Theater owners optimistic about 2022 box office revenue ahead of CinemaCon

Still from “Doctor Strange in Madness’s Multiverse.”


Superhero movies have held up at the box office this year, prompting cinema executives to think that audiences might finally be ready to return to theaters soon after.

Domestic ticket sales in the first four months of the year are still down about 40% from their pre-pandemic levels in 2019, but cinemas are seeing a significant increase year-over-year.

Blockbuster titles like Warner Bros.‘ “Batman,” By Paramount “Sonic 2” and MarvelSonyAccording to data from Comscore, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” has led to a nearly 400 percent increase in ticket sales from 2021 to $1.7 billion.

Cinema owners told CNBC they expect ticket sales to continue to grow in the coming weeks, especially after the premiere of Marvel’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” opening the blockbuster season. summer.

The past two years have been through a period of lackluster summer movie screenings, as shuttered theaters and variations of the coronavirus forced many potential moviegoers to stay home.

Studios have been reluctant to release films, fearing that their new films will not be profitable, and many have chosen to postpone titles until 2022. Now, with more health and safety regulations in place. was repealed and consumers seemed more comfortable venturing back into theaters, studios were stuck on their release dates.

Theaters will see a steady stream of hotly anticipated movies after the release of “Doctor Strange” on May 6. “Top Gun: Maverick”, “Jurassic World: Dominion” “, “Lightyear”, “Minions: The Rise of Gru” and “Thor: Love and Thunder” will quickly hit the big screen over a nine-week period.

“It’s totally fitting that a Marvel movie will kick off the summer 2022 movie season and with it kick off what seems to be the first ‘normal’ May through the Labor Day corridor that we’ve been seeing for almost three years” Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.

Dergarabedian notes that the industry’s summer, which lasts 18 weeks, traditionally accounts for about 40% of domestic box office sales.

CinemaCon, a conference for Hollywood studios and movie theater owners in Las Vegas, kicks off Monday, and exhibitors are expressing cautious optimism about the summer movie season and the rest of the months. in year.

The success of “The Batman” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” suggesting that mature audiences will return to franchise features, helped stir that optimism. And sales for “Sonic 2,” which has grossed more than $126 million domestically since its April 8 release, gave theaters hope that the “Lightyear” Toy Story sequel and the film’s sequel to the original “Lightyear.” follow in the series Minions will be able to attract in the family.

What’s more, those returning to cinemas in the past year have also boosted the franchise business, according to a new report published Thursday by movie ticketing site Fandango. A survey of 6,000 moviegoers who purchased tickets on Fandango determined that 93% had purchased discounted tickets in theaters in the past year, up from 84% the year before.

Additionally, 67% of those surveyed said they spent $20 or more on popcorn, candy, soda, and other offers. That spending report bodes well for theater owners, who don’t split franchise revenue with studios the way they do with movie ticket sales.

Next week at CinemaCon, exhibitors will discuss how to bring back slow-moving audiences and how to improve the movie-going experience.

Theater owners have been creative during the pandemic, offering unique food and drink options, adding more mobile options for advanced ordering and payment, and diversifying available content. available on the big screen.

The current consensus among box office analysts and movie theater owners is that 2022 won’t be able to beat the $11.4 billion generated in 2019, but thinks they can almost double that. $4.4 billion in revenue last year. Most have an estimated $8 billion in ticket sales, with movie franchises acting as catalysts.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal owns Fandango.

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