The phenomenon 'Barbenheimer' and 'Super Mario Bros,' the highest-grossing movies of 2023

Movies like 'Barbie,' 'Oppenheimer' and 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' saved the film industry while Hollywood was hit by a major strike.

The film and television industry has been hectic this past year. The double strike that was first started by screenwriters and later joined by actors, has greatly affected the development of productions set to be released in 2024, which has caused a big change in the release dates for films and series. It has especially impacted productions both on and off the big screen in the last half of 2023.

However, the shortage of film and TV productions, whether series or movies, still did not prevent some titles from catching viewers' attention. Both film and television had their moment to shine and there were many productions that caught viewers' and experts' attention, becoming a success and generating lots of conversation on social media.

The filmmaking industry has made a name for itself this year. A cultural phenomenon called "Barbenheimer" occurred July 21 and caused the two films released on that day to enter the top 3 of the highest-grossing feature films of the year.

However, they were not the only ones and the box office was once again filled with movies, among which video game adaptations and continuations of mythical sagas stand out. According to the website Box Office Mojo, these are the highest-grossing movies of this year:

10. 'Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania' (release date: February 17)

In the film world, the year began as usual, with a movie from Marvel Studios that was also the official introduction of the new villain for phases 5 and 6 of the company, Kang the Conqueror.

With box office sales much lower than what the company had predicted, "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" managed, against all odds, to enter the top 10 at the global box office, earning $476,071,180. However, the figure was not enough, since the film had to make more than $600 million to balance out the profits and losses and be profitable for The Walt Disney Company.

The movie, available on Disney Plus, takes place in the quantum realm. There, Scott (Paul Rudd), his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) and the Pym Van Dyne family, consisting of Hope, Hank and Jane Van Dyne (Evangeline Lily, Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer) will go on a new adventure. While they explore the new universe, they will have to face Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), the villain who will play a large role in the rest of phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

This is still assuming that they will continue with the development of Kang, the Conqueror. It is a decision that Marvel will make in the coming months after firing the actor who played him, Jonathar Majors, who was recently found guilty of assault.

9. 'Elemental' (release date: June 16)

Pixar also managed to attract audiences to movie theaters. The company did it with "Elemental," a feature film that, despite its controversy for introducing the company's first non-binary character, managed to make $496,071,180 and placing ninth among the highest-grossing films.

"Elemental," available on Disney Plus, takes place in a city where beings that represent each of the four basic elements coexist: fire, water, earth and air. Ember and Wade live there, a young girl made out of fire and a boy made out of water. They end up discovering that they have more in common than it seems and they share a beautiful story that viewers can identify with when going to theaters to learn more about them.

8. 'Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part 1' (release date: July 12)

Tom Cruise returned to the big screen playing one of the actor's most beloved characters, Ethan Hunt in "Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part 1," and the public returned to theaters with him. It is the first part of two movies that, predictably, will end the saga produced by JJ Abrams and Paramount Pictures.

Despite arriving on the big screen a week before the boom that soon stole its prominence, the movie managed to raise $567,535,383 worldwide, placing eighth in the ranking.

In the movie, the field operations agent for the elite agency dedicated to espionage and focused, mainly, on carrying out the most dangerous and sensitive international missions, that is, the "impossible" missions, returns to action. Ethan Hunt carries out the most unlikely missions, this time accompanied by the agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson). It is available for rent at Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play and YouTube, among others.

7. 'The Little Mermaid' (release date: May 26)

Ariel resurfaced with "The Little Mermaid" in 2023 and did it with a live-action that, despite the controversy it generated, grossed $569,626,289 at the box office, ranking seventh on the list of the highest-grossing films of 2023.

However, the highly anticipated movie failed to exceed the income that the company expected from it. Furthermore, it became one of the many movies that has recorded significant losses and caused the Walt Disney Corporation to plunge into a worse economic crisis than it was already in.

Starring African-American actress Halle Bailey, the movie reunited us with the young and dreamy mermaid and daughter of King Triton (Javier Bardem), Ariel (Halle Bailey). She is tired of her life as a princess under the sea and wishes to leave the ocean and explore the surface. The witch Ursula (Melissa McCarthy) finds out and offers her a deal: in exchange for her voice, she will turn her into a human. Ariel accepts and begins her adventure, which is currently available to watch on Disney Plus.

6. 'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse' (release date: June 2)

2023 once again showed us that not just  Peter Parker was going to wear the Spider-Man suit, Miles Morales could also and with box office revenues much higher than expected. "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse," the long-awaited sequel to "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" produced by Sony Pictures, managed to make $690,516,673 during the weeks it was at the box office. More importantly, it demonstrated that animated films are at an all-time high.

The sequel, available on Netflix, returned five years after the original with a new adventure starring, again, Miles Morales. As seen in the first installment, the young man gets his superpowers after being bitten by a spider and soon discovers the existence of a multiverse where there are other versions of Spider-Man from different universes. Alongside them, Morales will juggle his high school teenage routine with keeping an eye on New York City and chasing villains.

Miles Morales' story was no different from that of the other chosen ones, even though he didn't share the same name: he was a misunderstood young man who was bitten by a radioactive spider that gave him superpowers. The only problem? His name was not Peter Parker, so he was not supposed to be the one who the spider gave powers to. The story had changed and had given a new dimension to the superhero. One completely unknown to the general public, but one that raised the enthusiasm of many. "Spider-Man: A New Universe" had arrived, demonstrating that the superhero's story could still surprise us all and attract viewers to theaters.

5. 'Fast X' (release date: May 19)

The tenth installment of the race car saga, "Fast X," landed in theaters in mid-May and quickly attracted a large crowd to theaters, placing it fifth on the list of the highest-grossing films of 2023 and obtaining a collection of $704,709,660 Worldwide. "Fast & Furious" made an attempt to end the Universal Pictures franchise with "Fast X," also featuring Vin Diesel as Dominic Torreto, the film's main character to replace Paul Walker who sadly died in 2013.

In "Fast X," available on Peacock, Dom Toretto and his family must face the most dangerous enemy they have ever faced. Driven by revenge, a terrifying threat emerges from the shadows of the past to tear Dom's world apart and destroy everything - and everyone - he loves.

Vin Diesel revealed in a recent interview that the film will have at least two new installments, demonstrating that the saga "Fast & Furious" still has more races, more speed and much more action left before its final outcome arrives.

4. 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' (release date: May 5)

Marvel Studios always earns a place among the highest-grossing films and, during 2023, they did it twice. The first, as mentioned before, was with "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania." The second, and much more deserved, was with "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," the movie that put an end to the most beloved band of outlaws in the galaxy and that grossed a total of $845,555,777.

The movie, available on Disney Plus, follows Peter Quill (Pratt), who is still recovering from Gamora's absence (Zoë Saldaña), and must lead the group again to defend the galaxy in an effort to protect one of his own, Rocket the raccoon. Rocket's story thrilled the public and attracted them, even more so, to movie theaters around the world, turning out to be a real success at the box office.

Like the other two movies in the saga, James Gunn, current co-head of DC Studios, directed and wrote "Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3," ending his run at Marvel Studios with this feature film. Dave Bautista, Karen Guillan, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper return as Drax, Nebula, Mantis, Groot and Rocket, respectively. Joining the cast is actor Will Poulter as Adam Warlock, the enemy that could destroy this band of misfits for good.

3. 'Oppenheimer' (release date: July 21)

"Oppenheimer," from Universal Pictures, was one of the clear winners this summer, in part due to its release date, which coincided with the other big film of 2023: "Barbie," unleashing a true phenomenon with its own name: "Barbenheimer."

The film soon became the third highest-grossing film this year, earning a total of $951,996,130 during its run in theaters, which against all odds, lasted almost the entire summer. Furthermore, despite not being the most successful feature film this year, "Oppenheimer" did break two records: being the first Christopher Nolan film that earned the most during its first two weeks at the box office and becoming the highest-grossing biopic in history.

"Oppenheimer" takes place during World War II, when Lieutenant General Leslie Groves Jr. appoints physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer to work on the secret Manhattan Project. Oppenheimer and a team of scientists spend years developing and designing the atomic bomb. Their work finally pays off on July 16, 1945, when they witness the world's first nuclear explosion, which changes the course of history forever. The movie tells the before, during and after of this event, showing the experiences of the atomic bomb creator througout the entire process.

2. 'The Super Mario Bros. Movie' (date: April 5)

Although the "Barbenheimer" phenomenon is the clear winner of 2023, there was a film that stood out long before "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer" hit the big screen: "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," produced by Universal Pictures. The feature film about the red plumber earned a whopping 1,361,427,971 dollars during the weeks that it was on billboards around the world. Furthermore, in just a few weeks it became the second highest-grossing animated film in history only behind "Incredibles 2," a record that was soon snatched from the Pixar film.

The feature film tells the story of Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day), two brothers who travel to a hidden world to help Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy) and face the evil King Bowser (Jack Black).

However, things are not so simple and the two plumbers have to face an army of animated mushrooms before fighting their opponent, as well as cross brick paths and castles with lots of dangers and obstacles that the main characters, just like in the video game, have to overcome to fulfill their mission. The film also shows other video game characters such as Toad (Keegan-Michael Key) and Donkey Kong (Seth Rogen). "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" is available to watch on Netflix.

1. 'Barbie' (date: July 21)

If there was a picture that stands out the most in the the movie industry in 2023, it is of thousands of people lining up, all dressed in pink, to see the movie starring the popular Mattel doll, "Barbie," and produced by Warner Bros. Studios.

Just like that, a real boom began that ended as only it could with the popular doll, played by Margot Robbie, in first place among the highest-grossing films of this year. Its run in theaters around the world ended with a total of $1,441,817,322, showing that people still want to go to movie theaters. A milestone that was also achieved in just a month.

The film, available on Max, became a dream for thousands of fans of the toy who gathered in theaters starting July 21 to see Barbie and Ken in action on the big screen. The movie, directed by Greta Gerwig, shows us the life of Barbie (Margot Robbie) and Ken (Ryan Gosling) in "Barbieland."

However, the main character gets kicked out from that universe because she is not perfect enough and starts to experience glitches caused by the person who is playing with her. This makes her not fit in and will force her to start a new life in the real world, where she goes on a big adventure.

List made by Voz Media with the 10 highest-grossing films of 2023.
(Christian Camacho / VozMedia)