There was a lot of negative news coming through in the final stages of 2020, with mass cinema re-closures across much of the EMEA region, various US states and Canadian provinces, and parts of Latin America. The year concluded with just 56% of cinemas open by market share, having reached 79% by early October.

Despite this, the end of the year proved a positive one in some areas with multiple markets hitting new stages on Gower Street’s Blueprint To Recovery. Most of these last-minute successes came largely thanks to the opening of Warner Bros’ WONDER WOMAN 1984 and other end-of-year launches.

Singapore became only the 4th market to achieve the Stage 4 target on its Blueprint To Recovery, following China, Taiwan and Japan. The Stage 4 target is a weekly box office equivalent to a median box office week of the previous two years (2018-2019). This meant a target of S$3.34 million in Singapore, something the market finally achieved for the Dec. 24 play-week taking S$3.38 million (see Growth Trackers below). This came as a trio of new openers (Andy Lau actioner SHOCK WAVE 2, Pixar’s SOUL and MONSTER HUNTER) backed up the second week of WONDER WOMAN 1984 (-28%).

The same week finally took Australia and New Zealand to their Stage 3 goals – a weekly box office equivalent to the lowest grossing week of 2018-2019. Both were fuelled by #1-#2 openings for WONDER WOMAN 1984 and THE CROODS: A NEW AGE. In Australia the week was only just shy of also hitting Stage 4 (94% – see Growth Trackers below).

UAE hit Stage 3 the previous week as did Canada’s Northwest Territories, also both fueled by WONDER WOMAN 1984 openings.

The DC sequel opened in the US on Christmas Day, and the Christmas week saw three US states (South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming) achieve their own Stage 3 marks – the first US states to do so (see Utah Growth Trackers below). Meanwhile it proved a Mele Kalikimaka on Christmas Day in Hawaii as the state became the 45th state to finally achieve Stage 2 (a day’s box office equivalent to the lowest grossing day of the previous two years), despite having only 46% of cinemas open by market share.

China and Japan, the only markets to have achieved Stage 5 (a weekly box office equivalent to a top quartile week of the previous two years) in 2020, also finished out the year in style. Both markets saw the final play-week of 2020 deliver another Stage 5-level result. In China this was by multiple openers, headed by SHOCK WAVE 2 and including THE YIN-YANG MASTER: DREAM OF ETERNITY and Pixar’s SOUL. Unfortunately the glut of openers decimated WONDER WOMAN 1984 results, which fell 91% in wk 2 and finished the year with $24.5m locally (the original film grossed $88m in China).

In Japan business was still headed by DEMON SLAYER THE MOVIE: MUGEN TRAIN in week 11. The anime smash-hit overtook SPIRITED AWAY’s long-standing ¥31.7bn all-time box office record during the year’s final play-week. DEMON SLAYER had taken ¥34.0bn ($322.3m) by year’s end. The market finished 2020 with its 4th biggest play-week of the year as DEMON SLAYER received a 4DX and MX4D release on Dec. 26 boosting its week-on-week business by over 200%.

Gower Street’s Growth Trackers feature in our weekly Road To Recovery reports. You can subscribe here.