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2023 Winners

January 4, 2024
Hunter Friesen
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The end of the year is upon us and it’s time to see who’s left standing now that the dust has settled. Even compared to most years, 2023 didn’t leave many people with their legs still under them (two historic strikes and a neverending drought at the box office tend to do that). But there were a select few that were not only able to survive but thrive in these tough conditions. Take a look below at who came out on top this year.

Ayo Edebiri

Everywhere you looked in 2023, Ayo Edebiri was there. The burgeoning comedy star appeared in no less than five feature films (Theater Camp, Bottoms, The Sweet East, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, TMNT: Mutant Mayhem), two hit television series (The Bear, Abbott Elementary), and received the “Breakout Star” STARmeter Award from IMDb. She shows no signs of slowing down, joining the MCU with the upcoming Thunderbolts and being cast in the new James L. Brooks film.

Horror Movies (Again)

Another year, another reminder that horror movies reign supreme when it comes to raking in the dough. No wonder Jason Blum owns multiple multi-million dollar properties. His Five Nights at Freddy’s has accumulated almost $300 million worldwide on a $20 million budget. Not far behind was Scream VI, M3GAN, The Nun II, and Insidious: The Red Door, which quietly became the highest-grossing entry in the series.

Corporate PR

Just like Mr. Burns every corporate conglomerate could use a slick Hollywood picture to gloss over their evil rise to power. 2023 saw no shortage of them, almost all of them faring better than A Burns For All Seasons. Ben Affleck created an underdog narrative surrounding the richest sports brand and athlete in Air, Tetris showed the power of American optimism (and capitalism), and Flamin’ Hot didn’t let the truth get in the way of a feel-good story. They’re all propaganda, but at least they were entertaining pieces of propaganda. 

Movie Theaters (But only during Barbenheimer)

It was a year of one bomb after another, with any movie with a price tag of over $200 million playing to crowds rivaling the size of a high school theater production. But then a shining light came midway through the year, one that had been foretold through memes and fanboyism (and fangirlism). Luckily, Christopher Nolan and Greta Gerwig delivered the goods with Oppenheimer and Barbie, respectively, and everyone and their mother got out of the hot summer sun and enjoyed themselves for a few hours.


With so many movies flopping like a fish, theaters were happy to welcome back stuff that had already proven successful. The 25th anniversary of Titanic grossed $70 million worldwide this past Valentine’s Day, Return of the Jedi brought in a respectable $7 million, and Oldboy outgrossed its original domestic release with $2 million during its limited remaster. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Concert Films

Ruling over the billboard charts and closing down cities with their concerts wasn’t enough for these pop stars. They wanted it all, and who could blame them when considering just how much people were dying to see their acts in the theater? Taylor Swift proved to be a bigger draw than Indiana Jones, Ethan Hunt, and Optimus Prime at the box office, and Beyoncé’s Renaissance topped its respective opening weekend. It wasn’t just the teenagers who got their fill as Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense grossed an impressive $5 million during its limited run.

Sandra Hüller

The German actress broke onto the scene at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival with Toni Erdmann. It was poetic when she was the talk of this year’s fest with her performances in the Palme d’Or and Grand Prize winner Anatomy of a Fall and The Zone of Interest, respectively. She portrayed intense characters in both films, just on opposite sides of the specific of good and evil. An Oscar nomination is highly likely, as well as a slew of offers for juicy parts in every major director’s next film.

Jacob Elordi

The Kissing Booth and Euphoria may have made him a sex symbol (not that he needed much help with that), but 2023 was the year that the Australian became an actor. He was able to use his appeal in Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn and Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla, both netting him positive reviews. He’s already lined up a starring role in Paul Schrader’s upcoming Oh Canada

Video Game Adaptations

Going from the controller to the projector used to be a death sentence for any video game property. Now it’s like printing your money, with Nintendo scoring $1.3 billion with The Super Mario Bros. Movie. And look, there’s Five Nights at Freddy’s again swimming in $300 million worth of cash. And then there was HBO’s The Last of Us, which scored record viewership and a bevy of Emmy nominations. Don’t be surprised to see Mario vs. Sonic as the top-grossing film of 2028.

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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