With just a few days left of the year, box-office analysts and Comscore indicate that 2022 is set to close out with approximately $7.4 billion made at the U.S. domestic box office across the year.
That’s a 72% jump on the $4.3 billion earned in 2021 and well on the road to recovery from a $2.2 billion low in 2020 at the start of the pandemic. Prior to COVID-19, cinemas pulled in $11.3 billion in 2019.
The jump next year is expected to be considerably smaller, however, with predictions being the 2023 domestic box office will rise by only around 22% and will come in somewhere in the $8-9 billion range and suggests ‘normalcy’ won’t return until 2024.
Next year sees the post-production mess, which left the late Summer/early Fall barren of major film releases, clear up and offer a more consistent level of major studio output with releases kicking into gear with Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” in mid-February.
Even so, it’s still not back to normal levels. Only 100 wide releases are expected to hit the theatrical calendar next year, down on the 104 of this year and still some way from the 143 of 2019.
One upside though is it’s expected there’s much more in the way of potential wide-appealing hits next year, and up to 33 of those 100 titles have the potential to gross well above $100 million domestically – that’s up from 29 that crossed the mark in 2019, 13 in 2021 and 18 this year.
The main concern is that mainstream original adult films aren’t pulling in audiences anymore, with none really gaining any traction at the box office this year as many, especially older adults and the 50+ crowd, wait for streaming.
Those kinds of films were losing audiences before the pandemic due in part to the rise of prestige television. The pandemic then accelerated that exodus. Exhibitors hope adult audiences will “reacquire the habit” of going to the cinema, even if there’s no real data to support such a prospect.