Seems like 2022 has been a legendary year for the silver screen as several highest-grossing films have taken turns attracting massive audiences back to cinemas through the year.
As the pleasure of watching fantastic stories on the big screen returned with a bang after two years of suppression due to the pandemic, films did brisk business and infused a new lease of life in the cinematic experience.
Since the gradual re-opening of theatres in 2021, many of the widely acclaimed films have earned millions of dollars at the box office. Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) Spider-Man: No Way Home and the James Bond film No Time to Die were among the highest grossing movies of 2021.
As things became better and more people flocked to theatres in 2022, three films went past the USD 1 billion-mark. Taking the top spot is Tom Cruise-starrer Top Gun: Maverick. But following it closely behind is Avatar: The Way of Water.
Overall, nine films crossed USD 500 million in box office earnings. These include three MCU films and one Chinese film.
(All figures as per Box Office Mojo as of 29 December 2022.)
Here are the top movies as per box office collection
Top Gun: Maverick
Worldwide gross: USD 1,488,732,821
With a flying start post its release on 27 May, Top Gun: Maverick scripted the biggest success story in Tom Cruise’s career at the US box office. While theatre audiences were captivated by the fighter jets screaming across the screen, critics highly praised the film during premieres and screenings at festivals such as Cannes. It is the second highest-grossing film of the pandemic era after Spider-Man: No Way Home, which earned USD 1.89 billion during its run.
One of the biggest films dominating the 2022 worldwide box office, the film is a sequel to Top Gun (1986). Its story is set over 30 years after the previous film’s events. Captain Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell (Cruise), one of the US Navy’s best fighter pilots, has to train a group of young pilots ahead of a mission. Among them is the son of Maverick’s late friend, whose death continues to haunt him.
Avatar: The Way of Water
Worldwide gross: USD 1,030,118,839
The second instalment in James Cameron’s epic Avatar franchise, The Way of Water hit the USD 1 billion mark in worldwide gross on 28 December — 12 days after release.
The legacy sequel comes 13 years after the release of Avatar, the first film in the series and the highest-grossing film of all time with close to USD 3 billion in lifetime gross.
It follows the main characters from the first film, Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña), as they explore the oceans of the planet Pandora with their family. While they learn a new way of life and form alliances with other Na’vi people, a renewed threat from the invading humans disturb their peace.
Reports say that the sequel, which has been widely hailed by critics, is expected to gross anywhere between USD 1.6 billion to USD 1.9 billion by the time it ends its theatrical run.
Jurassic World Dominion
Worldwide gross: USD 1,001,136,080
Four years after the events in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018), dinosaurs and humans are forced to co-exist causing several encounters dangerous to both species. When the greed of humans creates a new threat, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) must risk their lives to save everyone they care about, including dinosaurs.
This highest-grossing film marks the conclusion of the dinosaur saga that began with Jurassic Park (1993), and is widely hailed for bringing together three of the prominent actors from the first film — Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, and Sam Neill.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Worldwide gross: USD 955,775,804
Directed by Sam Raimi, the 28th film in the MCU is a sequel to Doctor Strange (2016). It follows the events of WandaVision (2021) and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021).
Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) saves a teenager, America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), who can travel between multiverses. Sensing a bigger threat to all the universes, Strange and Chavez seek help from other sorcerers, including Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), against an unknown adversary.
Minions: The Rise of Gru
Worldwide gross: USD 939,433,210
Minions: The Rise of Gru is the highest grossing animated film of 2022, dwarfing even the highly anticipated, big-budget live-action production The Batman.
The film is the fifth instalment in the much loved Despicable Me franchise. It was originally scheduled for release on 3 July 2020 but was postponed multiple times due to the pandemic. The film eventually hit the screens in the US on 1 July 2022.
The hilarious animated comedy is about a 12-year-old Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and his band of adorable yellow creatures known as Minions (voiced by Pierre Coffin for multiple characters). Gru wants to become a supervillain but himself gets entangled in a conspiracy. It then falls on his minions to rescue their boss.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Worldwide gross: USD 805,249,637
Following King T’Challa’s death, a mourning Wakanda gets embroiled in a political storm which pits the kingdom against an ocean-dwelling force called Namor. The Wakandans give their all to fight a battle in which they are already on the backfoot in the absence of Black Panther.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever released in theatres on 11 November 2022. The last film of Phase 4 of the MCU, it was received with universal praise from critics. Praise was primarily directed at the film’s heartfelt tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman, and the manner in which the story was presented.
Worldwide gross: USD 770,836,163
The seventh-highest-grossing movie in 2022, globally, The Batman marks the reboot of the franchise, headlined by the DC comic superhero. Critics describe it as a contemporary film noir, heavily inspired by the New Hollywood style of film-making from the 1960s through the early 1980s.
When a deranged psychopath named Riddler (Paul Dano) goes on a killing spree in Gotham, leaving behind cryptic clues, Bruce Wayne/Batman (Robert Pattinson) takes the charge. Digging deeper, the Dark Knight finds out about his family’s involvement in the city’s dark underbelly.
Other major stars in the film include Zoë Kravitz, appearing as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, and Jeffrey Wright, who became the first African-American actor to play James Gordon.
Thor: Love and Thunder
Worldwide gross: USD 760,928,081
The 29th film in MCU, Thor: Love and Thunder was one of the most anticipated movies of 2022. It serves as a direct sequel to Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and is set after the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019).
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is seeking peace while with the Guardians of the Galaxy. When alerted to a god-killing entity named Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), he sets out to prevent the complete annihilation of all gods in his universe. He then encounters his ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who he finds has become the Mighty Thor and wields the Mjölnir.
Directed by Taika Waititi, the film received mixed reviews from critics and failed to meet the expectations from fans.
Water Gate Bridge
Worldwide gross: USD 626,571,697
Water Gate Bridge is a Chinese historical war film and a sequel to the major hit, The Battle at Lake Changjin (2021). Among the highest-earning movies of 2022, it continues the heroic story of Chinese People’s Volunteers (CPV) soldiers fighting against American forces during the Korean War (1950-1953).
According to one of the film’s producers, Yu Dong, Water Gate Bridge is based on true events. It shows how the Chinese forces prevented the Americans from retreating through the Sumun Bridge, also known as the ‘Water Gate Bridge.’
The film’s worldwide gross came from China and Hong Kong mostly, with Australia, the US and the UK contributing less than USD 200,000.
Worldwide gross: USD 460,237,662
The Chinese sci-fi comedy is one of the best performing movies in mainland China in 2022.
Adapted from the South Korean webtoon Moon You, the story follows a maintenance worker named Du Gu Yue (Shen Teng) who is left alone on the moon when an asteroid seemingly destroys all life on earth. Yue is unaware that there are some who have survived, including his commander, Ma Lan Xing (Ma Li), on whom he has an unrequited crush. As he tries to live alone, the survivors watch him via a live-stream without his knowledge.
Almost the entire gross collection of the film comes from the Chinese market, with just a few hundred thousand dollars more from Asia Pacific countries of Australia and New Zealand.
(Hero image credit: John Wilson/Universal Pictures a – © 2022 Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment. All Rights Reserved./IMDb; Featured image: IMDb)