Hollywood is expected to see more people in theaters, more film releases in 2023—and more profits from them.
- A Thursday report from The Cinema Foundation, called The State Of the Cinema Industry, shows that an expected 50% increase in widely released films will benefit the film industry with higher box-office revenues.
- The market shrank tremendously during the COVID pandemic, but box-office revenues increased from $2.3 billion in 2020 to $7.5 billion in 2022.
- The market is currently still smaller than in 2019, with 112 major films released that year and 71 movies released last year. A 50% increase would see the total number of films reach pre-pandemic levels.
Why it’s important
The outset of COVID-19 proved devastating for the film industry, which didn’t start successfully releasing tentpole blockbusters again until mid-2021, following the proliferation of vaccines. Even then, the majority of box-office returns were significantly lower, and fewer films were released. In fact, 5.25% of movie screens in the U.S. never reopened after the pandemic.
Last year’s mega-success of blockbusters like Top Gun: Maverick ($1.5 billion) and Avatar: The Way Of Water ($2.3 billion) helped to significantly turn the box office around with record-breaking multi-billion dollar returns.
However, a handful of the largest successes in history are less financially stable and dependable than a large number of modest successes. As audiences return to theaters more regularly, smaller and less expensive-to-produce films like horror movies and independent films will popularize and receive wider releases, helping to strengthen the overall market.
The Cinema Foundation is a non-profit trade organization that researches and gathers data to help the film industry grow and meet market trends.
“Data and research are the essential tools we use to drive forward cinema innovations. What we found from our multiple research partners is that the future of the moviegoing experience looks bright and that a number of new opportunities exist for both exhibitors and studios,” says Cinema Foundation President Jackie Brenneman.
“Box office, on a film-by-film basis, has rebounded to 2019 levels, limited only by the number of wide releases in the marketplace. The number of wide releases in 2023 is more than 40% higher than 2022 and approaching the number of wide releases in 2019,” says the report.