The 10 most popular movies of 2022

The year 2022 was a pretty decent year for movies. From small auteur driven films like GEM and The Fabelman family to big blockbuster events like No and Elvisthe film industry delivered plenty of movies that rocked theaters and rocked audiences worldwide.

Now that the year is coming to a close, it’s time to look back at the movies that, for better or for worse, stuck with us in 2022. These are the most popular movies based on their US domestic box office receipts as of December 20, 2022. (* indicates that the movie is still in theaters and making money.)

10. Black Adam ($168 million*)

Dwayne Johnson finally got his dream movie to life with Adam replied. But with lackluster reviews and less than desirable box office numbers, it didn’t quite shake up the DC Universe as many had hoped.

Despite this, it still provided many audiences with a fantastic, exciting and enjoyable superhero show as the Man in Black pitted against the Justice Society and the Intergang. It also caused a lot of buzz by bringing back Henry Cavill’s Superman — at least for a little while.

9. Avatar: The Way of Water ($169 million*)

Jake and his family fly in on banshees

The audience waited 13 years for the sequel to James Cameron’s Avatar, so of course it made a big splash when it hit theaters. Like the original film, The way of the water is a technological evolution of film, introducing a state-of-the-art motion capture system for its many breathtaking underwater scenes.

The way of the water also has its fair share of naysayers, but it still ended up being an instant hit, earning two Golden Globe nominations for Best Drama and Best Director before it was even released. This film feels like the culmination of Cameron’s excited career, combining elements of Titanic, The abyss, Aliensand The Terminator films to create just one of many more Avatar sequels to come.

8. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 ($190 million)

Sonic, Tails and Knuckles stand next to each other in the team formation in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

Earth’s favorite blue hedgehog rushed back to cinemas, this time with his two friends, Tails and Knuckles, to give audiences another exciting adventure. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 topped its predecessor to become the world’s highest-grossing video game film.

At the same time, it built its own cinematic universe by tapping into the history of the games and eventually introducing the Chaos Emeralds and Super Sonic into the mix. Ultimately, this sequel sets up a promising adventure for Sonic and his pals that fans are excited to see in the near future.

7. Thor: Love and Thunder ($343 million)

Jane and Thor make eye contact in Thor: Love and Thunder.

In The God of Thunder’s fourth solo film, Marvel Studios brought Jane Foster’s long-awaited return as Mighty Thor. Although it grossed over $760 million at the box office, many people were vocal about their disappointment with the film’s cheesy tone and underdeveloped CGI, calling it another example of Marvel’s recent decline with Phase Four.

Despite this, it still has plenty of vivid visuals, exceptional performances and hilarious moments that make Taiki Waititi’s latest film an electrifying thrill ride.

6. Batman ($369.3 million)

Zoe Kravitz and Robert Pattinson in The Batman.
Batman

Director Matt Reeves brought this film a completely new version of the Dark Knight and Gotham City to the big screen. Unlike previous cinematic iterations of the Batman mythos, this reboot takes a deep dive into the Caped Crusader’s morality and questions whether he can truly be considered a hero.

All of this takes place against the backdrop of Batman’s war with the Riddler and Gotham’s corrupt elite, providing a suspenseful, gripping and action-packed adventure through the city’s criminal underworld.

5. Minions: The Rise of Gru ($369.5 million)

Gru looks happy as he is surrounded by his Minions in his underbuilt lair.

Gru and his minions are at it again in this highly anticipated prequel to Silly me. Although it follows a young Gru as he tries to become the world’s greatest villain, his Minions continue to steal the show as they try to rescue their “mini boss” from the Vicious 6.

With so many funny and adorable moments from the titular yellow munchkins, the film understandably scored big at the box office. It also started that weird but disgusting trend of people dressing up as Minions and annoying people in theaters.

4. Jurassic World: Dominion ($376 million)

The cast of Jurassic World: Dominion stare up at an approaching dinosaur.

This threequel brought Colin Trevorrow back to the director’s chair, as well as the original cast of the franchise, for one final journey through Jurassic World. Like the other films in the franchise, Dominion made a huge profit at the cinema.

Nevertheless, the film was still buried under a mountain of negative reviews, with many people agreeing that it is now time to close Jurassic Park for good. Despite its flaws, it was still a treat to see the characters from both trilogies come together on the big screen, and with plenty of captivating dinosaurs, Dominion felt like a solid finish to the franchise.

3. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($411 million)

Xochitl Gomez, Benedict Wong and Benedict Cumberbatch stare into the camera in a scene from Doctor Strange in the multiverse of madness.

Doctor Strange’s second solo film had Marvel fans buzzing, especially since then Spiderman director Sam Raimi directed it. Although it grossed nearly a billion dollars, it still proved to be one of the MCU’s more divisive projects for failing to live up to its massive hype.

The film basically brought back the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and the Inhumans with the Illuminati, but audiences still felt that this interdimensional blockbuster didn’t quite live up to its potential. Still, with Raimi’s unique style and incredible visuals, this film is arguably one of Marvel Studios’ most distinctive and directorially driven films to date.

2. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ($420 million*)

shuri-black-panther-wakanda-forever
Marvel Studios

As the sequel to one of the most culturally impactful films in recent memory, Wakanda forever was sure to get a massive audience. Although the film was sadly missing the late great Chadwick Boseman, it still provided a compelling story of a nation trying to heal from its tragic loss in the midst of the war with the aquatic Talokans.

Cast members, old and new, deliver outstanding performances, including a Golden Globe-nominated performance by Angela Bassett, and director Ryan Coogler’s beautifully crafted epic delivers a film that burns brightly among Marvel’s many other films.

1. Top Gun: Maverick ($718 million)

Tom Cruise flies a plane in Top Gun: Maverick.

It’s not often that a reboot does better than the original film, though Top Gun: Maverick skyrocketed with both critics and at the box office. After 30 years, audiences are reunited with Pete “Maverick” Mitchell as he is tasked with teaching a new team of Top Gun fighter pilots, including the son of his late friend, Goose.

With jaw-dropping action, a refreshing and soulful story, and loving callbacks to the first film, Top Gun: Maverick is a sequel that has become a legacy film for the ages.

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