The age of social distancing and staying at home has been disastrous to the cinema industry, with movie ticket sales worldwide dropping to less than $13 billion in 2020, according to a new report.
The combined revenues in the box office industry for the whole of last year plummeted by 71.5 percent, roughly $31 billion, from $42.5 billion last year, research data analysed by finance website Finaria on Tuesday showed.
In the UAE and in many regional markets like Saudi Arabia, cinema screens have already re-opened since the easing of restrictions. Some theatres also introduced outdoor or drive-in movies to entice viewers.
However, sales in general remained dismal. Based on data from Comscore, box office industry revenues for last year, from Japan to North America, fell by 60 percent to 80 percent.
There’s no data available to show how much of a decline the cinemas in the region experienced last year, but among the markets monitored, North America suffered the biggest impact, with revenues falling by 80 percent, while markets in Europe, including the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and Ireland, saw declines of more than 70 percent.
In South Korea, China and Japan, revenues dropped by 71 percent, 70 percent and 61 percent, respectively. Australia and New Zealand posted declines of 65 percent and 62 percent, respectively, while Russia registered a decline of 60 percent, and both Germany and France posted a revenue fall of 69 percent.
The industry had a strong start to the year in 2020, prior to the global lockdown.
In January 2020 alone, sales of movie tickets picked up by 10 percent to $900 million, primarily due to mega releases like Star Wars and Jumanji. In the succeeding month, sales reached $651 million, up by 4 percent compared to a year earlier.
However, sales plummeted to just $2 million in April, as the lockdown took effect. “For the rest of the year, US box office sales have not reached $100 million, with September 2020 being the closest, at $92 million,” Finaria reported.
While cinemas suffered, online video providers scored big last year, with revenues surging to $34 billion.
(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)
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