2023 Box Office in Review: A Year Where Filmmakers Flourished and Franchises Failed

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Universal and Barbenheimer were the biggest winners in a year where the domestic box office hit $9.05 billion

“Barbie,” “John Wick: Chapter 4," "Guardians of the Galaxy 3” and “Oppenheimer.” (TheWrap/Chris Smith)

At the start of 2023, Paramount’s famously candid distribution chief Chris Aronson told TheWrap that “the gloves have to come off” when appraising the box office. COVID-19 could no longer be used as an excuse. Movies, studios and the franchises that hold up the theatrical business would have to either sink or swim on their own merits.

With that in mind, there’s plenty of praise and hard judgments to be made from how this year’s films panned out. The changing tastes of audiences affected every studio, and even the ones that had the highest annual box office totals had some misfires and flops on their slate.


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