How Tom Cruise, James Cameron, and Dinosaurs Defeated Marvel in 2022?

Yusuf Ali
5 min readJan 3


Illustration: Yusuf Ali

In the last decade, Marvel movies dominated the box office, with eight films crossing the one-billion-dollar worldwide gross and two crossing the two-billion-dollar worldwide. In 2022, 3 of the most anticipated Marvel movies were released (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever). Fans had high expectations with all of these movies. Additionally, box office analysts had predicted high box office numbers because in 2021, Spider-man: No Way Home made a whopping 1.9 billion dollars without releasing in China, Multiverse of Madness was rumored to include various characters from pre-MCU movies, Thor: Love and Thunder being the fourth standalone Thor movie; starting Chris Hemsworth with Christian Bale playing the villain and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever continuing without late and great Chadwick Boseman. However, in the end, one must ask what happened.

Illustration: Yusuf Ali

None of the Marvel movies released in 2022 made it to the top three highest-grossing films, and none even crossed the billion-dollar mark, even though each had the hype and potential. Instead, these movies received some criticism for quality purposes. However, there is no denying that all these three movies did have a terrific run in theaters and received some critical praise. Tom Cruise, James Cameron, and Dinosaurs are at the top of the 2022 Box Office, and today we will cover potential causes.

Fan Theories

The success of MCU movies created more significant interest in Marvel, with many worldwide starting to read Marvel Comics and watch various animated Marvel series. This causes fans to develop theories, predicting the story of upcoming Marvel movies. With social media’s expansion, many content creators on YoutTube, TikTok, and other platforms have made a career out of predicting story arcs of upcoming films and finding easter eggs. This makes the fans too excited and expects the most from a movie. This is one of the significant reasons Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness failed to impress many fans, as many expected the most from fan theories. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a solo movie that continues the growth of Doctor Strange as a hero and human being. It is not supposed to be an Avengers-level movie. It made more than 950 million worldwide. It could have passed the 1 billion dollar mark. However, many fans were unhappy with it and expressed their displeasure. It prevented many from seeing it in theaters.

Old school moviegoer Vs. New School

Tom Cruise, James Cameron, and Dinosaurs have one major thing in common; they have fans predating the streaming services. These fans watched the movies at the theatres and physically went to the video store to buy or rent the DVDs. They watched the film and did not have social media to cry about if they did not like it. They moved on and watched the next ones. In contrast, new school moviegoers will watch a movie and then keep criticizing it forever at any chance or wait two months and watch it on streaming services. They can also rent or own it on Youtube, Apple, and Prime anytime from home.

Old-school moviegoers are more loyal compared to new-school moviegoers. That’s why even if Jurassic World Dominion received poor critical reviews, it did not stop the fans from going to the theatres to watch it. They love to watch Dinosaurs on screen no matter what.

The Presence of Disney +

Why go to the theatres and watch a Marvel or Disney movie? In one and a half months or two, it will be streaming on Disney +. According to IndieWire, the average movie ticket price now is $11. On the other hand, the basic Disney+ (with Ads) is just $7.99/month. With the vast amount of Star Wars, Disney Original, Marvel, Fox Studios, and other content owned by Disney, it is essential to have Disney+ so fans can watch any content they want. However, digital releases have started hurting the box office business after one and a half or two months of theatrical release.

China Release

One of the significant factors why American movies at the box office have been suffering recently is that China has limited foreign movie releases in their country. Due to political controversies, none of the 3 Marvel movies released in 2022 were released in China. If Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was released in China, they could have passed the one-billion-dollar mark. Avengers: Endgame alone made more than 630 million just in China.

Quality Vs. Quantity

From 2008–16, Marvel President Kevin Feige only produced 1–2 movies for MCU and then three movies each in 2017 and 2018. However, in 2021, 8 MCU projects were released (4 movies and 4 TV series), and 8 in 2022 (3 movies, 3 TV series, and 2 television specials). In 2023, 9 projects are expected to release (3 movies and 6 television series), excluding television specials. So much content each year is what a true fan dreams of, but MCU is losing its quality over quantity. The visual effects in recent movies have received criticism compared to previous films. VFX takes time and commitment. When there are too many projects, the final product does not look sharp and crisp because the artists have to finish one project quickly and move on to the next. Many VFX artists had already spoken against Marvel Studios about poor working conditions.

Meanwhile, James Cameron spent time researching and developing a story for his Avatar Sequel. It took around 13 years for Avatar: The Way of Water to be written, shot, and released. The patience of fans was rewarded with a cinematic masterpiece. That is also a similar case with Top Gun: Maverick. The sequel came after 36 years. The quality of the product is what makes it or breaks it. Marvel needs to focus on quality over quantity.



Yusuf Ali

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