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Universal Tops 2023 Box Office with Help from Oppenheimer, Super Mario Bros. Movie, Fast X & More

Universal Pictures capped off the year with nearly $5 billion in global box office sales.

By Josh Weiss

Take note: There's a new king of the box office in Hollywood! According to a new report from Variety, Universal Pictures absolutely dominated the 2023 theatrical box office with nearly $5 billion in worldwide ticket sales.

The studio had three of the highest-grossing releases of the year with The Super Mario Bros. Movie ($1.3 billion), Fast X ($704 million), and Christopher Nolan's atomic bomb thriller, Oppenheimer ($952 million). Mario (the biggest video game adaptation ever) and Oppenheimer (the biggest biopic ever) were the second and third-biggest titles after Greta Gerwig's Barbie.

RELATED: Go Inside the Creation of Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer With Ambitious Online "Experience"

"Universal had a dream year at the box office in 2023 with a dizzying array of hits from every genre, thus proving that you can indeed be all things to all people if you have a diverse slate perfectly marketed and distributed to an eager moviegoing public," Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst at Comscore, tells NBC Insider. "From Cocaine Bear and M3GAN to Oppenheimer and Five Nights at Freddy’s — as well as notable specialized films such as Asteroid City and The Holdovers — under their Focus Features banner, Universal ran the table and ruled the box office with hits as wildly different as The Super Mario Bros. Movie and The Exorcist: Believer. As Frank Sinatra said 'Yes, it was a very good year' for Universal and for movie fans who found much to love about the films on offer from the studio throughout 2023."

Universal Pictures nabs nearly $5 billion at 2023 box office

J. Robert Oppenheimer stands at a podium in Oppenheimer

Beyond those notable juggernauts, Universal also enjoyed modest, albeit no less important, successes from the likes of M3GAN, Knock at the Cabin, Cocaine Bear, Five Nights at Freddy's, and Trolls Band Together. Despite its day-and-date release, Five Nights at Freddy's still managed to become the biggest horror film of the year with $295 million worldwide.

“In 2023, Universal once again found success at the box office with our eclectic slate of films," Jim Orr, Universal Pictures president of domestic distribution, said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "Our slate featured blockbusters like Christopher Nolan’s epic Oppenheimer and Illumination’s record-breaking The Super Mario Bros. Movie, horror hits including Blumhouse’s breakout hit M3GAN, comedies, dramas, and family films from two of the biggest names in animation, Illumination and DreamWorks Animation."

RELATED: Frequently Asked Questions About Super Mario Bros. That Keep Us Up at Night

Disney — which has come out on top every year since 2015 — was knocked down a peg as the second-largest box office earner of 2023. Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, and Paramount Pictures filled out the remaining slots in descending order.

Per CNN, total domestic box office sales surpassed $9 billion, making for the best year since the coronavirus pandemic threw a devastating wrench into the theatrical gears almost four years ago. While that total is still $2 billion shy of pre-COVID numbers, it's a great sign that the the temporary break in moviegoing was just that — temporary.

Looking for some theatrical action at home? The HoldoversMy Big Fat Greek Wedding 3The Exorcist: BelieverFast XRuby Gillman, Teenage KrakenFive Nights at Freddy's, and Strays are all streaming on Peacock!

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