney cartoons with live actors and beat such films as Cinderella (2015) and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) and Dumbo (2019).

On the other hand, The Little Mermaid’s budget reaches an impressive $297 million, so it’s not a given that the film has paid off. However, it is unlikely that this will have any impact on Disney’s plans to make 10 more live-action adaptations of cartoons by the end of the decade.


10. Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

Country USA
Box office $567 535 383

What’s a top 10 without a movie with Tom Cruise! Just like in the case of Top Gun: Maverick, the release of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One was postponed many times due to the pandemic, which affected the budget. The film cost $291 million to make, which, with a gross of $567 million, means that the movie most likely did not pay off.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One was released almost at the same time as Barbenheimer, so it didn’t have a chance. Or perhaps the poor performance of Dead Reckoning, compared to the three previous films in the series, indicates that viewers are already a bit tired of movies divided into parts. Because when a movie with a running time of almost 3 hours ends with literally nothing, it’s a little disappointing.


Films that didn’t make it to the top 10

11. No More Bets (PRC) – $540 457 308
12. Elemental (USA) – $486 663 342
13. Lost in the Stars (PRC) – $486 153 324
14. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (USA) – $463 635 303
15. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (USA) – $437 669 281
16. John Wick: Chapter 4 (USA) – $432 710 881
17. Wonka (USA) – $397 468 534
18. Meg 2: The Trench (USA) – $394 266 444
19. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (USA) – $381 561 976
20. Creation of the Gods I: Kindom of Storms (PRC) – $372 945 945
21. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (USA) – $317 314 362
22. Never Say Never (PRC) – $304 280 699
23. Five Nights at Freddy’s (USA) – $294 923 228
24. Creed III (USA) – $274 448 615
25. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (USA) – $272 271 754


Ukraine

According to Box Office Mojo’s Ukraine data, the highest grossing Ukrainian film at the box office was Oppenheimer, which grossed $3,206,696, but this does not seem to be true. Back in July 2023, the Ukrainian State Film Agency reported that “Mavka. The Forest Song” collected 152,608,797 UAH at the box office, which is more than $4 million. So it looks like the winner of the national box office is Mavka, not Oppenheimer.

Overall, “Mavka. The Forest Song” is the highest grossing Ukrainian film of all time. According to Box Office Mojo, the animated film has already taken in $17,865,431 and is ranked 124th in the list of the highest-grossing films of 2023 (not including Chinese and Indian films). Recently, Mavka was also released on Netflix.

As for another major Ukrainian film of 2023, Dovbush, its success is more humble. At the Ukrainian box office, the film collected 68,268,115 UAH at the beginning of December, or about $1.8 million. International release has just begun in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania and the Netherlands and has so far brought in only $176,588. Dovbush also appeared on Netflix on New Year’s Eve.

In total, according to Box Office Mojo, 73 films were released in Ukraine in 2023. This is even less than 80 films in 2022, not to mention 2020-21, when 160-170 films were released on the big screens of Ukraine. We hope that 2024 will be a better year for our country’s film market and will bring us many new interesting films.

As always, let us know which films from the top 10 you have already seen and which ones you liked in the comments.

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