10 Popular Box Office Movies of the Year

List of 2022 box office number-one films in the United States 1. Top Gun: Maverick · Paramount, $718,732,821 · 2. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever · Disney · 3. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, $411,331,607 ·

Movies came back in full swing in 2022. Summer blockbusters, horror hits, critically-acclaimed awards contenders, and comic-book adventures (plus a new James Cameron movie)! It was an excellent year for movies.

As another year closes, it’s time to look back at the films that saved cinema and broke records in 2022. From the return of dinosaurs and a maverick with a need for speed to stories about multiverses and a man with his canine best friend, these movies proved to be box-office hits domestically in a post-pandemic age of box-office bombs and disappointments. These box-office grosses and statistics are courtesy of The Numbers.

‘Top Gun: Maverick’

One film dominated cinema screens across the country and was a consistent draw for movie crowds across the country: Top Gun: Maverick. After being delayed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tom Cruise reprised his iconic role as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in the legacy sequel to 1986’s Top Gun.Released over Memorial Day weekend (which, in turn, played into the movie’s depictions and overall theme of military service), Top Gun: Maverick grossed $126.7 million in its opening weekend. Since then, the critical hit has become a box-office phenomenon producing strong week-to-week holds and ultimately earning $718 million domestically. Not bad for a movie that reportedly cost $170 million to make. Top Gun: Maverick also has the distinction of being the first Tom Cruise film to pass $1 billion globally.

‘Jurassic World Dominion’

After dropping a new Fast and Furious movie in June 2021, Universal returned with another one of their trademark movie franchises a year later in Jurassic World Dominion. The long-awaited third (and final?) installment in the Jurassic World trilogy and the sixth entry overall in the Jurassic Park franchise made its way onto cinema screens in the early summer, a year after its originally scheduled release.RELATED: Summer 2022 Box Office Roundup: Who Were The Big Winners? Despite negative reviews from critics, Jurassic World Dominion proved to be an immediate crowd-pleaser and managed to maintain a strong box-office run throughout the summer movie season. Earning a final domestic total of $376 million and a further $627 million internationally, the dinosaur-infested blockbuster joined its predecessors (and Top Gun: Maverick) in the $1 billion club. Ultimately, Jurassic World Dominion proved to be a financial success, which is impressive given its lackluster reception.

‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’

At the beginning of 2022, not many people would’ve predicted that a low-budget comedy about a woman trying to run a laundromat while struggling to pay her taxes would become a big box-office hit. Yet, that’s precisely what Everything Everywhere All at Once did—the film follows Evelyn Quan Wang (Michelle Yeoh) as she tries to save her business, family, and the multiverse.With a limited release in its opening weekend, the Daniels-directed science-fiction comedy slowly rolled into more theaters in the subsequent weeks. As a result, and with help from word of mouth, Everything Everywhere All at Once produced increasingly strong numbers week-to-week and had a long-lasting life theatrically. It earned a total of $70 million domestically and a further $31 million overseas, resulting in a global tally of $101 million. Consequently, this made Everything Everywhere All at Once the highest-grossing movie from A24.


One of the movies that proved to be a smash at the box office late in the year was Smile, a horror movie that followed a string of successful films (like The Lost City and Top Gun: Maverick) from Paramount in 2022. However, Smile was initially slated to go straight to Paramount+. But because the film received overwhelmingly positive reactions from test audiences, the studio decided to release it exclusively in theatres instead.Helped by a timely release (dropped nationwide a month before Halloween), Smile outperformed projections and made $22.6 million in its first weekend. With the additional support of the movie’s memorable marketing campaign that went viral online, the film produced great holds in the following weeks as it has now earned an exceptional final domestic gross of $105.9 million and a worldwide total of $216 million. With a budget of roughly $17 million, Smile was one of the biggest horror hits of 2022.


Horror movies proved very popular with movie crowds this year, enjoying healthy theatrical runs and strong performances at the box office. One film that flew under the radar was Barbarian, which received positive reviews and starred It alumn Bill Skarsgard.RELATED: The Best Horror Movies of 2022 (So Far) Despite releasing in very few markets internationally, Barbarian was still a financial success due to its longevity playing in theaters across the United States and Canada. Made on a $4.5 million budget, the horror hit would earn almost ten times its budget with a worldwide total of $44.7 million—largely driven by its domestic gross of $40.8 million.


A buddy-comedy film starring Channing Tatum and a canine may not have been on everyone’s radar earlier this year, but Dog still managed to deliver an incredible run at the box office.Released over the President’s Day weekend in February, Dog outperformed projections to earn $17.4 million over the four-day holiday weekend. Impressively, this meant it would make back its budget of $15 million on its first weekend. With the assistance of strong word-of-mouth, Dog made $61.7 million domestically and a further $13.7 million overseas for a total of $75.5 million. As a result, Dog became one of the earliest big box-office hits of 2022.

‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’

The movie that kick-started the summer movie season, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness generated a lot of hype and speculation from fans. Tackling the multiverse, its concept of limitless possibilities, and the return of Sam Raimi helming big-budget comic-book blockbusters after the departure of Scott Derrickson (who directed the first Doctor Strange movie) produced a lot of excitement among die-hard Marvel fans.As a matter of fact, that buzz produced the biggest domestic opening weekend of 2022 to date, with a gross of $187.4 million in North America. Despite lukewarm reviews, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was still a financial success for Marvel and proved to have a long theatrical run. Ultimately, the MCU blockbuster earned $411.3 million domestically and $540.8 million internationally, with a global tally of $952.2 million.

‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’

Following the critical and financial success of its predecessor, Sonic the Hedgehog, Paramount quickly greenlit and made Sonic the Hedgehog 2. In the sequel, audiences would see the return of director Jeff Fowler and a host of familiar faces (like Ben Schwartz, Jim Carrey, and James Marsden) while introducing new ones (most notably, Idris Elba, who voices Knuckles in the film).Upon release, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was met with widespread approval from fans and critics alike, resulting in strong word-of-mouth. After surpassing opening weekend projections, the sequel would finish with a domestic total of $190 million and a final worldwide tally of $402 million. On a $90 million budget, this meant Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was a financially successful sequel. A third Sonic movie was announced after the sequel’s box-office success.

‘The Batman’

Directed by Matt Reeves, The Batman saw Robert Pattinson donning the iconic cowl as the Caped Crusader. With an epic run-time of around three hours, the superhero movie still put together a very healthy opening gross and an overall strong performance theatrically.Released in March 2022 after a couple of COVID-enforced delays, The Batman opened to $134 million in its domestic debut. Armed with a production budget of $200 million, Reeves’ reboot of the Caped Crusader would end its theatrical run with $369.3 million domestically and $767.5 million worldwide. This made The Batman one of the first big-budget blockbuster hits of 2022.


With an incredibly low budget of $1 million, X was a break-out hit at the box office in 2022. Helmed by Ti West, the horror film premiered at the South by Southwest film festival days before its theatrical debut.X would receive widespread critical acclaim from horror fans and critics alike. As a result, the A24 slasher-horror would become one of the most profitable horror hits of 2022, grossing $11.7 million at the domestic box office and $15.1 million worldwide. Consequently, Ti West would go on to make the prequel film Pearl (which was released later in the year), with a sequel titled MaXXXine reportedly in the works.

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Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
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