Despite a soft start to 2022, the year ahead is shaping up to include dozens of blockbusters that will premiere exclusively in theatres. The theatrical releases of THE BATMAN, TOP GUN: MAVERICK, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 7, JURASSIC WORLD, and AVATAR 2 should fuel a strong recovery for exhibitors, with box office results projected to be $8.0B, nearly twice the $4.5B turned in by 2021.
While this would be a welcome improvement, it will still come in at significantly less than the $11.4B in 2019. This shortfall can be attributed to a weak Q1 calendar, COVID’s withering impact on mid-budget and art house films, and the strength of new viewing habits acquired during the pandemic of streaming films at home. There are also fewer theatrical releases scheduled, with roughly 100 new theatrical releases in 2022 compared with the pre-pandemic annual average of 140 releases.
On the other hand, studios are now seeing a missed opportunity in the box office for 2021, from underwhelming ticket sales for major titles that release day & date with streaming, such as BLACK WIDOW and DUNE. A return to the 45-day exclusive theatrical window should allow the exhibition to regain its role as an engine that produces much-needed revenue for the industry.