Gower Street Analytics estimates Global box office hit $25.9 billion in 2022. This represented a +27% gain on 2021, continuing global box office recovery. However, it still shows a significant way to go to return to pre-pandemic levels, coming in -35% behind the average of the last three pre-pandemic years (2017-2019) – a loss of approximately $14 billion at current exchange rates.
Having claimed the global #1 ranking in both 2020 and 2021 China relinquished that title back to the Domestic market this past year. According to the latest data from our partners at Comscore Movies, the Domestic market delivered an estimated $7.5 billion in 2022, +65% against 2021 and also -35% behind the 2017-2019 average. China is calculated to have finished at approximately $4.33 billion, putting it -36% behind 2021. It is one of only three markets Comscore and Gower Street track to show a year-on-year loss. China finished at close to half (-49%) its pre-pandemic three-year average.
The International market (excluding China) is estimated to have finished around $14.1 billion in 2022, representing a +55% gain on 2021 and a slimmer -29% deficit against the 2017-2019 average. All three key regions performed better compared to the three-year average than the Domestic or Chinese markets. Europe, Middle East and Africa delivered $7.1 billion, -31% against the pre-pandemic average and a gain of 52% over 2021. Asia Pacific (excluding China) is calculated to have delivered $5.2 billion in 2022, -26% behind the 2017-2019 average and +49% up on 2021. Latin America delivered just shy of $1.8 billion, -30% against the three-year average while showing the biggest gain over 2021 (+87%).
Japan was the star market of 2022 coming in just -9.4% behind its pre-pandemic average with an estimated $1.5 billion. The top grossing film was anime smash ONE PIECE FILM: RED with $140 million (the film grossed an impressive $213 million globally).
In contrast the weakest market tracked, in terms of comparison to pre-pandemic business, was Russia. The Eastern European major delivered an estimated $310 million in 2022, a drop of -43% on 2021 and a massive -57% behind pre-pandemic business. This dropped Russia out of the Top 5 EMEA markets. This was a direct result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February and the subsequent boycott of Russia by the US studios. This resulted in the title of top performing film of the year actually falling to 2021 local sequel holdover THE LAST WARRIOR: A MESSENGER OF DARKNESS ($22.55m of its $30.8m total). UNCHARTED, the final studio title released prior to the boycott, was the top 2022 release ($19m).
Excluding India (for which Gower Street/Comscore do not have complete tracking) the top 15 international markets are estimated to be: China ($4.3bn), Japan ($1.5bn), UK/Ireland ($1.2bn), France ($1.1bn), South Korea ($0.9bn), Germany ($8bn), Australia ($0.64bn), Mexico ($0.63bn), Spain ($0.4bn), Brazil ($0.35bn), Italy ($0.33bn), Russia ($0.31bn), Netherlands ($0.27bn), Saudi Arabia ($0.25bn), UAE ($0.16bn).
The biggest global film within the confines of the calendar year was TOP GUN: MAVERICK ($1.49bn). The year’s end-of-year booster AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER brought is currently just shy of that total ($1.47bn) but will far surpass it by the end of its run.
Both titles took their share of market #1s. TOP GUN: MAVERICK was flying high at #1 for the year in the Domestic markets as well as markets including UK/Ireland, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Netherlands, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The AVATAR sequel dominated in Western Europe, ranking as the top film by end of year in Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Austria, as well as in South Africa and Panama. It has also now overtaken TOP GUN in Portugal, as well as surpassing in-year lead DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS in Colombia. The MCU title also ranks as the year’s #1 in Brazil, Ecuador, Singapore, and Malaysia. Latin America actually saw the greatest mix, with MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU #1 in Argentina and Chile, and Mexico crowning JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION as the year’s top title.
As well as Japan and Russia, local titles reigned in China (THE BATTLE OF LAKE CHANGJIN II), South Korea (THE ROUNDUP) and Turkey (BERGEN).
Gower Street recently announced its first projection for 2023 Global Box Office: $29 billion.