2022 Summer Movie Winners, Losers (And 1 Question Mark)

We always feel the need for speed.

Audiences had to wait and wait for Tom Cruise’s “Top Gun: Maverick” to hit theaters. Once the pandemic delays lifted, the ’80s sequel soared higher than expected.

Universally acclaimed and aggressively apolitical “Maverick” just overtook “Titanic” on the all-time box office charts. It’s also a worldwide success, earning north of $671 million without the help of China.

Take that, an unnamed American enemy featured in the film.

Even Quentin Tarantino shared his “Maverick” love, saying the film was a “real cinematic spectacle.”

He’s the big champion of the season, but other films have tried to dethrone Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.


Movie theater

The pandemic has closed cineplexes as well as restaurants, churches and more (but not BLM protests). Audiences saw the new releases at home like never before, and it looked like this change in behavior might be permanent.

Would cinemas follow the path of drive-in cinema, throwbacks to an analog era?

“Maverick” helped defy that possibility, but it’s not the only movie to pull in a sizable crowd. The market may never be the same after COVID-19, but enough moviegoers have returned to theaters to appease studios…for now.

“Minions: The Rise of Gru”

Audiences can’t get enough of these marble-mouthed creatures, no matter how poor the story is around them. “Rise,” the fifth film in the series, opened with an absurd $108 million in its first three days of release.

The franchise has legs, which means we haven’t seen Steve Carell’s latest lovable supervillain (or his goofy cohorts).


He left the building and that deadly reel in 1977. Audiences still crave those gyrating hips and timeless tunes, as the film’s impressive box office results show.

The pandemic has kept many adults away from theaters, but the film’s $130 million bounty showed they would happily return under the right circumstances.

Thanks a lot.

“The Black Phone”

Horror doesn’t need A-list stars or IP-enabled titles. This clever clash proved it, banking on a killer premise to draw in audiences. A sequel seems inevitable, but we’ll always have the bravery of Ethan Hawke as a serial killer with a penchant for young victims.

“Everything, everywhere, all at once”

This year’s smash is still writing its success story. The film’s critical praise was accompanied by strong and consistent support from audiences. The film went on and continued at the box office, surpassing other independent releases in the process.

Bank on some Oscar nominations early next year.

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”

Benedict Cumberbatch remains the perfect choice to play the MCU’s spellcaster. His second solo effort, released at the very start of the summer movie season, offered a dizzying display of giddy cameos and ghostly imagery.

Thank you, director Sam Raimi.

The film made $411 million, but the story wasn’t as tense or formidable as previous MCU efforts.



It’s one of the most original and chilling horror movies in recent memory. The title and the feminist trappings of the story may have alienated curious audiences.

“Light year”

Disney made two critical mistakes before the movie was released. He dropped the original voice of Buzz Lightyear, Tim Allen, suggesting the star’s politics weren’t welcome for this ‘Toy Story’ spin-off.

The other mistake? Force a homosexual moment in the film. The footage in question is a snappy affair and you’ll miss it, but the headlines surrounding it carry more weight than usual.


The Disney team is all about indoctrinating children with sexual messages, both benign and more adult in nature. A brief bus between two women isn’t offensive on paper, not even close. It has always fueled the larger narrative surrounding the Mouse House, being part of the raging culture wars.

Plus, the movie couldn’t match the sheen of the four “Toy Story” entries.


“Thor: Love and Thunder”

The Asgardian hero had help this time around, thanks to Natalie Portman’s hammer-wielding heroine. Box office results look solid on paper, but the fourth film in the MCU franchise will gross about $100 million less than “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” earned earlier this year.

That’s not the only disturbing news.

The film generated a 65% “fresh” rating at Rotten Tomatoes, meaning reviews weren’t sold on director Taika Waititi’s latest MCU venture.

They were right.

“High-speed train”

Early figures for the movie weekend suggest audiences are done with silly summer blockbusters. Or, the over-the-top antics of adventure aren’t catnip for the general public.

Either way, this original isn’t a flop, but if it doesn’t have box office legs, it could easily slip into the underdog category.


A genre film that hits the $100 million mark deserves a “winner” tag under most conditions. This thriller, a sci-fi spectacle with a touch of macabre, is not your typical release.

This is Jordan Peele’s third film of “Get Out” fame. And we see his films drop drastically at the box office. ‘No’ will earn about $75 million less than 2019’s ‘Us’, meaning its brand is in serious decline.

It doesn’t help that “Nope” is a creative dud, a boring affair with a disheartening third act.

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