I mean, the other blockbusters alongside Avatar as top-grosser movies are simplified versions of simple comic-book stories, the nonsensical Star Wars sequel trilogy, a couple of kids' movies, one of them a remake, etc. so yeah.
Can only speak for myself, but looking at the rest of the top 10 highest grossing movies:
- I hated the Star Wars sequel trilogy and definitely don't think that The Force Awakens deserved to make $2b at the box office. It made that $2b on the Star Wars name and nostalgia alone, the movie itself was just an underwhelming rehash of A New Hope's plotline that treated Han Solo quite poorly, making him out to be a deadbeat dad who abandoned his family and the galaxy at large when things got tough. The fact that the subsequent movies in the trilogy dropped to $1.3b and $1b shows that many people were underwhelmed by The Force Awakens. The whole trilogy was planned poorly from the start and suffered for it.
- I personally wouldn't call the 4 MCU movies in the top 10 "simple comic book movies". The 3 Avengers movies weave together multiple storylines of multiple characters very well, combining stunning visuals with entertaining plotlines. No Way Home meanwhile was popular for one simple reason, people knew beforehand that the previous 2 Spider-Mans and villains from the earlier movies would be in it, it was a potent combination of nostalgia for the old and the popularity of the MCU itself. I'm not even that big of a fan of the MCU personally, there are MCU movies and shows I still haven't watched and may never watch, but I still think that Avengers 1, 3, 4 and Spider-Man: No Way Home all deserve their spots on the top 10.
- Jurassic World was an underwhelming movie (though not as underwhelming as The Force Awakens above), but much like The Force Awakens above, the reason it did so well is name power, Jurassic Park 1 was insanely popular, the highest grossing movie of all-time as of it's release in 1993 (unadjusted for inflation). It also helped that it had a very strong foreign box office performance, with China alone adding $200m to it's gross.
- Titanic is well, not a movie that I was in the target audience for. That movie was marketed at women, not men, and women loved it, dragging their boyfriends and husbands to see it multiple times while it was in theater. When you have the same people paying to watch a movie in theater 2, 3, 4 times during it's box office run, it is going to make money. It does at least seem to be well plotted (though overly long), even if it's not a movie made for my personal tastes.
- The Lion King line-action remake. Well, this is a movie that is worse in every possible way than the original Lion King animated movie from 1994. It definitely did well simply on the back of name power and nostalgia, the original Lion King was the highest grossing animated movie until Frozen or Shrek 2 surpassed it (don't remember which), with tons more kids watching it via home video, so of course kids who grew up with the original were going to take their own kids to see the remake.
Overall, I agree with you that most of the top 10 highest grossing movies were underwhelming. This is why box office isn't everything, only 1 of my personal top 10 favorite movies of all-time are in the current top 50 movies (unadjusted for inflation). More of my top 10 likely movie into the top 50 highest grossing when adjusted for inflation, since several are older movies that did well at the box office when they released, but there are definitely some movies that I love and have watched 10 or more times that don't even make the top 50 when adjusted for inflation.Last edited by shikamaru317 - on 11 January 2023