The Reason Many Movies Struggled in 2023

By Philip Berkwit

   Today’s entertainment industry has been able to bring forth some of the most popular films and pieces of art in modern times, while also making billions from films. However, 2023 did display a huge change in entertainment and what people want from movies. This year had an abundance of flops and underperformance in the box office from huge companies like Disney and Warner Bros. In contrast, there were also some surprise mega hits that ruled the box office like Christopher Nolans R rated biopic, “Oppenheimer” which made over 900 million dollars in theaters, and was critically acclaimed. Despite some huge hits, 2023 still revealed huge struggles for the entertainment business, and a huge change in what their audience wants. 

   It’s impossible to talk about the struggles of Hollywood and film without bringing up inflation. According to thewrap.com, “inflation is an obvious culprit, as the dollar has lost 15 percent of its value since 2020.” Because of inflation, the budgets of movies have become extensively higher, and because of that, studios need to make an even bigger number in the box office to be successful. Inflation also affects the audience, as tickets and food at theaters have also surged in prices. The entertainment business is also having a similar issue when it comes to streaming. Since the prices of subscriptions have been increasing due to inflation, it makes sense for many customers to just cancel their subscriptions. As reported by Indiewire.com when it came to Netflix, “According to a new study by CivicScience, if the streamer raises prices on its ad-free tier, 39 percent of all Netflix users say they will most likely cancel their subscription outright. Another 31 percent say they will most likely choose to subscribe to Netflix with ads. The rest, about 29 percent, plan to subscribe to ad-free Netflix.” 

   Inflation has hurt the box office and streaming, but it would be foolish to say that it’s the only reason for the struggles the industry is having. The movie “Barbie” made over 1 billion dollars, “Oppenheimer” which is an R-rated movie made over 900 million dollars, the film Wonka which is still in theaters has crossed 500 million dollars. All these movies, along with many others have been huge hits despite inflation. Other movies from major studios have underperformed or just bombed completely; Disney is known for their original characters and owning Star Wars and Marvel Studios which have helped the studio greatly in the past. But this year, Disney struggled massively in the box office with “The Marvels” being a huge flop for Disney and Marvel Studios. The film made 206 million dollars worldwide on a budget of 274.8 million dollars. Disney also released their animated film, “Wish” which was marketed to seem like a classic Disney movie for their 100th year anniversary. The movie has made under 234 million dollars with a budget of 175- 200 million dollars. These budgets also do not usually factor in marketing costs.  

   These films did not interest enough people, and the reason for that is quite clear. These films are just not appealing to audiences anymore. For instance, most superhero movies and shows have continued to lose relevance despite their extreme budgets, and they are not receiving great reviews. “The Marvels” has a 2.8 out of 5 on the reviewing app, Letterboxd. The new Aquaman sequel, “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” has a 2.3 out of 5. “Wish” is not doing much better with a 2.6. This cycle continues for a multitude of movies that came out in 2023.  

“So many plots are so repetitive. It’s terrible, I don’t like watching the same movie over and over again,” stated Ryan Baidas, a Ponte Vedra High School (PVHS) sophomore. 

   The quality of the stories in many movies has not been appealing at the same rate as they used to, but this is not without reason. In the summer of 2023, both writers and actors went on strike. This strike caused an abundance of issues on its own. According to Michigan Journal of Economics, “The strike has cost the entertainment industry 5 billion dollars nationwide.” This strike did end in September of 2023, but it brought forth big issues within the writing process like the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and mini rooms. According to slashfilm.com, “The size of a traditional writers’ room varies greatly on factors like scope, budget, and experience level of those on staff, but the average writers’ room is usually composed of seven to ten staff writers to write and produce ten episodes of TV for 12-22 weeks This time frame includes rewriting material as needed as the show starts to film episodes. Comparatively, mini-rooms are often eight to ten weeks long but occur before a show is even greenlit and features a smaller team of writers.” 

“So many plots are so repetitive. It’s terrible, I don’t like watching the same movie over and over again.”

Ryan baidas (10)

   Although these strikes did end, they revealed many controversies and issues when it comes to writing films and tv shows.  The reason people are showing up to “Barbie,” “Oppenheimer,” “Wonka,” and other movies, but not superhero movies or other Disney movies anymore is because the general audience is not in love with the stories being told. Marvel movies and other movies have been losing relevance because audiences are not as interested or excited in these films anymore. The writing choices and general interest in these films has not been of high reception to many audiences. 

   “When I was watching the advertisements before Wonka, I was not interested in any of the other movies. Like I saw Aquaman, and I did not want to see it,” stated Thomas Phelps, a PVHS sophomore. 


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