This winter break brought plenty of critically and financially successful films.
James Cameron’s long awaited sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water,” made a splash at the box office, earning more than $1.7 billion globally in its first four weeks. This secured its spot within the top 10 highest grossing films of all time.
Dreamworks Animation also came out with a sequel to its 2011 film “Puss in Boots.” The sequel, “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” has not only been highly successful financially with an exponentially growing global haul of more than $200 million, but it also has been hailed by critics as one of the best films of 2022.
While this success caught many by surprise, 2023 seems to have a few surprises on its slate as well.
Universal Pictures’s “M3GAN” has garnered great appreciation from both audiences and critics alike following its release in early January.
The horror film also has done marvelously at the domestic box office despite the negative reactions to its viral marketing in the months leading up to its release. Many viewers found the trailers to be not only derivative of thrillers released before it but also lacking any sense of seriousness.
Clearly this wasn’t a problem for most moviegoers, which begs the question, what other upcoming films have a chance of taking the world by storm?
On Jan. 13, Gerard Butler’s latest action film “Plane” flew into theaters. Much like “M3GAN,” the film has gained an unconventional following due to its hilariously simplistic title. In a clever marketing strategy, the film’s distributor has fully leaned into the ridiculousness and continues to banter with its potential audience on various social media platforms.
If films like “M3GAN” and last summer’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru” are any indication, self-awareness can and will sell tickets.
Younger moviegoers tend to appreciate corporations and studios poking fun at themselves, and the studios typically are rewarded as a result. This is not always the case, as last year’s “Morbius” re-release can attest to, but hopefully things can work out in “Plane’s” favor.
Tom Hanks’s latest feature film, “A Man Called Otto,” based on the Swedish novel “A Man Called Ove,” released alongside “Plane” and seems to be aimed at older audiences, a demographic largely underrepresented in the current theater landscape. The film’s impressive box office numbers hopefully point toward more mid-budget, adult-oriented fare.
Universal’s stream of unpredictable features extends into February with M. Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller, “Knock at The Cabin,” and yet another highly self-aware comedy, “Cocaine Bear.” Disney is set to release Marvel Studios’s “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” on Feb. 17, which will likely rule the box office for the following weeks.
Overall, the first quarter of 2023 is looking to be, if nothing else, a unique and diverse time at the movies.