Taking an early look at 2022, Gower Street Analytics is projecting global box office to reach $33.2B next year. That would rep a 58% increase on 2021 if the current year stays on track for the London-based firm’s projected approximate $21B (this is a slightly revised number from its October prediction for the year, in part owing to some Hollywood films not securing China dates through December). Gower Street estimates 2021 worldwide box office stood at $19.2B as of December 11, repping a roughly 75% increase on 2020.
Gower suggests the industry will need to wait at least until 2023 to see a full return to pre-pandemic global box office levels of over $40B.
The domestic, Chinese and international markets are all poised for improvement in 2022. However, says Gower Street, the most notable gain is expected to be in North America. Currently projected to hit $9.2B in 2022, up from an estimated $4.4B in 2021, that would see it move back up to its pre-pandemic position as the No. 1 global box office market, having been overtaken by China in both 2020 and 2021 — presuming the PRC comes in at the firm’s $8.2B 2022 forecast. This year, that market has already passed RMB 45B ($7.1B), up 128% in dollar terms from 2020, but still not as high as 2019. China remains difficult to predict given advance release information is not widespread and that the market has held back on releasing major Hollywood titles of late.
Still to come in the remaining weeks of 2021, Sony/Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home begins offshore rollout today in such markets as Korea, the UK, France, Russia, Mexico and Italy. Domestic previews begin Thursday and the bulk of international joins through Friday with a projected minimum global opening weekend of $290M. Warner Bros/Village Roadshow’s The Matrix Resurrections and Universal/Illumination’s Sing 2 follow wide next week.
Major studio titles on deck for 2022 include Warner Bros/DC’s The Batman and Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom, WB’s Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore, Disney/Marvel’s Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, Thor: Love And Thunder and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick and Mission: Impossible 7, Universal’s Jurassic World: Dominion, Uni/Illumination’s Minions: The Rise Of Gru and Disney/20th Century Studios’ Avatar 2.
To be sure, further changes to the release calendar, including additional title announcements, could impact this early prediction — although the hope is of course that Covid shutdowns will not return.