Just when we thought things were getting back to normal COVID-19 came out with a remix tape titled Omicron, and things got rough again. The movie theater industry has been one of the hardest hit businesses throughout the pandemic. The numbers from this end of the year surge certainly show some signs of recovery. Still, the amount of money generated by these movies is nowhere near what came in back in 2019. With big movies like Spider-Man No Way Home, and The Matrix Resurrections the industry was hoping to bounce back in a big way. Preliminary box office numbers are in and there are essentially two ways to look at them. Is the glass half empty or half full?
The Good News In Box Office Numbers
If you’re one of those people that want to look at the glass as being half full there’s certainly great news to report. As box office revenue is set to grow around 91% compared to the numbers put forth in 2020. In the first year of the pandemic national movie theaters in total reportedly were only able to make around 2 billion dollars. That year had virtually 3 months of “normalcy” from there we got 9 months of full lockdown almost. Those 2 billion dollars in revenue marked a 40-year low for the movie industry. If you take that into account, and you see that this year the industry is reporting it made around 4 billion dollars in revenue it seems like it’s on its way to recovery. If you look closer though, that may not be the case. Are movie theaters an endangered species at this point?
The Bad News For Box Office Numbers
The pandemic and the months of lockdown specifically are obviously to blame for the poor numbers that 2020 brought. In 2021 though, COVID protocols essentially have been relaxed for a while. In sporting events for example, we’ve seen full stadiums for many months now. Still, people seemingly haven’t felt as comfortable going back to movie theaters. In 2020, it wasn’t just the lockdown that was a problem. Also, movie studios literally refused to release massive blockbusters. Delaying the release of their big time movies until this year. Spider-Man No Way Home and The Matrix hoped to bump the yearly box office numbers considerably. However, this end of the year COVID surge may be to blame for numbers not being as high as expected.
2021 Box Office Numbers Fall Way Short To What We Saw In 2019
If we were to compare 2021 box office numbers to the last “normal” year for movie theaters 2019, we’d see that the industry is nowhere near full swing. With 2021 numbers representing a 71% decrease in revenue when compared to 2019. Again, the late year surge in COVID cases could certainly be to blame for what seem to be lackluster numbers. However, that may not be the whole story. 2019 saw massive movie releases like Avengers End Game, and Toy Story 4. Hoping that a few Spider-Men could carry the same weight as the entire Avengers franchise may have been naive. Is the movie industry ready to close up shop and just leave everything to streaming services?