The biggest winners and losers of summer 2023

From the highs of Barbenheimer to the lows of The Idol, here's everything that worked and everything that didn't this summer

The biggest winners and losers of summer 2023
Clockwise from left: Barbie (Warner Bros.), Secret Invasion (Des Willie/Marvel), Oppenheimer (Universal), The Witcher (Netflix), Taylor Swift (Kevin Winter/Getty Images) Graphic: The A.V. Club

With Hot Labor Summer in full force, it’s been understandably hard to focus on anything else. The historic writers’ and actors’ strikes have rightly drawn much of the media attention, and the public is fully on the unions’ side, too, even though it’s disrupted release dates for many new shows and films. So while the studios continue to block fair contracts, the solidarity from the public and the empathy for the people on strike has been heartening.

There have been some other triumphant moments amid the darkness, too: Keke Palmer got some deliciously public revenge on her (maybe ex?) boyfriend after he made some dumb comments about her outfit choices, San Diego Comic-Con got back to its roots with a fan-focused event after most of the major studios pulled out, and Taylor Swift and Beyoncé both had career-defining tours. And, of course, Barbenheimer might be the most fun anyone’s had at the movies in years. Here, then, are the biggest winners and losers from summer 2023.

previous arrowWinner: Barbenheimer next arrow
Winner: Barbenheimer
Barbie Graphic The A.V. Club

As summer comes to a close, there’s still one thing on everyone’s mind: the movies are back, baby! And it wasn’t Ariel or Indiana Jones who revived the box office, but the power of original auteur filmmaking. Sure, Greta Gerwig’s and Christopher Nolan’s may have done (extremely) well on their own, but together they provided a transcendent phenomenon. Theatergoers were thrilled by the idea of the double feature and tickled by pairing two very different films, and that translated into major box office dollars. It was a win for the film industry, but it was also a win for audiences who remembered how much fun going to the movies could be. [Mary Kate Carr]

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