The worldwide box office for 2021 is projected to come in at $20.2B, 52% down on the record-breaking 2019 and 68% above the pandemic-hobbled 2020, says a new report from Gower Street Analytics. The London-based film tech company, which specializes in predictive box office for the distribution and exhibition sectors, calculated the end-of-year estimate following its assessment that global box office had matched 2020’s total results by the close of last month.
As of August 31, global receipts for 2021 stood at $12B, equaling all of 2020. The 2021 result to that date was 58% ahead of 2020 at the same stage, but 58% behind the average of the last three pre-pandemic years (2017-2019). Universal’s F9 is the current global leader among Hollywood titles with $714.4M to date. There are eight Hollywood movies in the Top 10 so far, up from five in 2020.
As of September 11, Gower Street estimates the international box office (excluding China) stands at $5.22B, with domestic at $2.31B and China at $5.13B. This past weekend, which was led by Disney/Marvel’s Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings in its second frame, marked the first time in 2021 that the overseas box office gross has exceeded that of China.
However, projections for the full year show that China is on track to again be the world’s biggest market with $6.6B, more than doubling its 2020 result. The market has nevertheless been soft of late and has been stingy with release dates for Hollywood movies.
Gower Street currently estimates that offshore totals (excluding China) will land at approximately $9.1B for the year. Regionally, the analysts say that will include $4.3B from Europe, Middle East and Africa; $3.85B from Asia Pacific (ex-China); and $900M from Latin America. The predicted total for the domestic market is $4.5B.
Using these figures, and including China, the full international box office would end up repping 78% of the global total, compared to 82% in 2020 and 73% in 2019.
As of September 11, 2021, just under 88% of global cinemas are operating. South East Asia (save Singapore) remains closed and there are still capacity restrictions and screening limits in many areas, along with health pass requirements.
Major titles still to release this year include Warner Bros/Legendary’s Dune; the latest James Bond, No Time To Die; Sony’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage; Disney/Marvel’s Eternals Sony/Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home; and Warner Bros’ The Matrix Resurrections. Gower Street notes that all projection figures are based on the current release calendar.