Gower Street Analytics has increased its 2023 Global box office projection to $34.5 billion.

With the summer season now completed Gower Street analysts have reviewed the last 2023 projection of $32 billion announced ahead of CinemaCon in April. The updated projection, first announced on Celluloid Junkie’s CJ Cinema Summit on Thursday (Sept. 7), represents an +8% improvement on the April projection and a +19% improvement on the original estimate announced in December 2022.

If the new projection holds it would see Global box office finish +33% ahead of 2022 (+35% at current exchange rates). It would also come in just -12% behind the average of the last three pre-pandemic years (2017-2019).

The adjustment follows a bumper Global box office haul in July and August, which saw both months perform above pre-pandemic averages (July delivered the best Global box office ever recorded in the month). Gower Street estimates the Global box office reached $4.54 billion in July, +17% ahead of the month’s average of 2017-2019, while August came in at $3.64 billion, up +1% on the pre-pandemic average.

The Domestic (North America), Chinese, and International (exc. China) markets recorded business ahead of pre-pandemic levels in July. Both the Domestic and Chinese markets repeated this feat in August, with the International market coming in just -5% behind pre-pandemic levels.

The majority of the $2.5 billion bump in Gower Street’s estimate is attributed to China. A stronger than expected summer box office (July was +53% ahead of the July 2017-2019 average) and an anticipated strong roster of local titles on the calendar for the October Golden Week holiday has resulted in Gower Street adding $1.5 billion to its estimate for China since the April projection.

China is currently projected to reach $8.3 billion, making it the only major market currently projected to outperform the 2017-2019 average (by +3%) in 2023. However, this is not anticipated to be enough to surpass Domestic which is projected to reach $9.2 billion (-19% behind the pre-pandemic average). The International market (exc. China) is projected to hit $17 billion (-15% behind pre-pandemic average).

Over 85% of the additional $1 billion gain on the April projection is attributed to the box office overperformance in July and August thanks to the success of titles including Greta Gerwig’s BARBIE, distributed by Warner Bros., and Christopher Nolan’s OPPENHEIMER, distributed by Universal. In the Domestic market the combined box office of July-August came in slightly over $350 million ahead of Gower Street’s estimate for those months back in April, while International (exc. China) came in over $500 million ahead.

This projection, calculated utilizing data from actuals data from our partners at Comscore Movies, Gower Street’s flagship FORECAST service and analyst assessment, is based on the current release calendar.