2022 is the year superhero movies lose their box office dominance

2022 is officially the year superhero movies lose their box-office dominance. What does this mean for the future of Hollywood, the MCU, and the DCU?

2022 is officially the year superhero movies lose their box-office dominance. In hindsight, 2008 was a pivotal moment in Hollywood history. Marvel Studios is betting on creating a shared universe, one featuring B- and C-class superheroes whose movie rights have been sold by other studios, or whose rights have reverted to Marvel, Because they've been in development hell for years. No one expected the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be as successful, and Marvel was no exception.

Fourteen years later, by the end of 2022, MCU films have grossed over $28 billion worldwide. Avengers: Endgame, which ended victoriously with Phases 1-3, brought in nearly $2.8 billion worldwide. Superheroes and comic book adaptations are all the rage, with movies and TV series popping up with an astonishing variety of characters and concepts like Black Adam, Shang-Chi, Miles Morales' Spider-Man, Doom Patrol, Umbrella College, and the boys. However, despite this, 2022 seems to be the year when fashion improves -- as superheroes lose their grip on the global box office.

Superhero Films Have Lost Their Grip On The Box Office

2022 box office vs. In 2021, that's sure to be a breath of relief for studios. But it's worth noting that while the year featured several major superhero movies -- including three MCU blockbusters -- none of them broke $1 billion worldwide. In 2018, "Venom" -- a relatively underwhelming superhero movie -- grossed more than $856 million worldwide. In 2022, only two of the five superhero movies that year broke that unlikely benchmark — Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Dwayne Johnson's "Black Adam," the film he hopes will reboot the entire DC Universe, didn't even break $400 million worldwide. Fashion is clearly changing in pop culture.

Franchises & Nostalgia Remained Important For 2022

Still, franchising is clearly more important than ever. James Cameron's "Avatar: The Way of Water" is proof of that, breaking $1 billion in just 12 days of release. As of this writing, it's too early to gauge how the sequel to the 2009 classic will perform; nonetheless, it's already one of three titles set to break the $1 billion milestone in 2022. The other two are Top Gun: Maverick and Jurassic World: Dominion. Both are established franchises, and both Selling on nostalgia - "Jurassic World: Dominion" finally delivers on the promise of the latest trilogy, combining a new cast with the '90s original. Taken together, the top three hits of 2022 support the idea that franchises and nostalgia are at the heart of modern pop culture.

Looking back, 2019 now appears to be the high point for the superhero genre. While 2020 and 2021 have certainly been impacted by Covid, it's certainly significant that only one superhero movie has grossed more than $1 billion since 2019 -- Spider-Man: No Way Home. That particular movie was also designed to appeal to nostalgia, though, as it featured the return of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield as past Spider-Man iterations. Its success likely has more to do with Spider-Man's enduring popularity and his nostalgic appeal than with the MCU itself.

What Does This Mean For The Future Of Hollywood?

Of course, this doesn't mean the superhero genre will go the way of the West. That's especially true for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where the Multiverse Saga could repeat the nostalgic appeal of Spider-Man: No Way Home by incorporating past iterations of characters like the X-Men; 2026's Avengers: Secret Wars looks set Perfect timing. But unfortunately, the latest DC Universe reboot comes at a time when DC Films boss James Gunn will need to figure out how to navigate the current fad. Sony's "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" is likely to be a hit, and set photos suggest an unlikely "Spider-Woman" aimed at appealing to fans of the Spider-Verse franchise, but the studio's other unrealistic plans Choices can be troublesome.

Beyond the superhero genre, Indiana Jones and the Wheel of Fortune, out June 30, 2023, should be one of the top performers of the year. Audiences can expect Hollywood to double down on established franchises in 2023 and beyond, and sadly, it wouldn't be surprising to find originals relegated to streaming services like Disney+. 2022 marks a big change at the box office, but it's not the year that will benefit the originals, and it's disappointing news for those hoping for a new franchise.

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