2023 Box Office Preview: Paramount Pictures

Courtesy Paramount Pictures; Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment

Paramount is heading into 2023 with a lot of goodwill from the exhibition community, following a 2022 with marquee titles (Top Gun: Maverick) and strong mid-range performers (Scream, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, The Lost City). The current year will see another high-profile Tom Cruise franchise hit screens (Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1 on July 14), along with sequels from the Transformers franchise (June 9) and a relaunch of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series (August 4). 

2023 Preview

High Expectations

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

March 31, 2023

Paramount hopes to launch another franchise for its stable with this adaptation of the popular tabletop role-playing game, published in 1974 and currently enjoying a pop culture resurgence. John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein—the duo behind 2018’s Game Night ($69.2M) and 2015’s National Lampoon reboot Vacation ($58.8M)–direct. Among recent high fantasy films, 2016’s Warcraft (also based on a roleplaying game, though not a tabletop one) represents a mark to aim for as well as a cautionary tale: while it made bank overseas, with a strong performance in China leading to a $391.6M global haul, it underperformed domestically ($43.7M) and was not greenlit for a sequel. – Rebecca Pahle

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

June 9, 2023

The Transformers franchise has been in decline at the domestic box office since 2009’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ($402.1M). The last installment, 2018’s Bumblebee, finished its domestic run with a franchise-low $127.1M domestic run. Paramount will be playing the global game with Rise of the Beasts, angling for a strong overseas run in the franchise’s return to theaters. – Daniel Loria

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

July 14, 2023

Tom Cruise reprises his role as Ethan Hunt in the return of the Mission: Impossible franchise to theaters. Both the star and the franchise are coming off record earnings at the box office. Cruise reclaimed his status as the world’s biggest movie star after the release of Top Gun: Maverick in 2022. The Mission: Impossible franchise is coming off its biggest hit in the series, a $220.1M domestic run for 2018’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Everything is in place for this title to be a top contender for the highest-grossing movie of the year. – Daniel Loria    

Breakout Contenders

Scream VI

March 10, 2023

Paramount dominated the first three months of 2022 at the box office, with Scream, The Lost City, Jackass Forever drawing moviegoers to theaters during a time when little else was coming out. The success of Scream—the fifth movie in the horror franchise, and the first since director Wes Craven’s passing in 2015—caused Paramount to pick up the pace on a sequel, coming to cinemas only 14 months later. 2022’s Scream ($81.6M) is an easy comp, as is fellow March horror release Us ($127.8M). Box office for the first four films in the franchise have ranged from $38.1M (2011’s Scream 4) to $103M—earned by 1996’s original Scream, still the financial high-water mark for the franchise. – Rebecca Pahle

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

August 4, 2023

Paramount reboots this ’90s film franchise, based on a late-’80s cartoon series, with Mutant Mayhem, directed by Jeff Rowe (co-director of 2021’s The Mitchells vs the Machines, which was slated to be a theatrical release until Sony sold it to Netflix) and Kyler Spears. This new film will be animated, following in the footsteps of 2007’s TMNT ($54.1M). It’s been less than a decade since Paramount’s most recent accept at a franchise reboot; 2014’s live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was the studio’s second-highest earner of the year domestically, with $191.2M, while 2016 sequel Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows fell short with $82M.

Paramount 2023 Theatrical Release Schedule

80 for Brady
February 3, 2023

Titanic 25 Year Anniversary
February 10, 2023

Scream VI
March 10, 2023

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
March 31, 2023

Transformers: Rise of The Beasts
June 9, 2023

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One
July 14, 2023

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem
August 4, 2023

Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie
October 13, 2023

2022 Recap

Top Gun: Maverick

Domestic earnings in 2022: $718.7M

Released: May 27, 2022

The race between the first and second place film of the calendar year is often a squeaker. See 2018, when Black Panther beat Avengers: Infinity War by only +3.1%, 2014 when Guardians of the Galaxy beat The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 by only +2.8%, 2017 when Star Wars: The Last Jedi beat Beauty and the Beast by only +2.6%, or 2013 when Iron Man 3 beat The Hunger Games: Catching Fire by only +0.4%. Maverick took off at the box office over Memorial Day weekend and left its competitors in the dust. – Jesse Rifkin

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Domestic earnings in 2022: $190.8M

Released: April 8, 2022

This sequel out-earned 2020’s original Sonic the Hedgehog ($146.0M), which saw its would-be sixth weekend (and afterwards) eliminated because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It likely would have earned somewhere around $150M or $155M total. A third installment will be released on December 20, 2024. – Jesse Rifkin

Smile

Domestic earnings in 2022: $105.9M

Released: September 30, 2022

The horror title was originally scheduled to be released straight to Paramount+, but test screenings proved so positive that Paramount pivoted to theatrical exclusivity instead. The film dropped only -18% in its sophomore weekend, among the best holds of any 2022 film—a particularly impressive number given the notoriously frontloaded nature of the horror genre, which routinely seems films drop -50% or more in their second week. For comparison, July’s Nope dropped -58%, while October’s Halloween Ends dropped -80%. – Jesse Rifkin

The Lost City

Domestic earnings in 2022: $105.3M

Released: March 25, 2022

The star power of Sandra Bullock plus Channing Tatum in this adventure/romantic comedy out-earned the year’s other big theatrical romantic comedy with two A-list stars: Universal Pictures’ Ticket to Paradise ($68.0M). – Jesse Rikfin 

Photo Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group

Scream

Domestic earnings in 2022: $81.6M

Released: January 14, 2022

The horror franchise’s fifth installment more than doubled the box office for the prior film, 2011’s Scream 4 ($38.1M). It was even the movie to finally break the #1 weekend streak of Spider-Man: No Way Home, the third-highest grossing film of all time at the domestic box office. A sixth Scream installment will be released on March 10, 2023. – Jesse Rikfin 

Jackass Forever

Domestic earnings in 2022: $57.7M

Released: February 4, 2022

The fifth installment of the R-rated comedy documentary franchise of dares and stunts was the lowest-grossing, behind 2002’s Jackass: The Movie ($64.2M), 2006’s Jackass Number Two ($72.7M), 2010’s Jackass 3D ($117.2M), and 2013 spinoff Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa ($102M). – Jesse Rikfin 

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank

Domestic earnings in 2022: $17.8M

Released: July 15, 2022

The animated title from Paramount’s Nickelodeon Movies imprint earned less than many of the imprint’s other animated titles, like 2021’s PAW Patrol: The Movie ($40.1M, despite coming out day-and-date) and 2019’s Wonder Park ($45.2M). – Jesse Rikfin 

Courtesy Paramount Pictures

Babylon

Domestic earnings in 2022: $9M

Released: December 23, 2022

Heavily promoted as the new release from writer-director Damien Chazelle, the film looks poised to earn less than one-fifth of his 2016 La La Land ($151.1M) and perhaps less than half of 2018’s First Man ($44.9M).

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