2023 Box Office Preview: Sony Pictures

Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) in Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation's SPIDER-MAN™: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE (PART ONE).

Sony stumbled at the box office last year, netting zero 2022 releases among the top ten—though Spider-Man: No Way Home, released in December 2021, ranks as the ninth highest-grossing film of 2022 when looking at in-calendar grosses. Spider-Man aside, only two Sony films cracked the $100M mark last year, and one of them just barely. 2023 looks more promising for the studio, with sequels to 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife on the schedule. 

2023 Preview

High Expectations

Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse

June 2, 2023

Sony follows up their Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018; $190.2M) with Across the Spider-Verse, itself to be followed by 2024’s Beyond the Spider-Verse. Into the Spider-Verse far out-earned fellow animated superhero films based on comic book IP, including Teen Titans GO! To the Movies ($29.7M) and 2022 underperformer DC League of Super-Pets ($93.6). On the other side of the spectrum is Pixar’s pair of the Incredibles movies, which earned $261.4M (2004) and $608.5M (2018). – Rebecca Pahle

Kraven the Hunter 

October 6, 2023

For the fourth film in Sony’s live-action series based on Spider-Man villains—distinct from both their Spider-Verse films and the MCU Spider-Man trilogy–Sony is hoping for box office more in line with Venom (2018) and its sequel (2021), each of which earned $213.5M domestically, than 2022’s Morbius, which topped out at $73.8M despite the studio bumping its screen count from 83 to 1,000-plus three months into its run. – Rebecca Pahle

Ghostbusters Sequel 

December 20, 2023

Fans of the 80’s iconic comedy-horror franchise waited decades for a big-screen follow-up to 1989’s Ghostbusters II. 2016’s Ghostbusters was intended to push the series in a new direction, but audiences were unwilling to follow—culminating in an underwhelming $128M domestic run. Sony’s second stab at a relaunch, 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife, didn’t fare much better—but its $129M domestic haul was one of the few bright spots of a pandemic-stricken box office. Sony must feel confident this title can cross the $130M mark with a Christmas release. – Daniel Loria

Breakout Contenders

Missing

January 20, 2023

Storm Reid stars in this mystery thriller, a sequel/spin-off to 2018’s Searching; both films involve protagonists searching for missing family members and take place entirely on screens. Overperformer Searching, released under Sony’s Screen Gems banner, earned $26M, though it topped out on 2,009 screens, while Missing is likely to get a somewhat wider release. Another screen-bound sequel to a screen-bound film is 2018’s Unfriended: Dark Web, which earned $8.8M to its predecessor’s $32.4M. – Rebecca Pahle

65

March 17, 2023

Sony kept the basic plot of 65 under wraps right up until the December 2022 release of its trailer, which revealed an interesting twist: the “alien” planet astronaut Adam Driver finds himself stranded on is actually Earth, 65 million years in the past. Thus: dinosaurs. Regarded as a futuristic sci-fi movie, comps for 65 include 2016’s Passengers ($100M), 2012’s Prometheus ($126.4M), or 2017’s Alien: Covenant ($74.2M); looked at as a man-vs.-dino actioner, the closest recent films are the Jurassic World movies, which earned $653.4 (2015’s Jurassic World), $417.7M (2018’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom), $376.8M (2022’s Jurassic World: Dominion). 

The Equalizer 3

September 1, 2023

Few traditionsare as American as cheeseburgers, apple pie, and late-summer action movies. Dads across the country will have their moviegoing choice ready to go for Labor Day weekend with the third installment of The Equalizer series. The Denzel Washington vehicle has proved to be a reliable draw at the box office, with the first two installments respectively grossing $102M in North America. – Daniel Loria

Sony 2023 Theatrical Release Schedule

Missing

January 20, 2023

65

March 17, 2023

The Pope’s Exorcist 

April 7, 2023

Untitled George Foreman Biopic 

April 28, 2023

Love Again

May 12, 2023

The Machine

May 26, 2023

Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse

June 2, 2023

No Hard Feelings 

June 23, 2023

Harold and the Purple Crayon

June 30, 2023

Insidious 5   

July 7, 2023

Gran Turismo

August 11, 2023

They Listen

August 25, 2023

The Equalizer 3

September 1, 2023

Kraven the Hunter 

October 6, 2023

Ghostbusters Sequel 

December 20, 2023

2022 Recap

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Domestic earnings in 2022: $241.1M in 2022 ($814.1M total)

Released: December 17, 2021

Not only was the latest Peter Parker installment the highest-grossing film in calendar year 2021 by more than double its nearest competitor, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, No Way Home will finish as one of top 10 films in calendar year grosses for 2022. A September 2022 re-release, timed to coincide with National Cinema Day, earned Sony an additional $9.3M. – Jesse Rifkin

Uncharted

Domestic earnings in 2022: $148.6M

Released: February 18, 2022

Notoriously, live-action video game adaptations have struggled at the box office for years, with films like 2018’s Tomb Raider reboot ($58.2M), 2016’s Warcraft ($47.3M), 2016’s Assassin’s Creed ($54.6M), and 2021’s Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City ($16.9M) failing to connect with audiences. Along with recent live-action/animated hybrids Pokémon: Detective Pikachu ($144.1M) and the Sonic the Hedgehog series, Uncharted is helping to break the curse. – Jesse Rifkin 

Bullet Train

Domestic earnings in 2022: $103.2M

Released: August 5, 2022

Brad Pitt taking on a series of hitmen aboard a speeding locomotive in Japan proved a hit recipe. Bullet Train was also the third-highest earning R-rated film of the year, behind Nope and Smile. – Jesse Rifkin

Where the Crawdads Sing

Domestic earnings in 2022: $90.0M

Released: July 15, 2022

Compared to other female-led adaptations of bestselling dramatic novels, Crawdads came in a bit below 2011’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ($102.5M) and a bit above 2016’s The Girl on the Train ($75.3M). – Jesse Rifkin 

Morbius

Domestic earnings in 2022: $73.7M

Released: April 1, 2022

Released as the third installment in a loosely connected franchise about Spider-Man universe characters, Morbius came in at less than half of 2018’s Venom and 2021’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage, each of which earned $213.5M at the box office. Sony Spider-verse installment Kraven the Hunter will come out on October 6, 2023, followed by El Muerto on January 12, 2024 and Madame Web on February 16, 2024. – Jesse Rifkin

The Woman King

Domestic earnings in 2022: $67.1M

Released: September 16, 2022

The historical action drama starring Viola Davis earned +58% above her 2018 ensemble actioner Widows and +16% above 2016’s Fences, which netted the actress her first Oscar. – Jesse Rifkin 

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile

Domestic earnings in 2022: $46.5M

Released: October 7, 2022

The children’s book adaptation earned a comparable amount to 2021’s Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway ($40.5M), 2021’s Tom & Jerry ($46.5M), 2021’s Clifford the Big Red Dog ($48.9M), and 2018’s Paddington 2 ($40.8M). – Jesse Rifkin 

The Invitation

Domestic earnings in 2022: $25.1M

Released: August 26, 2022

Expectations were modest for this August horror release, traditionally a lower-grossing genre in a lower-grossing month. – Jesse Rifkin 

Father Stu

Domestic earnings in 2022: $21.0M

Released: April 13, 2022

Timed to Easter weekend, Mark Wahlberg stars in this inspirational biopic based on the true story of a boxer turned pastor. Stu came in about -20% below 2021’s similar American Underdog and also finished behind such Wahlberg-starring underperformers as 2018’s Mile 22 ($36.1M) and 2014’s The Gambler ($33.6M). A PG-13 cut of the originally R-rated movie was released under the title Father Stu: Reborn, netting under a quarter-million. – Jesse Rifkin

Devotion

Domestic earnings in 2022: $19.1M

Released: November 23, 2022

Devotion is poised to finish below several other set during the Korean War or World War II eras, including 2014’s Fury ($85.8M), 2014’s The Monuments Men ($78.0M), 2016’s Hacksaw Ridge ($67.2M), 2019’s Midway ($56.8M), 2017’s Darkest Hour ($56.4M), and 2012’s Red Tails ($49.8M). It may earn a total closer to 2016’s Allied ($40.0M),  2006’s Flags of Our Fathers ($33.6M), or 2009’s Defiance ($28.6M). – Jesse Rifkin 

Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody

Domestic earnings in 2022: $13.2M

Released: December 23, 2022
Starring relative newcomer Naomi Ackie, the Whitney Houston biopic looks poised to earn a comparable amount to musician biopic underperformers like 2017’s All Eyez on Me, about Tupac ($44.9M); 2009’s Notorious, about the Notorious B.I.G. ($36.8M); 2014’s Get on Up, about James Brown ($30.7M); and 2021’s Respect, about Aretha Franklin ($24.2M). – Jesse Rifkin

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