The box office isn’t dead, it’s just resting. And after this nice long rest, the movie exhibition industry is projected to roar back to life next year.
Analysis firm Gower Street Analytics predicted on Wednesday that the 2022 box office would rebound more than 58% from its 2021 levels, rising from the current estimate of $21 billion for this year to reach $33.2 billion.
Though impressive on its own, the $33.2 billion is still actually a bit off from pre-pandemic levels.
“If the projection holds it would suggest the industry will need to wait until at least 2023 to see a full return to pre-pandemic global box office levels of over $40 billion. Our 2022 forecast is still 20% behind the average of the three pre-pandemic years (2017-2019),” said Robert Mitchell, the firm’s director of theatrical insights.
Of course, 2019 had some serious Hollywood heavyweights to bolster its bottom line, including the hardest hitting film of all time, “Avengers: Endgame,” which raked in $2.8 billion in box office receipts alone.
The current modeling tracks release schedules and is based on the currently known film release calendar. It also assumes a largely open marketplace without additional COVID-related shut downs.
Whether the world–and more specifically movie theaters–is going to get body slammed by omicron is yet to be told. Will 2022 be more like 2019 or 2020? Frankly, it’s too frightening and depressing to even think about.