Even considering a less crowded release calendar for most of 2024, April was always one of the lighter ones. The global box office reached only $1.9 billion in April. That makes it the lowest grossing month since November 2023 (+0.3%).

Last April THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE delivered an astonishing $1.02 billion within the month on its own. Compared to that period, this year is over a third below (-34%), while against the three-year (2017-2019) pre-pandemic average the gap increases to -43%! This is the largest deficit seen in the past 19 months! After the encouraging March this serves as a reminder of the challenges this year holds. At least we should have hit rock bottom now for the months to come.

The low results in April are pulling down the year-to-date performance. At the end of the month the total global box office is estimated to have reached $9.8 billion for 2024. The running year is now -8% below the same period in 2023, dropping from being +2% above at the end of Q1. The gap to the three-year benchmark widened from -22% to -27% in the past month. Still, this is currently tracking +25% ahead of 2022 and more than double 2021 (+108%) at the same stage.

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 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 global box office in April was driven by holdover titles. No new global release was able to cross $100 million worldwide within the month.

GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE was the highest grossing global title in April. Released initially on the final weekend of March it added approximately $330 million for a cume of $524 million at the end of the month. As a result of the strong hold, it’ll now very likely get into punching distance of KONG: SKULL ISLAND ($569m) at the end of its run. This gives GODZILLA X KONG the chance to become the highest grossing entry in the MonsterVerse franchise. It has already surpassed GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS ($387m) and GODZILLA VS. KONG ($470m). At the beginning of May, it will also overtake GODZILLA ($528m) from 2014.

The only other global release that crossed the $100 million benchmark in April was KUNG FU PANDA 4. Being the global #2 title for the second month in a row it delivered another $159 million for a cume of $506 million at the end of April. KUNG FU PANDA 4 has now already surpassed ELEMENTAL ($497m) to become the highest grossing animated release since SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE ($691m) last June.

The highest grossing global new release in April was A24’s CIVIL WAR. The movie by writer and director Alex Garland generated $90 million within the month. At the end of its run, it will most likely get in the ballpark of ZERO DARK THIRTY ($134m), THE BIG SHORT ($133m) and THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR ($119m). That would make it the second highest grossing A24 release globally just behind Oscar-winner EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE ($143m). It will surpass the current #2, last year’s horror surprise TALK TO ME ($93m), at the beginning of May.

Multiple globally-released holdover titles followed the leading trio. Sony’s sequel GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE added approximately $80 million for a cume of $189 million at the end of the month. Warner’s blockbuster DUNE: PART TWO, which initially released in February, contributed another $79 million in April for a cume of $705 million to close the month.

The Domestic market suffered severely from the lack of tentpole releases and kept the breadth of successful movies relatively low. It was the third month in a row with no more than 6 titles grossing at least $20 million within the month. That is the longest period since the five months stretch from September 2022 to January 2023.

April generated just $435 million in Domestic, the second lowest month of the past twelve, just a bit ahead of February (+14%). That is less than half the pre-pandemic average (-53%) for April. It’s the widest gap to the three-year average in over two years, just marginally better than February 2022 (-54%)!

That widened the gap for the running year from -39% to -43% over April. Aside of Taiwan (-49%), that is the lowest number of the tracked top 15 markets. After four months the Domestic cume is $2.1 billion. That is -21% behind last year at the same time and +9% above the period in 2022.

Far away from having a fabulous April, the International market was a bit less impacted by the limited release calendar caused by the Hollywood strike, compared to Domestic. The gap to the three-year average was clearly smaller with -35%. However, it was still the biggest gap since April 2022 (-39%). That increased the distance to the pre-pandemic benchmark from -22% a month ago to -25% at the end of April.

As often seen in recent years local and international movies filled the gap in the release calendar and claimed spots among the top titles of the month. In Germany and Austria, the German comedy CHANTAL IM MAERCHENLAND, a spin-off from the tremendously successful FACK JU GOETHE franchise, reached #1. In Italy local comedy UN MONDO A PARTE took the top spot. Peru managed to have three local productions in the Top 5: VAGUITO at #2, VIVO O MUERTO at #3 and CHABUCA at #5. Spain and France each had two local comedies in their top 6. In France the newest entry in the DUCOBU franchise went up to #3 and NOUS, LES LEROY claimed #5. In Spain MENUDAS PIEZAS was at #2 and LA FAMILIA BENETON at #6. Local tragi-comedy DE TERUGREIS was #4 in the Netherlands. In the UAE, the post-Ramadan business was supported by four titles from India, gaining ranks three to six while Egyptian comedy LAHAZAT LAZEEZA was #7.

In the sub-region of Asia Pacific (excluding China), three territories stood out with commanding local releases. MALAYSIA saw the release of the action thriller SHERIFF: NARKO INTEGRITI taking in nearly half of the market’s monthly box office. It’s the new movie of director Syafiq Yusof, whose prior movie POLIS EVO 3 ($11.5m) from last year is the fourth highest grossing title of the decade in Malaysia.

South Korea had the fourth instalment of the hugely successful ROUNDUP franchise opening. It collected $35 million in April, over half of the market’s monthly box office (54%). It’s already the second massive local hit this year in the volatile market of South Korea. Following EXHUMA, which released in February and has achieved $86 million in its home market so far.

In Japan the 27th movie of the DETECTIVE CONAN franchise opened in April, called THE MILLION-DOLLAR PENTAGRAM. It reigned at the box office that month. Its current cume of $56 million makes it already the 5th highest entry in the long running franchise. It’s not unlikely it can get up to the top performing DETECTIVE CONAN, last year’s BLACK IRON SUBMARINE ($104m), at the end of its run. That outstanding performance helped Japan to stay +7% above the three-year average for the month and +4% after four months in 2024. It’s the only one of the top 15 territories we track, which is standing above pre-pandemic levels.

These local successes made Asia Pacific (excluding China) the strongest performing sub-region in April. This month is marginally up on the same period last year (+1%). The gap to the three-year average was -24%. The sub-region of Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) dropped far more to -31% to April last year, being -37% short of the pre-pandemic average for the month. Clearly Latin America had the weakest month of the three sub-regions, more in line with the Domestic market. Recording the widest gap against the three-year average with -51% and the biggest drop to the prior year, being -54% down.

China had a weak month as well, generating just $309 million, the second lowest result in the past twelve months. This is -22% down on April last year and -49% below the three-year average. The top two titles collected 61% of the month’s box office. The #1 film was Hayao Miyazaki’s global hit THE BOY AND THE HERON, grossing $107 million. That is currently the second highest grossing Japanese movie in China ever, just behind SUZUME ($118m) and ahead of THE FIRST SLAM DUNK ($95m), both released last year. GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE added $85 million in April for a cume of $133 million. It’s the sixth highest grossing Hollywood title in China of the running decade. It will nevertheless stay behind the prior movie in the franchise GODZILLA VS. KONG ($187m), ranking at #3 in that list.

April was, as expected, an especially challenging month in a challenging period. Business will go up from here in the upcoming months. May has many more wide, attractive global tentpoles on offer than the past month, opening on a weekly base. THE FALL GUY, KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, IF, FURIOSA and THE GARFIELD MOVIE will improve the state of the global box office. However, to gain significant ground on last year will be hard as May 2023 was a strong month in comparison. THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE ($1.36bln) had excellent holdover business and three heavyweight tentpoles opened with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, VOL. 3 ($846m), FAST X ($709m) and THE LITTLE MERMAID ($570m).