- The 2020 US box office is at $1.816 billion this year, and way down compared to this time last year, when it was at $3.37 billion, according to Comscore.
- The box office ground to a halt in mid-March when most theaters in the US closed to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
- China’s theatrical industry, which is the second biggest in the world, has also been hit hard and lost nearly $2 billion in the first two months of the year compared to the same time period last year.
- The coronavirus has dramatically shifted the theatrical release calendar for this year and next.
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The US box office has taken a huge blow from the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Comscore, the box office is down by more than $1.5 billion compared to this time last year, when “Avengers: Endgame” had hit theaters with the biggest domestic opening weekend of all time.
The domestic box office was at $3.37 billion by this time in 2019, compared to $1.816 billion this year for a 46.2% decrease, according to Comscore. The 2020 box office will always have an asterisk next to it, though, as most theaters closed in mid-March to help slow the spread of the coronavirus (Comscore’s box-office tracking stopped at March 19).
The top-grossing movie in the US this year, before the shutdowns, was “Bad Boys for Life” with $204 million, according to Comscore. The highest-grossing movie at this time last year was “Captain Marvel,” which opened in March 2019, with $413 million. “Avengers: Endgame” grossed $357 million over its debut and went on to earn $858 million domestically and $2.8 billion worldwide to become the highest-grossing movie of all time.
China’s theatrical industry, the second biggest in the world behind the US, has also been hit hard by the coronavirus. The Chinese box office was down by nearly $2 billion in the first two months of the year compared to the same time period last year. Theaters in China have been closed since late January including the Chinese New Year, which is typically the region’s busiest moviegoing time.
Without new entries in blockbuster franchises like “Avengers” or “Star Wars,” the 2020 box office was always going to struggle to compete with 2019 and 2018, which set box-office records. But the coronavirus has introduced unforeseen problems.
With theaters closed across the US and in other parts of the world, movie studios have delayed major releases. Disney, for instance, shifted its entire slate of Marvel Cinematic Universe entries. Many movies aren’t hitting theaters until 2021, which already had the potential to break box-office records with a slew of new Marvel and DC movies as well as blockbuster sequels like “Jurassic World: Dominion” and “Avatar 2.”
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There are plenty of unknown factors that could further shift the theatrical release calendar for this year and 2021, such as when theaters will reopen and when productions that have shut down will be able to start back up.
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