First, there was the pandemic, which turbo-charged the streaming wars, while leaving a huge gaping hole in the content schedules for movie theaters right at the time when lockdowns had trained audiences to stay at home.
Then came the strikes. The impact of all this is starting to wash through the system as box office researchers Gower Street Analytics have advised that the forecast for the 2024 global cinema box office is likely to come in lower than this year. Over 5%, that equates to nearly $2 billion.
Lower than this year? Lower than the year that featured a whole string of notable, massive, flops? The write-up in Variety provides a treasure trove of numbers.
Pre-pandemic, the global box office was around $41-42 billion annually. This breaks down as just over $11 billion being U.S. domestic, approximately $9 billion being China, and the remaining $21 billion the other global markets. In the prime pandemic year of 2020 that nose-dived all the way down to $11.8 billion. It still hasn’t come back, as this year will still only be $33 billion this year.
The strikes are the ultimate occurrence of kicking something while it was down, and cutting your own nose off to spite your face, as they have really not helped at all. Nice one, Hollywood! Next year that number will fall again to $31 billion.
The analysts CEO, Dimitrios Mitsinikos, says the drop is:
“…not indicative of a declining interest in cinema, but simply a direct consequence of limited product availability”.
Hmmmm. We are gonna go half and half on this one, my greek friend. None of this has helped, but cinema is now in a creative death spiral and it is struggling to pull out of the screaming descent. The U.S. is expected to drop 11% and non-Chinese foreign markets will be down 7% next year.
China is the only market forecast to grow with a jump of around 5%, which runs contrary to the prevailing narrative of a demographic timebomb adding to a fake property boom and an artificially manipulated currency combining to bring down China and stop growth any time soon.
Next year will shake out as 21% below the average of the last three pre-pandemic years from 2017-2019. All laid waste for a coof.
“I’ve just made a three-hour film about Robert Oppenheimer, which is R-rated and half in black-and-white – and it made a billion dollars. Of course I think films are doing great.
The crazy thing is that it’s literally the most successful film I’ve ever made. I’ve been doing this for 20 years and in the United Kingdom, it’s my highest-grossing film.
So, I feel great about the state of the movie business based on my own experience. But also based on seeing other movies break out, seeing audiences come back.”
All reports end with an optimistic view of 2025 as backed-up content starts to flow. So Nolan may well be right.
Check back every day for movie news and reviews at the Last Movie Outpost