The global box office industry has dropped to nearly a quarter of its three-year average year-to-date (YTD) value. According to the research data analyzed and published by Stock Apps, toward the end of August 2020, the industry had suffered a decline of around 92% year-on-year (YoY).
Data from Gower Street reveals that the global box office industry was worth $6.4 billion YTD as of July 2020. It was a remarkably small fraction of the three-year average YTD score, which stood at $27.2 billion at the time.
Surprisingly, in August alone, the global market generated over $1 billion. It was double the cumulative amount generated between April and July 2020. As a result of this remarkable one-month performance, the box office sector grew to $7.4 billion. However, the August total was only a quarter of the average of $3.5 billion reported during the same month over the past three years.
Gower Street estimated that the global box office industry’s loss as of August 31, 2020 was $20.7 billion. On the bright side though, by the same date, the market share of open cinemas worldwide had increased to 72% from 48% a month before.
Cineplex is among the hardest hit stocks in the sector. According to Marketwatch data, the stock had suffered a decline of nearly 75% YTD as of September 15, 2020. In the second quarter of 2020, its revenues plummeted by 95%.
2020 Global Box Office Could Gross $5.64B, Down from $42.2B in 2019
In 2019, global movie ticket sales hit a record of $42.2 billion. However, given the fact that different markets are dealing with the pandemic in different ways, projecting 2020 estimates has not been easy. Complicating the matter further, the release schedule for major blockbusters was reshuffled significantly with most fleeing to 2021 and the latter part of 2020.
S&P Global research paints different scenarios that show the global box office industry could make anywhere from $5.64 billion to $9.03 billion in 2020. The worst case scenario would come about in case of a 50% drop in admissions. Admissions could be hampered by a lingering hesitancy on the part of the general public. It could also result from delays in film releases which have become the order of the day in view of the state of the industry.
Nolan’s Tenet Grosses $20.2M, Half the Expected Amount
Movie theatres in the US were closed for over five months but when they finally reopened in select states, pent-up demand did not send sales to expected highs. For instance, when Christopher Nolan’s Tenet finally opened over the long Labor Day weekend, it only grossed $20.2 million.
In contrast, Nolan’s previous film Dunkirk grossed $50 million in its first weekend when it launched in July 2017. From Tenet’s release through to September 13, 2020, the movie’s global gross was $207 million. The foreign total was $178 million, while in the US, it grossed $29 million.
Prior to the release, BoxOffice.com had forecast a collection ranging between $30 million and $40 million. Following the dismal performance, Disney’s Mulan, which was to come after Tenet, was sent to Disney+ in the US and a number of select markets. Warner Bros shortly thereafter announced that Wonder Woman 1984, which is slated for launch on October 2, had been pushed to December 25.
Universal Pictures also announced its intention to postpone the release of its horror film remake, Candyman. There were also reports of a delay of Blackwidow, Walt Disney Co.’s superhero flick.
China Goes from -98% Decline to Leading Global Recovery
According to figures from S&P Global, the Asia-Pacific region was one of the worst performers in box office during the first half of 2020. For the period between January and June 2020, the region reported a decline of 92%. Aggregate revenue from cinemas during the period was only $603 million.
To put that in perspective, note that in a normal year its annual average revenue is $17 billion. In fact, the region has three of the most lucrative box office markets outside the US. These are China, Japan and South Korea.
China led the free fall, plummeting by 98% during the period, while Japan dropped by 75% and South Korea by 79%. Interestingly, China seems to be taking the lead in the gradual recovery process too.
According to Gower Street research, China needed to generate $184 million weekly post-COVID for a full recovery of the domestic industry. Comscore Movies data reveals that it hit that target in a mere five days of the week starting August 21.
In that period, it made over $189 million, which rose to $252 million for the full week. The week’s sales accounted for almost a third of all 2020 sales in China YTD.