Reports of the movie industry’s death have been greatly exaggerated. When Covid-19 shuttered theaters in 2020 and 2021, some analysts suspected it would lead to the demise of the movie-going experience. Covid Schmovid!
As more and more Americans learn to live with the pandemic, box office numbers continue to rise. In fact, many movies released in the 2022 calendar year became domestic box office hits, crossing the coveted $100 million threshold. With the last blockbuster of the year finally released (the highly anticipated “Avatar: The Way of Water”), 2022 ended up making billions of dollars for Hollywood. But numbers are still coming in strong — in fact, “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” entered the $100 million club last week. Scroll through our photos above (or click here for direct access) to see the updated list of the biggest 2022 money-makers so far.
2022 box office hits: Every movie that made more than $100 million this year
1. “Top Gun: Maverick” (Paramount Pictures)
Released 36 years after the original “Top Gun” (1986), the Tom Cruise-fronted sequel proved to be the perfect mix of nostalgia and action for audiences both old and young. In no uncertain terms, this is a bonafide box office mega-hit. Joseph Kosinski directed the high-flying aviator flick, which now finds Maverick returning to the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program as a trainer.
2. “Avatar: The Way of Water” (20th Century Studios)
Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldaña return in the highly anticipated sequel to James Cameron’s “Avatar” (2009). This time around, their Na’vi characters are forced to go on the run from a new wave of humans, and they seek refuge with a clan of water-based creatures, the Metkayina, led by Kate Winslet and Cliff Curtis.
3. ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Following the death of the original “Black Panther” actor Chadwick Boseman in 2020, filmmaker Ryan Coogler did the unthinkable and made a sequel that both paid tribute to him and advanced the story. “Wakanda Forever” focuses on T’Challa’s sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) and mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) as they fight back against a new water-based threat from the civilization of Talokan.
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4. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
It wouldn’t be a box office list without at least one Marvel movie near the top, and “Doctor Strange 2” is that movie for the 2022 calendar year. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular wizard and Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch, this latest MCU entry is the first to truly embrace the horror genre, with many fans watching it through cracks in their fingers.
5. “Jurassic World: Dominion” (Universal Pictures)
Welcome to Jurassic Park … for the sixth and final time. Director Colin Trevorrow signals the end of the franchise by merging the original cast (Laura Dern, Sam Neill and Jeff Goldberg) with the newbies (Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard) as they try to protect the mainland from the dinosaur threat. While critics’ reviews were mixed, audiences, expectedly, ate it up with the ferocity of a T-Rex feasting on a goat.
6. ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ (Universal Pictures)
This fifth film in the “Despicable Me” franchise far exceeded expectations when it opened over 4th of July weekend. The movie tells the origin story about uber villain Gru (voiced by Steve Carell).
7. “The Batman” (Warner Bros.)
Writer/director Matt Reeves brings a gritty noir style to his version of “The Batman,” with critics and audiences eating it up in theaters (before it shifted over to HBO Max). In this reboot, Robert Pattinson‘s Bruce Wayne uncovers corruption in Gotham City while coming into contact with popular antagonists like Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz), the Riddler (Paul Dano) and the Penguin (Colin Farrell).
8. “Thor: Love and Thunder” (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
The 29th Marvel Cinematic Universe flick welcomes back Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, and this time he’s joined by a hammer-wielding Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). Taika Waititi directs the campy movie that also stars Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and Russell Crowe as Zeus.
9. “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” (Paramount Pictures)
The adventure comedy continues the story of the titular Sega video game character (voiced by Ben Schwartz) as he tries to outmaneuver Jim Carrey‘s mad scientist, Doctor Robotnik. The original 2020 film only made $148 million in the states, so the wild success of the sequel surely means studio execs will be jumping through hoops in order to produce a third movie in the blue hedgehog franchise.
10. ‘Black Adam’ (Warner Bros.)
Dwayne Johnson had been trying to make the popular DC Comic into a film for about 15 years, and it finally debuted in theaters on October 21 with one of the biggest openings of 2022. Black Adam is a former slave with the powers of many different Egyptian gods. Fellow cast members include Aldis Hodge as Carter Hall/Hawkman, Noah Centineo as Albert “Al” Rothstein/Atom Smasher and Pierce Brosnan as Kent Nelson/Doctor Fate.
11. “Elvis” (Warner Bros.)
Baz Luhrmann‘s musical biopic stars Austin Butler as Elvis Presley and Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to glowing reviews, particularly for Butler’s Oscar-worthy turn as the King of Rock and Roll and all those eye-popping musical numbers.
12. “Uncharted” (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Director Ruben Fleischer adapted this movie from the successful video game franchise of the 2000s. Tom Holland, proving he has more up his sleeve than just Spider-Man, stars alongside Mark Wahlberg as a pair of fortune hunters. Their goal is to discover the fabled treasure of the Magellan expedition before an amoral billionaire (Antonio Banderas) and a mercenary leader (Tati Gabrielle).
13. “Nope” (Universal Pictures)
Jordan Peele’s third horror movie after “Get Out” and “Us” stars Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer as siblings living on a ranch who come into contact with a UFO.
14. “Lightyear” (Pixar)
Chris Pine takes over the voice of Buzz Lightyear from Tim Allen, as this movie focuses on the real-life human that inspired the popular “Toy Story” toy. Even though it eventually topped $100 million at the domestic box office, expectations for this spin-off were much higher.
15. ‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’ (Universal Pictures)
This well-received sequel is a part of the “Shrek” franchise and a direct follow-up to “Puss in Boots” (2011). Director Joel Crawford takes over for original helmer Chris Miller, while voice actors Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek Pinault return as fan-fave animals Puss in Boots and Kitty Softpaws, respectively.
16. ‘Smile’ (Paramount Pictures)
This psychological horror movie is written and directed by filmmaking newcomer Parker Finn. Sosie Bacon leads the cast as Dr. Rose Cotter, a therapist who experiences personal terrors after one of her patients commits suicide.
17. “The Lost City” (Paramount Pictures)
Want to ensure your movie crosses the $100 million mark? Just hire Sandra Bullock. The “Blindside” Oscar winner stars as Loretta Sage, a romance author who gets inexplicably involved in a treasure hunt after she’s kidnapped by a billionaire thief (Daniel Radcliffe). Loretta’s dimwitted cover model, played by Channing Tatum, takes it upon himself to rescue her … with a little help from Brad Pitt.
18. “Bullet Train” (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Brad Pitt stars as Ladybug, an unlikely American assassin, in this action comedy from director David Leitch. Sandra Bullock co-stars as Pitt’s handler, which makes “Bullet Train” the second movie of 2022 featuring both A-listers to cross the $100 million threshold after “The Lost City.”