The Hollywood Reporter published its annual 2022 “profit report”, covering results from all the major Hollywood studios. Many of the results were intuitive, with Paramount enjoying the largest year-over-year gains, fueled by the phenomenal success of TOP GUN: MAVERICK ($719M domestic, $1.49B worldwide), with additional support from the animated sequel SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 ($191M domestic, $405M worldwide) and the surprise horror hit SMILE ($106M domestic, $217M worldwide).
Universal and Warner Bros. also had improved earnings in 2022, though each for its own reason. Universal significantly increased its number of theatrical releases with notable hits including JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION, MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU, and PUSS IN BOOTS: THE LAST WISH. But this increase in output came with a corresponding 25% increase in costs for production and marketing, which held its profit gain to only 7%. The scenario at Warner Bros. was exactly the opposite, having only six new films released theatrically but holding down costs significantly which helped increase profits in 2022 by 14% despite a decline in its overall revenue.
On the other hand, Sony and Disney saw a decline in their profits in 2022. Sony’s drop could be attributed to having a tough act to follow, with the record-breaking success of SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME when it opened in 2021. While Sony had solid results with UNCHARTED, WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING and BULLET TRAIN, none of these mid-level successes could hold a candle to SPIDER-MAN’s $1.9B gross.
While Disney did not disclose the details of its 2022 box office performance, it’s clear that it had a rough time of it in 2022. Almost all their theatrical releases – DR. STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS, THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER, LIGHTYEAR, and BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER – came in either at or below expectations.
STRANGE WORLD stands out as an acute disappointment, with its loss likely running into the hundreds of millions. Disney did see gold at the end of the year with the smashing success of AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER, however, a large portion of its box office came after the end of the year, limiting its impact on the studio’s 2022 results.