Reprinted from The Hollywood Reporter by its staff on January 1, 2021.
It’s official: North American box office revenue plummeted 80 percent in 2020 amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and unprecedented theater closures, while global revenue tumbled more than 70 percent.
As predicted, domestic movie tickets sold between Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 came generated an estimated $2.3 billion (or $2.68 billion) compared to $11.4 billion in 2019, according to Comscore estimates. That’s the lowest showing in at least 40 years. The dramatic fall-off was expected, considering that many cinemas have been closed for more than nine months in the U.S.
Globally, 2020 movie ticket sales are expected to come in between $11.5 billion and $12 billion, compared to 2019’s $42.5 billion.
In a first, China supplanted North America as the world’s moviegoing market in 2020, generating an estimated $2.7 billion in ticket sales, per Comscore.
In another first, a Chinese movie — the World War II epic The Eight Hundred — topped the worldwide box office chart with nearly $440 million. A number of other Chinese films, including My People, My Homeland, populated the upper reaches of the chart, as did Japan’s hit Demon Slayer. In non-pandemic times, Hollywood blockbusters generally dominate. …