Theatrical Data Consultant Narrows 2024 Global Revenue Decline Forecast

The 2024 global box office is projected to reach $32.3 billion in revenue, down about 3% (based on current exchange rates) from revenue of $33.9 billion in 2023, according to revised data from Gower Street Analytics, an industry data firm partnered with Comscore.

In December, Gower had originally projected worldwide theatrical revenue this year of $31.5 billion. The improved forecast, announced ahead of the CinemaCon industry confab through April 11 in Las Vegas, still lags 18% behind the average annual pre-pandemic box office revenue from 2017 through 2019 — the year when Disney alone dominated the market with $11 billion in Marvel-themed ticket sales.

The improved outlook is due to added theatrical releases in the 2024 slate, in addition to a 1% gain in first-quarter (ended March 31) ticket sales in North America and China year-over-year, and an 11% increase in foreign box office revenue, excluding China. Forecast revenue increases include about $200 million in North America and $500 million across foreign screens.

The top-grossing theatrical releases thus far are Warner Bros. Pictures’ Dune: Part Two with $660.6 million in revenue, ahead of Universal Pictures’ Kung Fu Panda 4 with $410.4 million in ticket sales, and Warner’s Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire with $361 million.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Gower: 2024 Global Box Office Revenue to Drop 5% Due to Hollywood Strikes

Gower Street Analytics reports the 2024 global box office will reach $31.5 billion, down 5% from the estimated $33.4 billion 2023 box office.

The research firm reports the combination of the Hollywood actors and writers strikes resulted in the loss of 50% of movie production time, which resulted in many studios pushing back major releases until late 2024 or into 2025.

“[The] decrease … is not indicative of a declining [consumer] interest in cinema, but simply a direct consequence of limited product availability,” CEO Dimitrios Mitsinikos said in a statement. “In fact, as July 2023 marked a record-breaking month at the global box office [due to Barbie and Oppenheimer], we know that there is a robust audience demand for compelling theatrical releases.”

The 2024 projection reflects a 20% decline from the average of the last three pre-pandemic years (2017-2019).

 

 

A number of major titles have been postponed until 2025 include a host of Disney films, including Marvel’s Blade, Captain America: Brave New World, Fantastic Four, and Thunderbolts, the live action Snow White, James Cameron’s Avatar 3, and Pixar’s ELIO.

Other major titles delayed until 2025 include Paramount’s Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning, Part 2, and Lionsgate’s as-yet-untitled Dirty Dancing sequel. There are also titles, such as Sony’s Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse, which are yet to land on a new date having been removed from the 2024 release calendar.

“Based on productions currently on our radar, we expect 2025 to be a very good year at the box office, and hopefully a positive trend-setter for the second half of this decade,” added Mitsinikos in a statement.

Gower reports the void of major studio release in 2024 opens the door for non-Hollywood titles and alternative offerings. Examples this year include the relative box office success of Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour and the ongoing domestic and international successes for titles such as The Boy and the Heron and Godzilla Minus One from Japan.

Gower reports the domestic (North American) market is anticipated to finish 11% down in 2024 from 2023 at approximately $8 billion. This is a 30% drop from the 2017-2019 average, and only a slim 7% increase from 2022.

The international market (excluding China) is projected to decline 7% to $15.6 billion from 2023, underscored by local productions. This is down 21% from the 2017-2019 average, but up 12% from 2022.

Gower projects the 2024 European/Middle East/Asia box office will drop 9% to $8 billion from $8.8 billion; the Asia Pacific market (excluding China) will dip 2% to $5.2 billion from $5.3 billion; and the Latin American market will decline 8% to $2.4 billion from $2.6 billion.

Increasingly less reliant on Hollywood content, China is projected to see a 5% increase in box office to $7.9 billion from $7.52 billion. However, due to the limited release calendar at this stage it remains the hardest market to predict, according to Gower.

“Local and international titles have more space to shine in each market when the supply of attractive U.S.-product is shortened,” analyst Thomas Beranek said in a statement. “This has been proven frequently since the pandemic disrupted both production and release cycles in 2020.”

Report: 2023 Global Box Office to Reach $29 Billion — 30% Below Pre-Pandemic 2019

Analysis from Gower Street Analytics suggests the 2023 worldwide box office will improve to a projected $29 billion in ticket sales from an estimated 2022 total of $25.8 billion.

Still, the 2023 projection is more than 30% below pre-pandemic 2019 box office revenue of $42.3 billion — a banner year for theaters in which Disney/Marvel alone accounted for a record $11 billion in ticket sales.

The 2023 projection would represent a 12% gain over the current year estimate. The gain would be smaller than the 21% rise in ticket sales this year compared to 2021, according to Gower.

With 20th Century Studios’ much-anticipated sequel Avatar: The Way of Water expected to boost the 2022 global box office in its final days, the year is still projected to end nearly 40% below 2019.

This year has been impacted by a $3 billion lower Chinese box office (compared to 2021); Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which resulted in U.S. studio boycotts of Russia; and a fluctuating foreign exchange rate that has resulted in U.S. studios realizing $1 billion less in revenue.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The report suggests Hollywood will have to wait until at least 2024 to see a full return to pre-pandemic global box office levels. Indeed, the 2023 forecast is 27% behind the average of the last three pre-pandemic years (2017-19) at current exchange rates (this would rise to 30% compared to historic rates).

The North American market is projected to see a 12% increase in 2023 ($8.6 billion) over 2022 ($7.65 billion) but still lag 25% behind an average of the last three pre-pandemic years. The Asia Pacific (excluding China) and Latin America regions are both expected to gain 11% to 12%, respectively, from 2022, and finish 20% down on the pre-pandemic average. Europe, the Middle East and Africa are expected to increase revenue about 7% on 2022, and finish 30% behind the pre-pandemic average due to the Russia situation.

“With a lesser-known advance release calendar and continued uncertainty around access for import titles and changing COVID policy, China remains the market that is hardest to predict,” read the report. “We are currently projecting $5.55 billion [in revenue] for China, a rise on 2022, but well short of its 2021 figure.”

2021 Global Box Office Projected to Reach $20.2 Billion — 58% Less Than Pre-Pandemic

First, the good news: Moviegoers are returning to the cineplex. The 2021 global year-to-date box office (excluding China) has reached $12 billion, matching full-year 2020, and is projected to top $20.2 billion by the end of the year, according to new data from Gower Street Analytics.

Now the bad: The revenue projection is 58% less than the average pre-pandemic box office tally from 2017 to 2019, according to the London-based research firm.

As of Sept. 11, Gower Street contends the international box office (excluding China) stood at $5.22 billion, with the U.S. box office at $2.31 billion and China at $5.13 billion.

The firm estimates the international box office will end 2021 at about $9.05 billion — including $4.3 billion from Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), $3.85 billion from Asia Pacific (excluding China), and $902 million from Latin America.

The final four months of 2020 generated about $4.4 billion globally despite significant theaters remaining closed. At the start of September 2020, 75% of movie theaters were operating. Within that number only 32% of Latin America was open and only a little over 50% (56%) of the U.S. market (California and New York among those still closed).

The global number would rise to a 2020-peak of 79% at the start of October, before sinking back to 70% at the start of November and 60% at the start of December. By early December, cinemas open by market share across the EMEA region had fallen to just over 30% and in the U.S. to 40%. By the close of the year only 56% of global cinemas were operating.

Currently in 2021, 87.65% of global cinemas, as measured by market share, are operating, according to Gower Street. This is just below the 87.7% peak seen at the close of July. As of Sept. 11, the domestic market stood at 84.5%; China at 91%; Asia Pacific at 80% — with cinemas outside of Auckland re-opening in New Zealand and cinemas allowed to begin re-opening in Malaysia this past weekend; EMEA at 93%; and Latin America at 92%. Collectively the international market (excluding China) shows 88% of cinemas, by pre-pandemic market share, currently operating.

While there have been some recent losses to the release calendar, most notably the move of Paramount Pictures’ Top Gun: Maverick back to May 2022, as well as a few more titles opting for day-and-date theatrical and VOD releases that will inevitably reduce theatrical returns (including MGM/United Artists Releasing’s The Addams Family 2 and Universal Pictures’ Halloween Kills) there are plenty of highly-anticipated titles on offer.

Following the recent and ongoing theatrical success of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Disney confirmed the rest of its 2021 slate would receive exclusive theatrical runs. Other big releases in the fourth quarter: MGM’s latest James Bond adventure No Time to Die; Sony Pictures’ super-anti-hero sequel Venom: Let There Be Carnage; new titles from filmmakers Wes Anderson (The French Dispatch), Edgar Wright (Last Night in SoHo), and Denis Villeneuve (Dune); Jason Reitman’s continuation of his father Ivan’s 1980s’ hit franchise Ghostbusters: Afterlife; the return of Keanu Reeves’s Neo in The Matrix: Resurrections; and Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home.