Gower Street Analytics has come up with an early estimate for 2024 global box office, projecting a roughly 5% downturn versus 2023 to $31.5B (Gower currently is pegging 2023 at $33.4B). This marks the first post-pandemic decrease in the London-based firm’s annual forecast. Should the figure hold, it would put the year -20% against the average of the last three pre-pandemic years (2017-2019). 

The shift is largely owing to work stoppages amid the Hollywood writers’ and actors’ strikes which pushed some product out of next year, rather than theatrical ill health. Said Gower Street CEO Dimitrios Mitsinikos, “Given that we lost 50% of production time in 2023, the anticipated 5% year-on-year decrease in 2023 is not indicative of a declining interest in cinema, but simply a direct consequence of limited product availability. In fact, as July 2023 marked a record-breaking month at the global box office, we know that there is a robust audience demand for compelling theatrical releases.” 

Added Rob Mitchell, Director of Theatrical Insights at Gower Street, “The impact of the recent writers’ and actors’ strikes on the release calendar, in terms of global-appeal Hollywood product, has been significant. That is the key driver of this slight regression in recovery momentum we’re seeing in 2024 that looks to postpone any chance of returning to pre-pandemic levels until 2025.” 

Speaking of 2025, Mitsinikos noted, “Based on productions currently on our radar, we expect 2025 to be a very good year at the global box office and hopefully a positive trend-setter for the second half of this decade.”

The early part of 2024 is fairly barren at this point, with Dune: Part Two the first major release hitting in early March. Other key titles ahead next year include Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, Inside Out 2, A Quiet Place: Day One, Despicable Me 4, Deadpool 3, Beetlejuice 2, Smile 2, Gladiator 2, Wicked, Mufasa: The Lion King and Sonic the Hedgehog 3, among others. 

For 2024 the North American market is anticipated to finish 11% down on 2023 at approximately $8B. This is -30% compared to the 2017-2019 average and only a slim 7% ahead of 2022, Gower estimates. 

International box office, excluding China, is eyed at 7% off of 2023 at approximately $15.6B and aided by local productions. This is -21% against the 2017-2019 average but 12% ahead of 2022. 

Regionally, EMEA is estimated at $8B (-23% vs 2017-2019, -9% vs 2023, +13% vs 2022). Asia Pacific (excluding China) is seen at $5.2B (-22% vs 2017-2019, -2% vs 2023, +6% vs 2022). And Latin America, the firm is seeing at $2.4B (-15% vs 2017-2019, -8% vs 2023, +22% vs 2022).

China has become increasingly less reliant on Hollywood product, and for 2024 is showing a modest year-on-year gain, to $7.9B (+5% vs the 2023 estimate), Gower says. However, it’s tough to predict China given there is limited visibility on the release calendar at this stage.

“The international market is a bit less impacted by the limited release calendar caused by the Hollywood strike, compared to domestic,” said Gower Street’s chief analyst Thomas Beranek who led the work on the 2024 projection. “Local and international titles have more space to shine in each market when the supply of attractive U.S.-product is shortened. This has been proven frequently since the pandemic disrupted both production and release cycles in 2020.” 

Of course, these are very early predictions and Gower says it would expect to see further changes to the release calendar result in some fluctuation. There are also a significant number of “untitled” studio releases currently dated. As more becomes known about these titles, they are likely to impact projections. 

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Source: DLine

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