July hit a new peak in global box office since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Global box office reached an estimated $3.37 billion in July 2022, according to Gower Street’s latest monthly Global Box Office Tracker (GBOT). This surpassed October 2021 ($3.06bn) to set a new pandemic-era high.

The result came in slightly below Gower Street estimates for the month ($3.52bn) but still demonstrated the abundant return of audiences as holidays kicked in in many parts of the world.

July 2022 figures were 61% higher globally than for the same month in 2021. Against the average of the last three pre-pandemic years (2017-2019), worldwide box office was only -17% behind the July average – the third best result of the pandemic-era behind last month (June 2022: -15%) and October 2021 (-7%).

Total global box office through July 31 stood at an estimated $16.8 billion. This is +63% ahead of the same stage in 2021 and -31% behind the pre-pandemic average.

On this month’s GBOT (above), the stacked bar graph on the left shows total box office levels split out by the three key global markets: Domestic, China and International (excluding China). The pie chart indicates the current deficit compared to the average of the past three pre-pandemic years (2017-2019) and where those losses are currently coming from. The bar graph on the bottom right displays the percentage drops globally.

The Domestic market achieved over $1 billion (est. $1.13bn) in a single-month for the first time since December 2019. It also witnessed business at its closest level to the pre-pandemic average at just -8% off the 2017-2019 average in July – another positive directional move following the -14% result recorded in June. By the close of the month the Domestic market stood at approximately $4.86 billion – having surpassed its full-year 2021 result ($4.49bn).

The International market (excluding China) also enjoyed its biggest single-month box office result of the pandemic so far, delivering an estimated $1.69 billion in July 2022 (surpassing December 2021’s $1.59bn). However, the comparison against the three-year average for July (-13%) was not as strong as that recorded in June (-3%) and closer to that of May (-15%). The result was +67% up on July 2021. International (excluding China) box office stood at an estimated $8.68 billion as of July 31, +126% ahead of the same point in 2021 and -29% behind the pre-pandemic three-year average.

Regionally, Latin America continued to shine with July box office ($299m) just -11% behind the pre-pandemic average for the month. This is the best box office result for the region since the pandemic began and the second best percentage comparison of the pandemic (after December 2021: +37%). Asia Pacific (excluding China) brought in approximately $638 million (-11% against the 3-year average) – a drop from June’s $671 million (+6% vs 3-year average). Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) brought in just shy of $750 million – the best single-month result of 2022 and third best of the pandemic, only just behind December 2021. However, the result was -16% behind the pre-pandemic average, a regression compared to the -6% result recorded in June.

Top global titles were MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU (approx. $705m during the month) and THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER ($662.5m), but there was also notable strength in a number of holdovers. TOP GUN: MAVERICK, which has been flying high since its May release and has now grossed over $1.32 billion worldwide, added approximately $275 million in July. June box office leader JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION added just over $160 million in July, and Baz Luhrmann’s ELVIS biopic kept on rocking adding over $155 million in July. Blumhouse horror THE BLACK PHONE also showed strong legs with approximately $88 million added in July. In total by close of July these titles sat on $942.5 million (JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION), $234.3 million (ELVIS), and $142 million (THE BLACK PHONE). MINIONS stood at just over $712 million by the end of the month, having opened in Australia on June 23, a week ahead of other markets.

Spain recorded its best performance compared to the pre-pandemic average with July -12% behind the average – an improvement from -22% in June. The market was aided by the success of local comedy sequel FATHER THERE IS ONLY ONE 3 (PADRE NO HAY MAS QUE UNO 3) which opened July 14 and held the local #1 spot for the remainder of the month, achieving $9.5 million by month close. This was enough to see it overtake TOP GUN: MAVERICK to enter the country’s pandemic-era top 10. It already ranks #2 among local titles released during the pandemic, behind its 2020 predecessor FATHER THERE IS ONLY ONE 2 ($15.2m).

Other markets enjoying an especially strong July included Germany (-3% vs three-year July average), New Zealand (-2%), South Korea (-1%), Austria (on par with pre-pandemic average), and Australia (+2% on three-year average) – although these were all below the same markets’ June percentage comparisons against the average (Germany -2%, Austria +9%, Australia +21%, New Zealand +15%, South Korea +4%).

Having struggled through Covid-resurgence and closed cinemas in March, April and May, China’s situation continues to improve. July brought the best box office ($550m) and best percentage comparison against the pre-pandemic average (-39%) since the Chinese New Year-boosted February. It also marked the first month in 2022 where box office results exceeded those of the equivalent month in 2021 (+10%). The month’s biggest audience draw was June holdover LIGHTING UP THE STARS ($170m in July of $244m total). The biggest July release came at month end with the July 29 release of sci-fi comedy MOON MAN ($147.2m). The film claimed the #1 spot on that weekend’s Global Box Office chart – the first time a Chinese title had done so since mid-February and the first time for a non-English language title since Indian hit RRR at the end of March. In between another $100 million title (including all release markets) came in the form of thriller DETECTIVE VS SLEUTHS.