10 Biggest Movies of 2023 Ranked by Box Office Earnings Potential

Captain Marvel, Dune Timothee Chalamet, Aquaman
By David Thompson Posted:

Disney, Marvel, DC, and several other big-budget studio films will likely earn billions of dollars collectively in 2023.

2022 was a bounce-back year for the box office after a historically low run in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the pandemic, the worldwide box office set a record with $42.5 billion in total. Led by blockbuster films like Avengers: Endgame, The Lion King, and Frozen 2, it was a pretty good year for Disney. 2019 produced nine $1 billion earners while 2021 has only had two (Top: Gun Maverick and Jurassic World: Dominion).

Clearly, 2021 won't reach those global box office heights, but 2023 is gearing up to feature several massive releases to spark a comeback for movie theaters again.

As the sleeping giant Avatar: The Way of Water will soon be awakened with the potential to be the #1 box office earner of 2022, it's time to look beyond the horizon.

From a talking raccoon to an Italian plumber, here are our rankings of the top 10 films in 2023 with the most box office potential:

1.) Fast X

Fast X1
Universal Pictures
  • Release Date: May 19, 2023
  • Domestic Total Prediction: $320 million
  • International Total Prediction: $880 million
  • Global Total Prediction: $1.2 billion

The Fast and Furious franchise is known for fast cars, family, and dominating the box office overseas. Despite the weak overall moviegoing climate, F9 brought in $726.2 million at the worldwide box office, with $553.2 million coming from international markets - this was one of the biggest box office hauls post-Covid.

Success seems imminent when combining the facts that China still seems open to widely releasing this franchise in its market, stars Jason Mamoa and Brie Larson joined the cast, and this is the 10th (but not final) Fast film.

2.) The Little Mermaid

Little Mermaid
Disney
  • Release Date: May 26, 2023
  • Domestic Total Prediction: $400 million
  • International Total Prediction: $600 million
  • Global Total Prediction: $1 billion

Death, taxes, and Disney live-action remakes dominating the box office. 

Four separate Disney reimaginings have grossed over $1 billion at the global box office. The most recent release, The Lion King in July 2019 earned a staggering $1.66 billion worldwide, the eighth highest-grossing film of all time.

Starring Halle Bailey (Grown-ish) and directed by Rob Marshall (Into The Woods), The Little Mermaid remake is set to continue this trend of Disney's recycling scheme. A beloved story, massive fan base, and untapped musical potential gives Mermaid a fighting chance at that coveted $1 billion mark.

3.) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Guardians 3
Marvel Studios
  • Release Date: May 5, 2023
  • Domestic Total Prediction: $400 million
  • International Total Prediction: $500 million
  • Global Total Prediction: $900 million

Marvel's biggest movie of 2023 is the culmination of nine years since the Guardians of the Galaxy began their journey under the guiding hand of writer/director James Gunn

Emotions are high as this is the end of the Guardians' story as we know it. It was also assumed that this was their last film together when the cast was in production, and that became even more official when James Gunn took an executive position at DC Studios, jumping off the Marvel ship once Volume 3 releases.

Volume 2 earned an impressive $869.1 million in 2017, but its largest international market (China) is unlikely to widely release this film based on recent history. However, anticipation will be huge as fans have waited six years for the next installment, potentially leading to the highest-earning Guardians film yet (with or without China).

4.) Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Aquaman2
Warner Bros.
  • Release Date: December 25, 2023
  • Domestic Total Prediction: $310 million
  • International Total Prediction: $570 million
  • Global Total Prediction: $880 million

The Chinese box office is undeniably critical for the success of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. 2018's Aquaman not only earned over $1 billion globally but nearly $300 million of that came from its China release.

DC's most recent film, Black Adam, did not release in that market and may ultimately have lessened its chances of turning a profit. The Aquaman franchise however does have a higher floor than the likes of The Rock's Black Adam.

After a surprising nine-month delay, The Lost Kingdom will now release on Christmas Day 2023 (similar to the December 21, 2018 release of Aquaman). 

While the odds are that this film will be another commercial success for Warner Bros., the recent news drop that the DCU may announce a full reboot soon (including Jason Mamoa as Aquaman) could hurt the short-term success of this upcoming sequel.

5.) The Marvels

The Marvels
Marvel Studios
  • Release Date: July 28, 2023
  • Domestic Total Prediction: $320 million
  • International Total Prediction: $500 million
  • Global Total Prediction: $820 million

On paper, this may come off as a disappointment after the mind-boggling $1.1 billion global box office total by its 2019 predecessor. 

A factor to Captain Marvel's success that cannot be overlooked is that it was the Marvel Studios film released less than two months ahead of Avengers: Endgame (the biggest film of the past decade).

This time The Marvels will have to succeed on its own in a favorable late July slot where not much competition is currently set to release in theaters. MCU newcomer director Nia DaCosta could play a major role in making this film fun, fresh and give fans a reason to be excited about this franchise, and Brie Larson as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel.

6.) The Super Mario Bros. Movie

Mario Bros. Movie
Nintendo
  • Release Date: April 7, 2023
  • Domestic Total Prediction: $300
  • International Total Prediction: $500 million
  • Global Total Prediction: $800 million

New to the movie scene, Mario is here to save the girl, snag a star, and scorch its way to a massive box office showing. 

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a pivotal moment in video game movie history. Known for its box office failures and leaving fans to cringe, recent hits like Sonic and Hedgehog and Uncharted are helping to reinvigorate the uncharted territory.

Among the possible video game IP, The Super Mario Bros. universe stands alone as the most iconic, universally known characters. Based on trailer reactions, fans are excited for this first quarter 2023 release, even if not everyone is buying Chris Pratt's Mario voice.

Assuming this is one of the highest-earning animated films of 2023, expect this joint production between Nintendo and animation studio Illumination to produce sequels, spin-offs, and crossover events.

7.) Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania

Ant-Man 3
Marvel Studios
  • Release Date: February 17, 2023
  • Domestic Total Prediction: $320 million
  • International Total Prediction: $455 million
  • Global Total Prediction: $775 million

To kick off the new year, Hollywood's first blockbuster comes by the way of none other than Marvel Studios and the triumphant return of Paul Rudd's Scott Lang/Ant-Man.

Leading the marketing charge is Jonathan Majors' Kang The Conqueror, giving this movie a bigger-picture reason to head to the theaters. In 2025, Earth's Mightiest Heroes return in Avengers: Kang Dynasty, giving Ant-Man 3 the great opportunity to feel more like an "event" than another solo film.

Events are what draw audiences out to the theaters in droves, especially since the pandemic. Look no further than Spider-Man: No Way Home, Top Gun: Maverick, and the social media sensation Minions: The Rise of Gru.

8.) Transformers: Rise of The Beasts

Transformers Beasts
Paramount Pictures
  • Release Date: June 9, 2023
  • Domestic Total Prediction: $250 million
  • International Total Prediction: $450 million
  • Global Total Prediction: $700

The Transformers franchise is hoping for a major comeback after sputtering following 2017's Transformers: The Last Knight. A film that was hated by fans, critics, and earned the least money within the franchise. 2018's Bumblebee made less, but that was a smaller-scale solo film.

Rise of the Beasts promises to be anything but small-scale. Reintroducing Optimus Prime and bringing in for the first time on the big screen Maximals, essentially animal-like Autobots. 

The well-regarded Beast Wars story arc appears to be being adapted in this latest iteration, giving fans something to get excited about. Two main reasons this film is set to be a huge hit are that it is separating itself from the lackluster past while also giving international audiences another CGI-filled Transformers film (known for having phenomenal success overseas).

9.) Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning - Part One

Mission Impossible Part 1
Paramount Pictures
  • Release Date: July 14, 2023
  • Domestic Total Prediction: $220 million
  • International Total Prediction: $475 million
  • Global Total Prediction: $695 million

Riding high off of the global phenomenon, Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise looks to add another blockbuster to his resume.

Dead Reckoning: Part 1 is the 7th Mission Impossible and will be a direct follow-up to 2018's Fallout which grossed the most globally in franchise history.

With The Marvels releasing two weeks later, Mission Impossible 7 will struggle to have the legs Cruise's Maverick had during Summer 2021's historic stretch. Cruise is one of the most powerful actors in Hollywood, with a dedication to his fans and movie theaters.

His dedication to practical effects and completing his own stuntwork garners respect among some audience members. Cruise will once again try and prove that not all blockbusters need to be CGI-filled comic book movies.

10.) The Flash

Flash, Ezra Miller in Star City
Warner Bros.
  • Release Date: June 16, 2023
  • Domestic Total Prediction: $210 million
  • International Total Prediction: $440 million
  • Global Total Prediction: $650 million

Ezra Miller's perpetual misconduct and run-ins with the law may not be enough to hold back this multiverse-hopping Flash film.

While DC Studios heads James Gunn and Peter Safran map out the future, The Flash promises to make some big splashes in the currently constructed DCU. Michael Keaton will make his official return as Batman, a key factor in why test screenings for the films are "through the roof" with audiences.

Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne is also set to reappear, as well as newcomer Sasha Calle portraying Kara Zor-El aka Supergirl. This power-packed solo film has a ton going for it, but the PR issues surrounding its star (Miller) may lead some to elect not to support this highly-anticipated DCU film.

BONUS - Dune: Part Two

Dune 2
Warner Bros.
  • Release Date: November 3, 2023
  • Domestic Total Prediction: $250 million
  • International Total Prediction: $375 million
  • Global Total Prediction: $625 million

2021's Dune, starring Timothee Chalamet and directed by Denis Villeneuve, didn't have a fair chance during its theatrical run. COVID concerns were still keeping many from the theaters and the film was released day and date on HBO Max.

Despite the restrictions, it still earned $400 million at the global box office. It's safe to say the sequel will be a bigger box office hit, but by how much?

Dune was well received by audiences and critics, Chalamet is a rising star, and Zendaya is likely to be featured significantly more in the sequel. A built-in fanbase from the Sci-Fi book series makes for a winning recipe in this expanding universe.


While this list only covers 11 films releasing in 2023 that are primed to earn big bucks, this upcoming year is loaded (even overcrowded at times).

Other movies that may end up earning over $500 million globally include Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Shazam!: Fury of the Gods, Oppenheimer, Elemental, Creed 3, John Wick 4, Barbie, Kraven The Hunter, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, and Wonka.