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2023 Losers

January 2, 2024
Hunter Friesen
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We’ve crowned our winners for the year, so now it’s time to perform the autopsies on some of this past year’s biggest victims. No one should want to see pain inflicted on others, but some of these parties got what was coming to them, and may have deserved worse. The best-case scenario is that they all use their failures as motivation for 2024, or take it as a sign to pack it up and change course.


In true monkey’s paw fashion, the Mouse House grabbed a ton of headlines during their 100th-anniversary celebration as almost all of their blockbusters went belly up. After producing 7 $1 billion hits in 2019, the studio wasn’t able to churn out a single one in 2023. Their losses may have reached as high as $1 billion between the lackluster results of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, The Marvels, and Wish. A string of delays and reworkings means Inside 2, Deadpool 3, and Mufasa: The Lion King will be their only offerings in 2024.

The Future of the MCU

2023 turned out to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for the MCU, with silver screen projects like Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and The Marvels falling well below expectations, both creatively and financially. Even the one shining light that was Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 can’t be touted too heavily as that was a franchise conclusion. Interest and optimism are at an all-time low, with no direction or clear finish line in sight. Whether it was out of necessity or fear (or a bit of both), the delaying of almost all their future projects leaves Deadpool 3 as the lone property in 2024. Here’s hoping Kevin Feige can use the time he bought himself.

WB's Reptuation (If They Had Any)

Each year it seems that WB is trying to one-up itself as the most hated studio to both creatives and fans. Between elongating the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, significantly reducing the HBO Max catalog, shelving the already completed Coyote vs. Acme, and cutting funding for TCM, this year turned out to be their best at producing hatred. The world isn’t prepared for the witchcraft CEO David Zaslav is cooking up in 2024. 


Corporations didn’t earn much credibility in 2023, and the AMPTP did everything in its power to destroy whatever minuscule amount they had. No one was ever going to be on its side during the WGA and SAG strikes, but its tone-deaf messaging and bully tactics made it impossible for anyone to see their side of the argument. They’ve shown their hand when it comes to AI, with the future not looking too bright for creatives. 

Belated Sequels

Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water proved that long-in-development sequels can make just as much, if not more, money than their predecessors. Studios took that lesson to heart in 2023, except they forgot the part where you have to make a good movie. Magic Mike's Last Dance, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Expend4bles, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3, and The Exorcist: Believer were just some of the warmed-over leftovers studios thought would pass for full course meals. Audiences rejected them, and will hopefully do the same in 2024.

Fan Screenings

Studios are already having a tough time getting audiences in seats, so it seemed like a brain-dead idea to confuse people as to when a movie would be available to them. Sony originally announced wide releases for Gran Turismo and Dumb Money before changing course to platform releases with later wide expansions. All audience interest vanished by the time of wide release, leaving these bombs hanging out to dry. None of those compared to the debacle that was The Flash, with over a dozen fan screenings taking place weeks before the general release. All of that work amounted to one of the biggest bombs in history.

Comedians Going to Film

Nothing’s worse than a comedy that isn’t funny, which is what these comedians delivered this year on the silver screen. Bill Burr and Charlie Day unsuccessfully tried their hand at directing with Old Dads and Fool’s Paradise, respectively. Sebastian Maniscalco (About My Father), Brett Kreischer (The Machine), and Please Don’t Destroy (The Treasure of Foggy Mountain) also missed the mark. There’s nothing funny about failure, although that might have been the best joke each of them wrote this year.

Streaming Action Movies

Let’s get one thing straight: Extraction 2 was pretty good. But it was made to look like Citizen Kane when compared to everything else that was available. Netflix may have scored decent viewership with The Mother and Heart of Stone, although I’d bet an unseemly amount of money that almost all those viewers couldn’t remember a single thing that happened. But at least those titles got eyeballs, as Apple’s Ghosted and Amazon’s Shotgun Wedding may as well have never existed.

Movie Posters

Were poster artists given the year off? From terrible photoshopping to uninspired designs (anyone up for the millionth floating head layout?), no one was flocking to see some of these movies based on their artwork. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 easily took the cake as none of the actors’ heads were connected to their bodies. But even big-name projects like Oppenheimer and Killers of the Flower Moon were left with boring layouts. 

Cannes Review Roundup

Another Cannes Film Festival is in the books, which means it’s time to decompress from all the commotion and gather my thoughts on everything I saw.

'Anora' Review

I’m pretty sure Greta Gerwig’s Cannes jury only needed the initial thirty seconds to declare this their Palme d’Or winner.

'Emilia Perez' Review

An extraordinary amount of dedication and sincerity is given to even the most outlandish of concepts.

'Bad Boys: Ride or Die' Review

We’ve been here and done this before, so there’s not much use in getting all worked up.

'The Substance' Review

If you’re not going to be first or the most insightful, then you might as well make damn sure you’re going to the most audaciously unforgettable.
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