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Box Office Endures Worst September in 26 Years (Excluding 2020)

The concern was not in vain.

After a summer boom, domestic box office receipts for September 2022 slumped to a projected $328.7 million, the worst figure for the month in a quarter-century, according to Comscore. The last time it was this low, excluding 2020, during the heart of the COVID-19 crisis, was in September 1996 ($326.7 million).

September 2021 ticket sales even managed to clock in at $367 million, thanks to Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

The September 2022 recession was due to a shortage of high-profile event titles for all audiences. Like other industries, Hollywood studios are dealing with supply chain issues due to the pandemic, both in terms of production and post-production delays.

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There was a buildup of products to stack the platform during the March to July corridor. Going to the movies emerged in a much-needed vote of confidence in the theatrical experience. Top Gun: MaverickReleased over Memorial Day weekend, it led the revival by grossing a staggering $1.47 billion worldwide. jurassic world domain, Doctor Strange the multiverse of madness and also Minions: The Rise of Gru enjoyed a renaissance, resulting in July box office receipts crossing the $1 billion mark for the first time in a given month since COVID-19 hit.

“It’s the after-party drought,” says Paul Dergarbedian, chief box office analyst at Comscore. “The good news is that September 2022 marks more of an anomaly than a trend, with September 2023 boasting the equalizer 3, the nun 2 and, of course, the next blockbuster installment of dead pool.”

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For decades, September was a relatively quiet month at the box office. The studies assumed that consumers had other priorities after the summer, including going back to school or college. But as the overall calendar got busier, the landscape changed. A fundamental turning point was the launch of New Line It’s in September 2017, when overall revenue for the month hit a record $702.9 million, according to Comscore.

That was followed by $670.8 million in 2018 and $698.2 million in 2019. Revenue fell to $79.9 million in September 2020 as many theaters were still struggling to reopen. Before the COVID-19 crisis, September revenue had not fallen below roughly $500 million since 2005.

That’s not to say that September 2022 was devoid of notable titles. The difference is that they haven’t morphed into crossover hits. The Black Led Woman the king woman is the highest earner for the month to September 29 with an internal build of nearly $40 million, while do not worry honey it has earned $24.4 million in its first five days of release.

The marquee will be most crowded in mid-October. DC and Warner Bros open black adamstarring Dwayne Johnson, on October 21 in North America, alongside Universal’s romantic comedy ticket to paradise, starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts. A week before, Universal and Blumhouse open end halloween in theaters (opening simultaneously on Peacock).

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After enduring the worst of the pandemic, most theater operators are in accepting mode that the box office recovery is far from over. They’re counting on another big uptick over the holiday season, bringing releases like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (November 11) and Avatar: The Way of Water (December 16).

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However, mega-exhibitor Cineworld has had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US, where Regal Cinemas operates.


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