2023 Box Office Lessons: Audiences Wanted Comfort, Not Spectacle

By Robert J. Matthews

Lined Circle
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Hollywood's traditional movie-making rules were challenged in 2023.

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Superhero films, typically reliable, failed to excite audiences this year.

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"Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" struggled with a disappointing $28 million in the US and Canada.

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Surprisingly, the year's biggest hit was "Barbie," directed by a woman and defying gender-related assumptions.

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The Super Mario Bros. Movie" took second place with an unexpected $1.36 billion at the box office.

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"Oppenheimer," a three-hour period drama, contradicted the belief that adult-oriented films don't thrive in theaters.

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A shift in audience preferences was observed, with a focus on relatable and inspirational stories over overwhelming spectacles.

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"Sound of Freedom," catering to the far right, and "The Eras Tour," targeting Taylor Swift fans, were unexpected box office successes.

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