Barbie and Oppenheimer movie posters photographed outside Cinemark Summerdale 16 and XD in Summerdale, New Jersey in 2023.
Hannah Baier | Washington Post | Getty Images
2023 will see an explosive recovery at the box office.
There was a blonde bombshell in “Barbie,” a real bombshell in “Oppenheimer,” and a low-budget blockbuster. Each helps the theater industry boost ticket sales and bring repeat customers back to the big screen.
With one week left in this year, ticket sales for 2023 are estimated at $8.8 billion, down about 20% from the same period in 2019, but up 21% from last year.
Most of the harvest is Warner Brothers Discovery “Barbie” universal “Oppenheimer” and “Super Mario Bros. Movie.” Together, these three films contributed more than $1.5 billion to the domestic box office, according to ComScore data. Worldwide, these films generated more than $3.7 billion in ticket sales for him.
Big-budget content wasn’t the only thing driving this year’s box office success. Several low-budget films aroused public interest and inspired moviegoers to leave their couches and head to the theaters. These films filled the gaps in the schedule created by Hollywood labor strikes and questioned the status quo of the industry.
There is still room for improvement in 2024, and most industry analysts don’t expect to see a recovery until 2025 after months of production shutdowns.
But in the meantime, let’s take a look at some of the most important theatrical releases of 2023 and why they were successful.
The historic box office combination of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer”, popularly known as “Barbenheimer”, came at a time when even the most reliable franchise films failed to captivate audiences.
The common July 21st release date inspired the double feature rather than direct competition.movie together earned $244.5 million in its first three days in theaters. “Barbie” brought in $162 million and “Oppenheimer” brought in $82.5 million. Comscore reported that the two films accounted for nearly 80% of that weekend’s total box office gross, making them the year’s highest-grossing films with $311.3 million in ticket sales.
What set the “Babenheimer” weekend apart was fresh storytelling, a fear of missing out on a cultural moment, and a desire to experience movies on the biggest screen possible.
“Barbie” director Greta Gerwig recalled the lines of New York theatergoers who wore Barbie’s signature pink to celebrate the film’s opening weekend.
“Everyone was wearing pink, men, women, children, but no one told them to do it. It was a spontaneous thing,” she said. Contents of the recorded interview released last week. “It was an overwhelming feeling of, ‘Oh, this is theirs. It’s not mine. It’s theirs. And they wanted to dress it up.'”
A scene from “Barbie”.
Provided by: Warner Bros.
Moviegoers who bought tickets to “Oppenheimer” donned suits and fedoras to watch Christopher Nolan’s latest film. Father of the Atomic Bomb, J. Robert’s three-hour biopic about Oppenheimer, was an event cinema boasting special screenings of 70 mm film.
The meme-worthy trend of seeing both on the same day drew hundreds of thousands of people to theaters during their opening weekend.
Domestically, “Barbie” grossed $636.2 million during its theatrical run, while “Oppenheimer” raked in $326 million. “Barbie” secured $1.44 billion worldwide, while “Oppenheimer” earned $952 million worldwide.
“Super Mario Bros. Movie”
Chris Pratt and Charlie Day provide the voices of Mario and Luigi, respectively, in Universal and Illumination’s “Super Mario Bros. Movie.”
The success of “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” which reached $574.9 million domestically, is part of Universal’s incredible string of animated box office hits. Last year, Minions: The Rise of Gru grossed about $940 million worldwide, and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish grossed about $500 million worldwide. did.
On the other hand, Disney is experiencing sluggish box office revenue for its animated content due to the pandemic. Neither Pixar nor Walt Disney Animation has had a film top $480 million worldwide since 2019’s “Frozen 2.”
Some analysts have blamed the slump in ticket sales on market turmoil surrounding the exclusive distribution and wide theatrical release of Disney films. Some say Disney doesn’t do a good job of promoting its animated films to the public.
Meanwhile, Universal is looking to leverage its friendship with parents and children as Migration remains in theaters and ahead of the 2024 release of Kung Fu Panda 4 and Despicable Me 4. It is said that
Taylor Swift changed the music industry, but then she came to movie theaters.
In October, the multihyphenate pop star released her filmed Elas Tour concert in theaters. The nearly three-hour event brought millions of people to theaters at once, during an actors’ strike that forced many to attend. Works that are likely to become blockbusters disappear from the calendar.
This opening broke records for a theatrical concert release and was the second-highest opening for a movie in October.
Amidst the excitement, movie theaters designed custom popcorn buckets, created boutique cocktails, and even set up tables to make friendship bracelets for Swift fans, recreating the classic experience of attending a live concert. did.
In total, Swift’s films earned about $180 million domestically and $250 million worldwide. This worldwide figure is just shy of the record $262.5 million that Michael Jackson’s concert documentary “This Is It” earned in 2009.
Taylor Swift sings on the Elas tour.
Buda Mendes/tas23 | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
Perhaps the most shocking part of Swift’s movie theater visit was her distribution partner, movie theater chain AMC.
Swift struck a rare deal, bypassing a number of Hollywood studios that were attempting to bid for the rights to release the film under their own banners.The singer reportedly split 57% of ticket sales with AMC, leaving 43% with theater. Still, industry insiders say Swift is expected to retain most of its share.
This deal is likely what led to Beyoncé collaborating with AMC to distribute a documentary about her album Renaissance and tour.
The theater industry is used to alternative content. Movie theaters often show recorded concerts, plays, and musicals, as well as live sports coverage from organizations such as the National Football League and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Then there will be classic movie screenings, anime screenings, and a live broadcast of a Dungeons and Dragons game.
But until now, no one has come close to generating the kind of enthusiasm that Swift’s Ella Tour movie did.
new hollywood model
“The Sound of Freedom” also broke the norm in Hollywood this summer.
The film comes from a relative Hollywood newcomer called Angel Studios, which uses a Kickstarter-style funding method. In this case, the studio raised $5 million to distribute the film after 20th Century Fox, which previously held the rights to the film, was acquired by Disney and its release was postponed. The Sound of Freedom finished filming in 2018 and stars Tim Ballard, a character inspired by a real-life government worker who quit his job to rescue a young girl from sex traffickers in Colombia. depicting a story.
The Jim Caviezel-starring thriller shook up the industry, which is still trying to find its footing after the coronavirus lockdown. During its run, domestic box office revenue exceeded $180 million. Outperforming major studio films like Warner Bros. The Flash was made on a budget of just $14.5 million. It earned approximately $250 million worldwide.
Part of the film’s box office success was the result of a unique campaign by the filmmakers to promote ticket sales. Moviegoers could pay for their tickets and make a virtual donation, and those who couldn’t afford tickets could pick them up online. Angel Studios calls this model “pay it forward.”
The studio rose to prominence in 2019 when it crowdfunded under the name VidAngel and released the hit Bible series “The Chosen.” However, the release of “Sound of Freedom” in July further increased the studio’s profile.
Jim Caviezel appears in Angel Studios’ “The Sound of Freedom.”
“The Sound of Freedom” isn’t the only Angel Studios title that goes way over budget. The Biblical drama “His Only Son,” released in early 2023, cost $250,000 to make and grossed $12.4 million at the box office. Crowdfunding campaign in partnership with Angel Studios We raised more than $1.2 million in print and advertising costs. The formula of big profits on a small budget is reminiscent of what Blumhouse does in the horror genre.
In 2024, Angel Studios will release Cabrini, a film about the Roman Catholic missionary who later became St. Francesca Cabrini, and the film about St. Francis Cabrini, a German theologian and pastor who fought against the Nazis during the war. “Bonhoeffer” is based on the true story of Bonhoeffer. Third Reich.
Universal and Blumhouse tag team
The collaboration between horror studios Blumhouse and Universal began in earnest in 2023, starting with the release of “M3GAN” in January.
With a modest budget of $12 million, not including marketing costs, the film about a fashionable, murderous doll powered by artificial intelligence grossed $180.7 million worldwide. This is the latest success in a string of high-grossing theatrical productions in the horror genre.
Hollywood’s big-budget blockbusters usually get the most attention, but the consistently strong performance of scary movies in theaters is good news for the film industry.
In Universal Studios and Blumhouse’s M3GAN, lifelike dolls programmed to be a child’s best friend and a parent’s greatest ally take on a ferocious form.
The Blumhouse and Universal tag team also released a movie based on the horror video game Five Nights at Freddy’s in late October, just in time for Halloween.
The film will follow the same distribution route as the previous two films in the Halloween series. comcastThe streaming platform Peacock, owned by Peacock, still generated significant buzz and ticket sales on the day it was released in theaters.
On a budget of $20 million, not including marketing costs, “Five Nights at Freddy’s” grossed $137.2 million domestically and $289.3 million worldwide.
“M3GAN” and “Five Nights at Freddy’s” both achieved the distinct honor of becoming cultural memes. Certain dance sequences from “M3GAN” were faked on social media. He also appeared on “Saturday Night Live.” Meanwhile, the video and audio clip of “Five Nights at Freddy’s” went viral on TikTok.
Blumhouse plans to release four films in 2024 and three films so far in 2025, including a sequel to “M3GAN” and 2021 blockbuster “The Black Phone.”
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.
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