Global box office continued to recover in 2022, hitting $25.9 billion, a 27% gain on 2021 according to analysts Gower Street.
However, the global box office still has a significant way to go to return to pre-pandemic levels. 2022’s figure was 35% behind the average of the last three pre-pandemic years (2017-2019) – a loss of approximately $14 billion at current exchange rates.
The key US market delivered an estimated $7.5 billion in 2022, a 65% gain on 2021 – but 35% behind the 2017-2019 average.
China, which has been hit by Covid lockdowns, fell back into second place in 2022, with a box office of $4.33 billion, putting it 36% behind 2021. It marks a sharp reversal in fortunes for China, which was the world’s biggest box office market in 2020 and 2021.
Japan was the star market of 2022 coming in just -9.4% behind its pre-pandemic average with an estimated $1.5 billion. The top grossing film was anime smash One Piece Film: Red with $140 million.
In contrast the weakest market tracked, was Russia, which delivered an estimated $310 million in 2022, a drop of -43% on 2021 and a massive -57% behind pre-pandemic business. This was a direct result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February and the subsequent boycott of Russia by the US studios.
Excluding India (for which Gower Street/Comscore do not have complete tracking) the top 15 international markets are estimated to be: China ($4.3bn), Japan ($1.5bn), UK/Ireland ($1.2bn), France ($1.1bn), South Korea ($0.9bn), Germany ($8bn), Australia ($0.64bn), Mexico ($0.63bn), Spain ($0.4bn), Brazil ($0.35bn), Italy ($0.33bn), Russia ($0.31bn), Netherlands ($0.27bn), Saudi Arabia ($0.25bn), UAE ($0.16bn).
The biggest global film in 2022 was Top Gun: Maverick, which took $1.49 billion. Avatar: The Way Of Water brought is currently just shy of that total ($1.47bn) but will surpass it by the end of its run.