What Will Be The Top Grossing Film of 2023?

What Will Be The Top Grossing Film of 2023?
By Jeff Parker
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

If you haven’t heard, the box office is a mess. After reaching an all-time high in 2018 at over $11 billion in domestic ticket sales, the past three years have seen numbers averaging less than $5 billion. We all know why — blame COVID-19 and streaming.

But fortunately in 2022, the box office showed signs of recovery. Led by "Top Gun: Maverick" and "Avatar: The Way of Water," ticket sales were up nearly 65% from 2021.

So will the trend continue? And what films will bring in the most money this year? 

New York sportsbooks will not be taking wagers on that question, but we’ve created hypothetical odds to analyze the likelihood of some of this year’s biggest releases earning the top spot at the 2023 box office.

The race to the top will include the likes of Marvel, Tom Cruise, Vin Diesel and many more usual suspects, but we have our eyes on a couple long shots, too.

FilmOddsImplied Probability
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3+10050%
The Super Mario Bros. Movie+20033.3%
Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning - Part 1+40020%
The Little Mermaid+70012.5%
Fast X+12006.25%


The Favorites

In 2023, the name of the game is intellectual property. Look no further than "Top Gun" and "Avatar," two franchises that were more than familiar touchstones for audiences. Expect this year to be the same. 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 — 1/1 (50% implied)

Release date: May 5

The opening weekend in May has been reserved for Marvel’s tentpole film each year since the release of the first "Avengers" film in 2012, and this year the big MCU film is the final "Guardians of the Galaxy." It will also be director James Gunn’s last hooray before he jumps ship from Marvel to re-imagine the DC Extended Universe.

"Guardians Vol. 2" grossed $863.8 million USD, making it 2017’s fourth highest film. If the more anticipated Vol. 3 can reach that number in this weak theatrical market, it has a great chance to be the year’s highest grossing domestic release.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie — 2/1 (33.33% implied)

Release date: April 7

Chris Pratt’s laughable Mario impression aside, the new Mario Bros. movie looks beautiful. To bring the beloved video game to the big screen for the first time since 1993, Nintendo teamed up with Illumination, the animation studio behind the "Despicable Me" films and last year’s "Minions: Rise of Dru."

Films that bring the whole family to the theater always show well, but Mario has the potential to be that rare gem that’s equally appealing to kids and adults, which is a proven recipe for major box office success.

Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning - Part 1 — 4/1 (20% implied)

Release date: July 14

This one’s easy. Last year "Top Gun: Maverick" took off to the tune of $787.2 million domestically and nearly $1.5 billion worldwide. Never count out Tom Cruise’s ability to bring people to the cinema. 

After all, he is the sixth-highest grossing actor of all time.

The Contenders

The Little Mermaid — 7/1 (12.5% implied)

Release date: May 26

The latest Disney live-action remake caused a major stir by casting African-American actress Halle Bailey in the role of Ariel. The backlash against a “mermaid-of-color” was met with a groundswell of support for the decision. 

If all that buzz can translate into ticket sales, "The Little Mermaid" could be a splash in 2023.

Wonka — 8/1 (11.11% implied odds)

Release date: Dec. 15

Timothée Chalamet dawning the purple cloak for a Willy Wonka origin story sounds like a near perfect Christmas release to me. With the creative team behind the beloved "Paddington 2" film tackling Roald Dahl’s favorite candy maker, "Wonka" could play spoiler late in the season.

The Long Shots

Fast X — 12/1 (6.25% implied odds)

Release date: May 19

For over two decades now, "The Fast and the Furious" franchise has been a mainstay in theatres. But its box office performance peaked in 2017 with "Furious 7," which grossed just over $350 million. Since then it would appear that the novelty has worn off. 

The latest offering, "F9: The Fast Saga," failed to bring in even half that figure in 2021.

Barbie — 25/1 (3.85% implied odds)

Release date: July 21

From what we’ve seen so far, Greta Gerwig’s "Barbie" looks like a gonzo, pink-daydream take on the world’s most famous doll. The name recognition is there, so it’s up to Gerwig to turn out something truly original and ground breaking.

"Barbie" is a big wild card in this race, and has Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling and Will Ferrell driving buzz.

Keep it here at EmpireStakes for fun hypothetical odds such as this, as well as everything related to NY betting apps.



Jeff Parker is an Entertainment Writer for EmpireStakes.com. A writer for film, television and the internet, Jeff is a life long movie buff, with an actual Masters Degree in Popular Culture. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he works full time as documentary filmmaker and producer.

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