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How Uplifting, Moral Movies Left a Mark on 2023’s Box Office

Poster courtesy of MMPA

How Uplifting, Moral Movies Left a Mark on 2023’s Box Office

By Movieguide® Contributor

Last year’s domestic box office crossed $9 billion, largely helped by uplifting, moral and family-friendly movies.

Per Comscore, the box office tallied $9.03 billion, the highest take since before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

However, “movie ticket sales are still down sharply from pre-pandemic times, when domestic revenue crossed $10 billion every year beginning in 2009 and $11 billion every year beginning in 2015 and ending in 2019, the last year before COVID-19 struck. Comscore believes 2023 domestic revenue will come in at $9.03 billion to $9.05 billion for 2023, a drop of roughly 21 percent from 2019’s $11.4 billion,” The Hollywood Reporter wrote.

“Hitting $9 billion is more than just about dollars and cents, it’s about the lessons learned in what was arguably one of the most significant and challenging years for the movie business,” said Paul Dergarabedian, Comscore Senior Media Analyst. “Moviegoers are the most powerful players in Hollywood and are providing actionable intelligence on a weekly basis to studios and creatives who can learn much from the unexpected success of films that were not even on the radar at the beginning of the year.”

He added, “As a historic box office year comes to a close amidst the tumultuous backdrop of strikes, streaming and shifting audience tastes, the bottom line is that the theatrical experience remains an essential part of the entertainment ecosystem.”

Family-friendly movies like THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE found major success this year. Movieguide® praised SUPER MARIO BROS. for its ‘strong moral message about brotherhood, sacrifice, and working together to overcome evil.” It scored $574,934,330 domestically, making it the No. 2 movie of 2023.

SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE grossed $381,311,319, making it the third-highest earner. Movieguide® celebrated its “Very strong moral, pro-family worldview that also stresses do[ing] the right thing when the main hero faces a moral dilemma.”

Surprise summer blockbuster SOUND OF FREEDOM also helped the 2023 box office with its $184,177,725 domestic earnings. It has a “strong Christian, moral worldview that promotes sacrifice and the message that ‘God’s children are not for sale,'” per Movieguide®.

Deadline added that holiday releases also pushed the box office to the $9 billion mark: “Warner Bros’ trifecta of WONKA (which is leading the four-day New Year’s box office with $30M), AQUAMAN AND THE LOST KINGDOM (4-day $23.5M), and THE COLOR PURPLE ($15M 4-day), as well as adult movies like THE BOYS IN THE BOAT ($11.2M 4-day) and even YA romantic comedy ANYONE BUT YOU ($11M 4-day).”

Movieguide® previously reported on WONKA’s success:

WONKA has surpassed $250 million in box office revenue in just two weeks since its release.

“The prequel story, starring Timothée Chalamet as the eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka, added $33.2 million from 77 international markets, a scant 33% drop from the prior weekend. WONKA has generated $171.3 million overseas and $254.9 million to date. It’s a sweet tally since the film cost $100 million,” Variety reported.

WONKA is “based on the extraordinary character at the center of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl’s most iconic children’s book and one of the best-selling children’s books of all time. WONKA tells the wondrous story of how the world’s greatest inventor, magician and chocolate-maker became the beloved Willy Wonka we know today,” a synopsis of the film reads.

4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.