Universal Eclipses Disney As Highest-Grossing Studio Of 2023 Thanks To ‘Super Mario,’ ‘Oppenheimer,’ And Others

GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images

Disney isn’t the top-performing movie studio of 2023.

Universal overtook Disney to steal the top spot from the House of Mouse – largely thanks to big hits last year including “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” “Oppenheimer,” and “M3GAN,” per a Variety report. These and other projects brought in a collective $4.907 billion in worldwide ticket sales, pushing Disney to the second-place spot.

This is the first time Disney hasn’t been the highest-grossing studio since 2015.

Disney released 17 new films in 2023 earning the studio $4.827 billion globally. Those titles included “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” and “The Little Mermaid” plus others. 

Per Variety, the studio sent a memo blaming their fall from the top on releasing seven fewer movies than Universal did last year, which they used as an excuse for the $80 million revenue gap.

The publication noted that this past year was also the first time Disney didn’t have one of the top three movies and the first time since 2013, excluding pandemic years in 2020 and 2021, that the studio didn’t have any films cross the $1 billion threshold. 

That’s significant considering that other studios put out $1 billion hits last year. There was Warner Bros.’ “Barbie” ($1.4 billion) and Universal’s “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” ($1.3 billion). Universal also put out  “Oppenheimer” during the summer blockbuster season, earning the studio $950 million and helping cement their place in the top spot.

Disney’s best-performing movie of the year was “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” which brought in $845 million. Several of the studio’s efforts were box office disappointments, including “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” “The Marvels,” and “Haunted Mansion.”

Other studios in the top five for 2023 include Warner Bros., with $3.84 billion globally thanks to projects like “Barbie,” “The Nun II,” and “Wonka.”

Sony took the fourth place position with “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” “Equalizer 3” and “Napoleon,” bringing in $2.094 billion worldwide.

Paramount made the top five with $2.06 billion and releases including “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One,” “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” and “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie.” 

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