2022 Losers: Those That Had a Very Bad Year
Now that the winners of 2022 have been crowned, it’s time to shift our focus to the bottom of the ladder. These are the ones that will probably look back at their output with disdain, and, hopefully, will use it as motivation to do better in the future.
Like the winner's list, some tough decisions had to be made for the finalists here, so your preference might not be found here. Remember, this is all good fun, so don’t take it personally.
DC fans have always thought it was the DCEU vs. MCU, but this year proved that it was never really a competition, because at least Marvel has consistency when it comes to delivering on what's promised and pleasing the fans. Black Adam was a box office disappointment, made all the more embarrassing by Dwayne Johnson’s insistence otherwise. Henry Cavill announced his return as Superman, filmed a post-credit scene for Black Adam, and then was let go only a month later. Adding insult to injury was Matt Reeves’ The Batman, which, like Joker, showed that DC characters can be used to make great movies if the right people are put in the driver’s seat. Maybe James Gunn and Peter Safran can right the ship?
Warner Bros. Discovery
Let’s take it one step further than just DC and examine the bigger fish. Along with having to plan out a painstaking rebuild process for their superhero franchises, Warner Bros. also has the Fantastic Beasts franchise in crisis mode and had to endure the entire Don’t Worry Darling tabloid mess. They also pissed off a swarm of creators and fans by shelving completed projects and removing content from HBO Max as part of their costly merger with Discovery.
Of course, Styles’ music career may have continued to flourish in 2022, but we’re focusing solely on his work in movies. Both Don’t Worry Darling and My Policeman didn’t live up to the weight of expectations, with Styles’ acting being mostly described as wooden and amateurish. I wonder if Kevin Feige is starting to worry about how he’s going to be utilized in the MCU going forward?
On paper, Christian Bale’s actions of reuniting with David O. Russell and joining the MCU don’t seem all that bad. But in reality, both moves came nowhere close to reaching their potential. Amsterdam was a critical and financial disaster, and Thor: Love and Thunder didn’t give him the villain spotlight that he deserved. Bale would reteam with director Scott Cooper for the third time in The Pale Blue Eye, but Netflix’s muted release of the film kept its impact to a minimum.
Oscar Movies at the Box Office
Unless you were a superhero or horror movie, chances are you didn’t make much of a dent at the box office. Unfortunately, the films geared more toward the awards race don’t fall into those two categories. She Said posted one of the worst opening weekends ever for a movie in wide release, and James Gray’s Armageddon Time could only muster $1 million domestically despite strong reviews and a starry cast. Steven Spielberg, the most financially successful director of all time, could only attract $8 million for one of the best-reviewed films of the year, The Fabelmans. You could claim The Banshees of Inisherin as a success with $20 million worldwide, but Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri made over $150 million just five years ago, so there’s only so much positivity that can be spun.
Another year, another serving of forgettable action movies by Liam Neeson. Maybe the success of the Taken franchise was a mistake, as it has pigeon-holed Neeson into these generic “tough guy” roles. Blacklight and Memory proved to be nothing more than Redbox quality, and they also didn’t make much money at the box office either. Neeson didn’t have much success on the prestige side of the spectrum either, as his reunion with writer/director Neil Jordan in Marlowe was greeted with tepid reviews after its extremely muted premiere at the San Sebastián International Film Festival.
Hart may have attracted large viewership with his two Netflix movies The Man from Toronto and Me Time, but that doesn’t mean anybody who watched them actually enjoyed themselves. Both films were met with overwhelmingly negative critical reactions and didn’t help Hart expand his range as an actor or comedian. With Adam Sandler gaining positive notices for Hustle and returning to the Safdies for a future Netflix film, it seems that Hart has been kicked down to the bottom level of the Netflix content creation factory.
Speaking of Netflix and career low points, writer/director Judd Apatow released his worst movie to date in The Bubble. As a needlessly long two-hour movie that felt like four hours, this Netflix “comedy” took a group of talented actors and forced them to work way below their pedigree. Apatow also didn’t do well in his producing role for Billy Eichner’s Bros, with that movie (undeservedly) failing to register at the box office.
Disney Animated Movies
It was a pretty crummy year all-around for the Mouse House, but there was nowhere it hurt more than in their animation department. After the two most recent Toy Story movies grossed over $1 billion each, Lightyear cratered to just over $200 million. Strange World will be an even costlier mistake, with losses expected to rise above $150 million. And their most critically acclaimed film of the year, Turning Red, was shuttered off to Disney+, angering many of the creatives over at Pixar.