The Ten Highest-Grossing Movies at the Global Box Office in 2023

2023 left us with a transitional year at the global box office. The continued success of established franchises like Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, Universal’s Fast series, and Paramount’s Mission: Impossible films was balanced by the dominance of new IPs like Warner Bros.’ Barbie and Universal’s Super Mario Bros. The highlight of the year came in Universal’s release of Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, which grossed an astounding $950 million worldwide.

1. Barbie

Warner Bros. | July 21

Domestic Total (2023): $636.2M

International Total (2023): $805.6M

Global Total (2023): $1.4 Billion

The whole world was in love with Barbie in 2023, with the Warner Bros. release notching the top spot on year-end lists in the U.K., Argentina, Spain, Italy, Poland, Australia, and Brazil. Barbie’s box office run made it Warner Bros.’ highest-grossing movie of all time globally and third highest-grossing both in all international markets combined and specifically in European markets; it was also the highest-grossing Warner Bros. title in a whopping 44 international markets, including the U.K., Italy, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Poland. Barbie ranks 14 on the Top Lifetime Grosses Worldwide. 

2. The Super Mario Bros. Movie

Domestic Total (2023): $574.9M

International Total (2023): $787M

Global Total (2023): $1.36 billion

The Super Mario Bros. is the second-highest-grossing film of 2023 on both the domestic and international charts, with the animated video game adaptation outperforming Barbie in several key international markets, including Mexico, France (where it ranked second, behind the December 2022 release Avatar: The Way of Water), and Japan—where it became the biggest Universal animation release of all time. Other records include the biggest global opening for an animated film of all time (Mario’s $375.6M passing Frozen 2’s $358M), the biggest opening for animation studio Illumination of all time (no small feat, given the worldwide popularity of the Minions franchise), and the biggest opening of all time for a video game adaptation. In its first weekend alone–the weekend ending April 9, when it was released in North America and 70 international markets—the film’s international haul passed the total international grosses of several recent animated titles, including Encanto, Lightyear, and DC League of Super-Pets.

3. Oppenheimer

Domestic Total (2023): $326M

International Total (2023): $625.2M

Global Total (2023): $952M

Barbie and The Super Mario Bros. Movie are the top two earners of the year, both domestically and globally; it’s only at spot number three that the two lists start to diverge, with Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer coming in at number three on the global list and number five domestically. Globally, Nolan’s latest came in at just under a billion dollars–no small feat for a three-hour-long, dialogue-heavy biopic based on a historical figure. (Granted, Oppenheimer did have explosions.) Oppenheimer took in 65.7% of its global cume from international markets, with the U.K. ($74.2M), China ($61.6M), Germany ($51.4M), France ($42.5M), and Italy ($29.8M) as the film’s top five non-domestic markets. 

Globally, as well as domestically, premium formats helped drive Oppenheimer’s success; Imax reports that the film was its highest global earner of the year, its $185M cume in the format going a long way to pushing Imax over the edge to achieve only the third $1B year in the company’s history. Oppenheimer‘s $35M first-weekend earnings on 740 IMAX screens worldwide represents IMAX’s biggest share ever of a film’s global opening weekend box office, with 20% of total receipts. In looking at Top Lifetime Grosses by the MPA Rating ‘R’, Oppenheimer holds the second spot globally, just behind 2019’s Joker.  

4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Domestic Total (2023): $358.9M

International Total (2023): $486.5M

Global Total (2023): $845.5M

The final volume of James Gunn’s trilogy was the Marvel box office highlight of 2023, generating nearly $225M more internationally than Marvel Studios’ Q1 release, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which finished at $261.5M internationally and $476M global (and number ten on this list.) The third outing of the rag-tag Guardians team brought in more internationally than its predecessor, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($473.9M), and was just over 18M shy of the second volume’s total globally.    

5. Fast X

Domestic Total (2023): $145.9M

International Total (2023): $558.7M

Global Total (2023): $704.7M

The tenth film in the Fast & Furious saga launched at the beginning of the final chapters of the franchise. The tenth entry continued the franchise’s trend of international success, achieving 79.3% of its total gross overseas. Although the film overall didn’t find as much box office success as its predecessor F9 ($726.2M worldwide), it did manage to surpass the last film’s international take by over 3%. 

6. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Domestic Total (2023): $381.3M

International Total (2023): $309.2M

Global Total (2023): $690.5M

Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson and based on the Marvel comic books, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse opened to $88.1M internationally, earning 55% of its predecessor’s global total. At the time of release, IMAX reported a $20M debut and the second-biggest global animated opening of all time (behind April’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie IMAX opening of $21.6M). 

In China, 16.5% of the film’s opening weekend box office came from IMAX screens which represented only 1% of the country’s overall screen count. IMAX’s CEO Rich Gelfond said in a press release, “Animation has emerged as a powerful engine of growth for our global box office and we are focused on capitalizing on this opportunity as filmmakers continue to raise the bar for the genre.” 

7. The Little Mermaid

Domestic Total (2023): $298.1M

International Total (2023): $271.4M

Global Total (2023): $569.6M

Globally, Disney’s latest live-action remake of an animated classic opened to $68M internationally in late May, claiming the number one spot over its debut week in France, Italy, Spain, the U.K., Australia, and Mexico; two weeks later, it would open at #1 in Japan, where it would eventually become the highest-grossing Disney release of the year. Internationally, as in the North American market, the film on balance enjoyed modest week-on-week holds, notching second-week drops of under -25% in key markets U.K., Germany, and Brazil.

8. Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

Domestic Total (2023): $172.1M

International Total (2023): $395.4M

Global Total (2023): $567.5M

The seventh entry in Paramount’s long-running action franchise, Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One, led the box office on opening weekend with a global opening of $235M. Expectations for the title were high given the performance of Tom Cruise’s previous film Top Gun: Maverick (which wisely featured the trailer for the Mission: Impossible sequel) and the global high mark for the franchise’s previous installment, 2018’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout ($791.6M). 

Although the title arrived slightly below forecasting, Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One still managed to achieve the biggest opening for the franchise with an international debut of $155M and a five-day domestic total of $80M. IMAX also reported its best global opening ever for the Cruise franchise, with $25M worldwide. The Mission: Impossible franchise has generated a total of over $4.1 billion globally, with the next chapter expected to arrive in 2025. 

9. Elemental

Domestic Total (2023): $154.4M

International Total (2023): $341.5M

Global Total (2023): $495.9M

Despite an initially low opening, Elemental went on to strong holds at the box office this summer. The 27th animated feature film from Pixar was directed by Peter Sohn, who previously helmed Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur ($332.2M global). Internationally, Elemental opened with just $15M overseas and $44.5M globally, which was -48% below the opening of Lightyear ($85.6M)–the first post-Covid theatrical Disney/Pixar release and one that struggled to find a theatrical audience. Strong word of mouth and strong holdovers for Elemental’s original IP and Pixar’s first rom-com would eventually lead to a global total more than two times that of Lightyear’s take and the biggest global figure for a Pixar film since 2019’s Toy Story 4.

10. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Domestic Total (2023): $214.5M

International Total (2023): $261.5M

Global Total (2023): $476M

Rounding out the global top ten of 2023 at the box office, Disney’s third stand-alone entry featuring Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man superhero finishes its run with $476 million in worldwide ticket sales. Despite being the lowest-grossing entry in the Ant-Man series, Quantumania stands out as one of the few bright spots of a dismal year for superhero films at the box office. China led the way in overseas markets with a $39 million run, more than 75% below the performance of 2018’s Ant-Man and the Wasp in the same market. The film fared better in markets like the United Kingdom and Mexico, where it saw gradual improvement over the results of its predecessor.

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