Gower Street is predicting the global box office to finish at approximately $20.2 billion in 2021. The year-end estimate comes as Gower Street launches its redesigned and rebranded State Of The Market report (formerly the Road To Recovery report).

Global box office for 2021 had already matched the year-end result for 2020 ($12bn according to the MPAA’s Theme Report 2020) by the close of August. Gower Street’s Global Box Office Tracker, which features in our weekly State Of The Market report, showed global box office stood at $12 billion as of August 31, 2021. That result stood 58% ahead of 2020 ($7.61bn) at the same stage, but 58% behind the average of the last three pre-pandemic years (2017-2019).

This news prompted Gower Street analysts to consider where 2021 might end up with four months of the year to go.

As of September 11, Gower Street estimates International box office (excluding China) to stand at $5.22 billion. Domestic box office stands at $2.31 billion and China at $5.13 billion. Regular subscribers to our Road To Recovery report (now rebranded as the State Of The Market report) will be aware that this past weekend marked the first time in 2021 that the International box office number has exceeded that of China.

Gower Street currently estimates that the International box office (excluding China) will finish at approximately $9.05 billion. This will be made up of $4.3 billion from Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), $3.85 billion from Asia Pacific (excluding China), and $902 million from Latin America. Predicted totals for the Domestic and China markets, as well as how they and the International prediction differ from the three-year average, are shown in the graphic above.

The final four months of 2020 generated approximately $4.4 billion globally despite significant portions of the global exhibition sector being closed. At the start of September 2020, 75% of movie theaters by market share were operating. Within that number only 32% of Latin America was open and only a little over 50% (56%) of the Domestic market (key box office states California and New York being among those still closed).

The global number would rise to a 2020-peak of 79% at the start of October, before sinking back to 70% at the start of November and 60% at the start of December. By early December cinemas open by market share across the EMEA region had fallen to just over 30% and Domestic to 40%. By the close of the year only 56% of global cinemas, as measured by market share, were operating. The Domestic market stood at 38%, Latin America at 35% and EMEA at just 24%!

Currently in 2021, 87.65% of global cinemas, as measured by market share, are operating. This is only just below the 87.7% peak seen at the close of July. As of September 11, the Domestic market stands at just shy of 84.5%; China at 91%; Asia Pacific (excluding China) at 80% – with cinemas outside of Auckland re-opening in New Zealand and cinemas allowed to begin re-opening in Malaysia this past weekend; EMEA at 93%; and Latin America at 92%. Collectively the International market (excluding China) shows 88% of cinemas, by pre-pandemic market share, currently operating.

There is also a lot more scheduled to come in 2021. While there have been some recent losses to the calendar, most notably the move of TOP GUN: MAVERICK back to May 2022, as well as a few more titles opting for day-and-date theatrical and VOD releases that will inevitably reduce theatrical returns (including THE ADDAMS FAMILY 2 and HALLOWEEN KILLS) there are plenty of highly-anticipated titles on offer. Following the recent and ongoing theatrical success of SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, Disney has confirmed the rest of its 2021 slate will receive exclusive theatrical runs. These include Oscar-winner Chloe Zhao’s Marvel title ETERNALS, Steven Spielberg’s new take on musical classic WEST SIDE STORY, Ridley Scott’s acclaimed THE LAST DUEL, prequel THE KING’S MAN, and animated titles ENCANTO and RON’S GONE WRONG. Other potential big hitters on the Q4 roster include James Bond adventure NO TIME TO DIE; super-anti-hero sequel VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE; new titles from acclaimed filmmakers Wes Anderson (THE FRENCH DISPATCH), Edgar Wright (LAST NIGHT IN SOHO), and Denis Villeneuve (DUNE); Jason Reitman’s continuation of his father Ivan’s 1980s’ hit franchise GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE; the return of Keanu Reeves’s Neo in THE MATRIX: RESURRECTIONS; and Marvel’s epic SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME.

If Gower Street’s 2021 full-year projection holds it will see the current year finish 52% down against the average of the three pre-pandemic years (2017-2019) and 68% ahead of 2020. In 2019 the global box office hit a record $42.3 billion (Source: MPAA Theme Report 2020).

Gower Street’s new year-end calculation combines global box office actuals, provided by our partners at Comscore Movies, with monthly forward-projections by market based on our predictive box office service FORECAST and analyst assessment. All projection figures are based on the current release calendar.

Revised global and regional year-end estimates for 2021 will be announced each month.

Gower Street’s State Of The Market report has been redesigned based on our previous Road To Recovery report. It is designed to follow what is happening market-by-market and regionally around the world to provide all the market information distribution, exhibition and production executives would need to have at their fingertips, both in the current climate and in the future. Features include: Global box office summary tables comparing current-year box office to date with both the previous year and the pre-pandemic three-year (2017-2019) average, across 44 individual markets and all key regions; the Global Box Office Tracker; our new Market Recovery Tracker; tracking of the market share of open cinemas globally, regionally, and in 30 individual markets; market-specific data for 30 markets, including Domestic, China, and the 10 biggest international markets; and commentary on latest developments around the world.