Biggest Pop Culture Moments of 2023

December 20, 2023
By iQ Staff
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Following our wrap-up of the top corporate communications trends of the year, we’re taking a look at the moments in pop culture that occupied our minds and dominated the news in 2023.

 

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Ski Collision Trial

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Another year, another high profile celebrity trial. Retired optometrist, Terry Sanderson, sued actress Gwyneth Paltrow in 2019 claiming that Paltrow collided with him on a ski slope in Utah, resulting in a permanent traumatic brain injury. Paltrow countersued for one dollar, as well as repayment of her legal fees, as a symbolic gesture to prove her innocence and protect her reputation. In March 2023, a jury ruled in her favor, bringing her a win in the legal court as well as the court of public opinion.

 

Barbenheimer

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Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Barbie” and Universal Pictures’ “Oppenheimer” were described as “extreme opposites,” but shared one thing in common: a release date of July 21, 2023. The odd juxtaposition of the films was enough for internet users to turn “Barbenheimer” into its own cultural phenomenon, creating memes, posters and T-shirts in anticipation of the films’ premieres. And, despite the July 14 SAG-AFTRA strike that halted promotional efforts from guild members, both films exceeded box office expectations.

 

Elon Musk Renames Twitter “X”

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In an effort to turn Twitter into an “everything app,” Elon Musk haphazardly rebranded Twitter as “X.” The piecemeal rollout was uncoordinated, unorganized and unsettling for those who have been loyal Twitter users. “Tweets” were changed to “posts,” “quote tweets” were changed to “quotes” and “Birdwatch” was changed to “Community Notes,” effectively removing all traces of unique branding. Since the change, the social media platform has seen a decrease in both daily active users and month-over-month user growth.

 

Britney Spears Releases Memoir

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On October 24, 2023, pop icon Britney Spears released a memoir titled “The Woman in Me,” which detailed her widely publicized rise to fame, including her relationship with fellow pop star, Justin Timberlake. Timberlake now faces backlash for the painful details revealed in the book, reportedly causing him to cancel upcoming appearances.

 

Beyonce and Taylor Swift

Last but certainly not least, Beyonce’s “Renaissance Tour” and Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” were two of the hottest tickets of the year. Viral moments included surprise onstage guests, like Taylor Lautner, HAIM, Ice Spice and even Beyonce’s daughter, Blue Ivy; an impressive rotation of celebrities and other familiar faces in the audience; and, of course, the release of the concert films in theatres. Bloomberg Economics estimated that the tours would add a combined $5.4 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product, signifying what Bank of America analysts call “Funflation in Full Force,” which reflects the surge in consumer spending on entertainment and live experiences.

 

Click here to take a trip down memory lane with the biggest pop culture moments of 2022.

Header credit: NBC News