Bruce Nash, one of the most highly regarded analysts in the movie business, updated his outlook for the 2023 box office, which now projects that the domestic market will rise to $10B this year. A ten-spot has been seen as a significant milestone on the road to recovery, indicating renewed health for exhibitors and moviegoing. However, most analysts had considered it to be out of reach for the current year.
The first 2023 projection from The Numbers pegged the 2023 domestic market at $9B – $9.5B. However, since that time, two significant factors have led to the upwards revision.
First is the surprising overperformance of Universal’s THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE, which Nash had originally expected to gross $350M domestically, but now sees as coming in at $600M+. Results from this film alone have added $250M to the annual total.
The second is a new commitment from key streamers to bring their highest-profile features to theatres. Both Apple and Amazon have announced commitments to spending $1B annually to produce movies that will be premiered as wide theatrical releases, which was not anticipated when the first annual box office projections were made.
Titles such as Amazon’s AIR starring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon and Apple’s NAPOLEON by Ridley Scott and KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON by Martin Scorsese have bulked up the theatrical slate. Whereas 107 wide releases were expected as of the beginning of the year, that number has now increased to 125 titles.
As a result of these factors, Nash expects the annual box office to increase by $770M, which will bring the total to his revised $10B estimate. While there may still be surprises, in either direction, the trends that have emerged over the first four months of the year are all positive.