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Forecast: Global box office at $29bn in 2023

December 16, 2022

Gower Street Analytics estimates global cinema box office will reach $29 billion (€27.3bn) in 2023.

The past year brought further recovery but also challenges for the global box office: A depressed Chinese box office (ending nearly $3 billion behind 2021); the Russian invasion of Ukraine and resultant US studio boycott of Russia; an exchange rates rollercoaster ultimately reducing the US$ figure coming from international markets by $1 billion+; and a release calendar with large gaps exacerbated by a host of titles moving out of 2022 (removing $1 billion+ from our Domestic estimate alone). Can we expect better things in 2023?

Gower Street’s first global box office prediction for 2023 suggests further improvement. The $29 billion projection would represent a 12 per cent gain over the current year if 2022 remains on course for an approximate $25.8 billion global box office (Gower Street measures it stood at $23.6 billion as of December 10th). The year-on-year gain will be smaller than that seen this year (est. +21 per cent is US$ terms), though this is to be expected as global box office continues its recovery.

This projection, calculated utilising data from Gower Street’s FORECAST service and analyst assessment, is based on the current release calendar. It should be noted that this is an early prediction and Gower Street would expect to see further changes to the release calendar result in some fluctuation.

If the projection holds it would suggest the industry will need to wait until at least 2024 to see a full return to pre-pandemic global box office levels. The 2023 forecast is still 27 per cent behind the average of the last three pre-pandemic years (2017-2019) at current exchange rates (this would rise to 30 per cent compared to historic rates).

The Domestic market is projected to deliver a 12 per cent increase in 2023 ($8.6 billion) over 2022 ($7.65 billion) but come in 25 per cent behind an average of the last three pre-pandemic years. The Asia Pacific (excluding China) and Latin America regions are both expected to gain 11-12 per cent on 2022 and come in approximately 20 per cent down on the pre-pandemic average. The Europe, Middle East and Africa region is expected to increase approximately 7 per cent on 2022 and finish 30 per cent behind the pre-pandemic average (the key impact here is Russia). With a lesser known advance release calendar and continued uncertainty around access for import titles and changing covid policy China remains the market that is hardest to predict. Gower Street is currently projecting $5.55 billion for China, a rise on 2022 but well short of its 2021 figure.

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