Global cinema box office revenue weighed in at $26 billion in 2022, a healthy 27% improvement compared with 2021, but still a long way short of pre-pandemic levels.
In its final estimate of the full year to Dec. 31, 2022, research firm Gower Street Analytics calculated that global gross box office takings reached $25.9 billion. That compared with $21.4 billion in 2021.
The 2022 number is 35% below the 2017-19 average in the three years before COVID-19 upended the global film industry. Gower Street estimates that the 2022 number represents an annual loss of $14 billion in gross revenue.
Having been the highest grossing territory in both 2020 and 2021, China relinquished the box office crown to the North American (aka ‘domestic’) market in 2022.
According to Comscore Movies, the North American market achieved an estimated $7.5 billion in 2022. That was 65% up against 2021, but 35% behind the 2017-2019 average.
China is calculated to have finished at approximately $4.33 billion, or some 36% behind 2021. The 2022 China figure was fully 49% down on the country’s pre-pandemic three-year average. Other analysts have reported that 2022 was the lowest annual total in China for 11 years.
The international market (excluding China and North America) is estimated to have finished around $14.1 billion in 2022, representing a 55% gain compared with 2021 and a 29% deficit against the 2017-2019 average. All three key regions performed better compared to the three-year average than the North American or Chinese markets.
Europe, Middle East and Africa delivered $7.1 billion, 31% below the pre-pandemic average and a gain of 52% over 2021.
Asia Pacific (excluding China) is calculated to have delivered $5.2 billion in 2022, 26% behind the 2017-2019 average and 49% up on 2021. Japan was the star market of 2022, coming in just 9.4% behind its pre-pandemic average, with an estimated $1.5 billion.
Latin America delivered nearly $1.8 billion, some 30% below the three-year average, while showing the biggest gain over 2021, at 87%.
Russia was the weakest market tracked by the firm, in terms of comparison to pre-pandemic business levels. Russia saw revenues fall 43% compared with 2021 to a figure that was 57% below pre-pandemic levels.
Excluding India (where Gower Street and Comscore do not have complete tracking) the top 15 international markets of 2022 are estimated to be: China ($4.3 billion), Japan ($1.5 billion), U.K. and Ireland ($1.2 billion), France ($1.1 billion), South Korea ($0.9 billion), Germany ($0.8 billion), Australia ($0.64 billion), Mexico ($0.63 billion), Spain ($0.4 billion), Brazil ($0.35 billion), Italy ($0.33 billion), Russia ($0.31 billion), Netherlands ($0.27 billion), Saudi Arabia ($0.25 billion) and the United Arab Emirates ($0.16 billion).
Percentage comparisons for 2022 against 2021 and pre-pandemic years were calculated using like-for-like local currency numbers, converted at current exchange rates for greater accuracy.