Global Box Office Reaches $33.9B In 2023, Up 31% On 2022 – Analysts

Global box office is estimated to have reached $33.9B for 2023, a 30.5% gain on 2022, according to Gower Street Analytics. While this represents continuing worldwide recovery, the figure remains 15% behind the average of the last three pre-pandemic years (2017-2019). Gower Street also recently estimated that, due in part to this year’s strike-impacted release calendar, 2024 is projected to drop to $31.5 billion, which, given today’s revised estimate for last year, would come in at 7% below 2023. 

North America remained the top global market in 2023 with an estimated $9.07B, up 21% year-on-year, but still 21% behind the 2017-2019 average. It accounted for 26.8% of the worldwide result, down from 28.9% in 2022. 

Excluding China, the international box office is estimated at $17.1B in 2023, a similar 20% gain on 2022 but tracking slightly better against the 2017-2019 average (-15%), per Gower Street. 

China, according to figures from the local Film Administration, did RMB 54.91B (about $7.7B). This reps an 83% increase over 2022 and is just 6% behind the 2017-2019 average. Notably, box office in China was dominated by local titles in 2023. Despite a steady flow of Hollywood product, the market has turned increasingly inwards with only a handful of studio movies doing significant business including Fast X

, Meg 2: The Trench (a China co-production), Transformers:  Rise of the Beasts, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 and Oppenheimer

Overseas, the three key regions all made year-on-year gains. Per Gower’s report, EMEA delivered just shy of $9B, a 25% gain on 2022, but 15% behind the 2017-2019 average. The EMEA region accounted for 26.5% of global box office, a slight dip from 27.7% in 2022. Asia Pacific (excluding China) is estimated to have made a more modest gain of 9% to $5.5B. With China included, the region accounted for 38.9% of global sales, up from 35.6% in 2022, but this was boosted by China’s surge from 16.3% in 2022 to 22.8% in 2023. Without China, says Gower Street, the region appears to have fallen from 19.3% to 16.1% of worldwide sales. This is in part due to more modest increases versus 2022 in some key markets, such as Japan, which had seen stronger recovery in the previous year. Latin America is estimated to have delivered $2.66B, a 32% gain on 2022 and just 8% below the 2017-2019 average. 

Excluding India (for which Gower Street/comScore do not have complete tracking) the top 10 offshore markets are estimated to be: China ($7.71B), Japan ($1.48B), UK/Ireland ($1.36B), France ($1.35B), Germany ($1.01B), Korea ($970M), Mexico ($940M), Australia ($670M), Italy ($550M) and Spain ($540M).

Although there were points in the year when a number of major overseas markets, including China, Japan and Germany, were tracking ahead of their pre-pandemic three-year averages, the only top 15 market to finish 2023 ahead of its 2017-2019 average was the Netherlands (+3%), Gower Street reports. 

There were however strong signs that global audiences had returned to pre-pandemic levels in the summer, with both July (+17%) and August (+1%) posting business tracking ahead of the 2017- 2019 averages for those months. 

July, which saw the phenomenon of Barbie and Oppenheimer (the Nos. 1 and 3 movies worldwide in 2023 – April release The Super Mario Bros. Movie is No. 2), was also the first post-pandemic month to witness the domestic and international (excluding China) markets all outperform their 2017-2019 average simultaneously (+10% and +53%, respectively). This showed that, where a competitive release calendar and attractive content were on offer, the audiences were there. China was also up in July, by 7%.

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