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Box office to surpass pre-pandemic levels with $44 billion in 2023

May 27, 2022
Global box office
Data: Omedia; Chart: Axios Visuals

The theatrical box office will continue its rebound out of the pandemic in 2022 and is expected to surpass its last pre-pandemic year in 2023, according to data from Omedia.

Why it matters: The future of movie theaters has been among the most existential debates in Hollywood since the pandemic began.

  • While many movies were rerouted to streaming platforms the past two years, there has been renewed optimism that the theatrical model will survive the streaming era.

Driving the news: Summer movie season kicks into high gear this weekend with the release of "Top Gun: Maverick," the long-awaited sequel to Tom Cruise's 1986 fighter pilot action flick.

By the numbers: The global box office is projected to reach $36 billion in 2022 — an increase of nearly 73% from 2021, when theaters were still reopening around the world.

  • In 2023, it's projected to improve by 23% to $44 billion, which would surpass the $41.7 billion made in 2019.

The big picture: The summer has already been good for theaters.

  • Marvel's "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" has already grossed more than $350 million domestically and more than $800 million globally since its May 6 release.
  • On the indie side, A24's "Everything Everywhere All at Once" has become the studio's highest-grossing film ever domestically with nearly $54 million in the U.S.

What's next: Other big movies planned for 2022 include the final "Jurassic World" movie in June, another "Minions" film, and "Thor: Love and Thunder" in July.

  • The year will end with the first of four sequels to James Cameron's "Avatar" in December.
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