Natalie Portman stars as Mighty Thor, aka Dr. Jane Foster, alongside Chris Hemsworth, who plays Thor Odinson, in Marvel’s “Thor: Love and Thunder.”
The summer box office started off strong, but as the season moves into the fall, ticket sales have slowed.
Supreme and “Top Gun: Maverick” by Skydance, together Disney and Marvel Studio’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” reignited the movie theater business, bringing millions to theaters and racking up hundreds of millions in ticket sales. The two films kicked off the summer movie season, which runs from May through August, and are the two highest-grossing films released domestically this year.
However, with only a handful of major releases during the summer season, ticket sales declined in late July and fell throughout August. In fact, the box office generated less than $100 million in each of the last five weeks of the summer term, according to data from Comscore.
“It definitely ended on a whimper,” said Shawn Robbins, chief media analyst for BoxOffice.com.
Major franchises including universal Disney’s “Jurassic World: Dominion,” “Minions: The Rise of Gru” and “Thor: Love and Thunder” lifted the box office, but without smaller, mid-budget movies to fill the gaps, the summer box office couldn’t capitalize. in his impulse.
While audiences have returned to theaters and are spending more on premium tickets and popcorn, pandemic-related issues remain. Those issues include production shutdowns that delayed filming and pressure on visual effects houses to complete projects in shorter time frames.
This means that the movie schedule, while it fills up again, is far from running flat out. Over the summer, only 22 movies were released in theaters, down 47.6% from 2019, Comscore data shows. And this is a trend that has been seen throughout the year. From January to the end of August 2019, Hollywood released 75 movies in theaters. In 2022, so far, only 46 have been released.
There will be more consistency from month to month next year, Robbins said.
Despite nearly 50% fewer movie releases during this four-month period, the domestic box office still posted $3.34 billion in ticket sales, down just 21% from 2019 levels.
Tom Cruise in ‘Top Gun: Maverick’
“The results are impressive,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “Summer movies such as ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’ ‘Doctor Strange 2,’ ‘Jurassic World: Dominion,’ and others topped their weight in May, June, and July, boosting not only sales, but also confidence in the industry.” after moving in fits and starts over the course of 2020 and 2021.”
“However, a slowdown in the slump has given the industry a bit of a post-summer hangover with concerns that only a handful of apparent blockbusters are waiting in the wings to drive third-quarter box office fortunes,” he said. .
As it stands, there are currently only four possible blockbuster releases in theaters before the end of December, including Warner Bros.’ “Black Adam” in October, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and Disney’s “Strange World” in November, and Disney’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” in December.
For comparison, in 2019, there were nearly two dozen blockbuster movies scheduled to hit the calendar for the last four months of the year, including “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” “Jumanji: The Next Level,” and “Frozen.” I”. .”
The domestic box office has generated about $5.3 billion since January, down 31% from 2019, but remains on track to generate about $7.5 billion in total ticket sales by the end of the year, Dergarabedian said.
“Frankly, that’s a great result for an industry that saw 2020 levels at just $2.3 billion and a 2021 ending at $4.6 billion,” he said.
Next year looks stronger. The schedule already has significantly more titles, as well as a more diverse collection of genres and budgets, including Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” “Dungeons & Dragons” and “John Wick 4.”
“2023 kicks things off on a much better footing,” Robbins said.
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.