According to the business news site Marketplace, as of Dec. 5, only 66 movies had gone into general release in America in 2022, down more than a third from 2019 – and many of those had only brief theatrical showings or went straight to streaming.
Have we lost the habit of going to movie theaters – of enjoying the communal experience of watching films in a crowd, sharing our laughs and tears and shivers with a roomful of people? Do we prefer HBO to AMC?
That’s a possibility that certainly has the motion picture industry worried – but there are signs that the experience of theatrical movie-going isn’t dead yet. “Avatar: The Way of Water” topped $500 million in domestic box office through the end of last year (and a breathtaking $1.7 billion worldwide) without going near Disney+ or any other streaming platform and hasn’t stopped yet. And even when it does start streaming, watching it at home just won’t be the same as watching it in a theater, where it can be seen in IMAX 3D – and even, in a few places, so-called 4D, enhanced with environmental effects, including wind and rain. (These are the highest-grossing movies of all time.)
Whether viewers plan on heading to the theater to watch them, or prefer to wait until they show up at home (which may be almost instantaneously in some cases), some films scheduled for release this year have clearly started stimulating interest.
To determine the most anticipated movies of 2023, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on Wikipedia pageviews for upcoming movies slated for 2023. Movies scheduled for release between Jan. 20, 2023 and Dec. 21, 2023 were ranked based on average daily Wikipedia pageviews throughout 2022. Director and cast information came from IMDb, an online movie and TV database owned by Amazon.
Clearly one way to get folks into the theater is to go big, with spectacles that just wouldn’t be the same when viewed from the couch. Not surprisingly, there are plenty of potential blockbusters on this list, including the latest installments of such enduring franchises as Hunger Games, Spider-Man, Transformers, Indiana Jones, Guardians of the Galaxy, and of course Mission: Impossible. (You might be surprised to learn that Marvel barely makes the top 10 movie franchises of all time.)
There’s star power aplenty, too, with such marquee names as Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Matt Damon, Timothée Chalamet, Michelle Yeoh, and Dwayne Johnson.
You’ll find horror, thrillers, sci-fi, adventure, humor, romance, and more listed here. There’s even a slasher film that will have Walt Disney (whose company lost exclusive film rights to the beloved A.A. Milne characters a year ago) turning in his grave: “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey” – in which the title character and Piglet go feral. That’s one you might not want to watch alone.
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