The October marquee provided a bountiful harvest for the global box office recovery, led by China’s The Battle at Lake Changjin and Hollywood tentpoles No Time to Die and Venom: Let There Be Carnage.
The month’s stellar performance has prompted leading analytics firm Gower Street to up its forecast for 2021 worldwide box office revenue from $20.2 billion to $21.6 billion. That would be 80 percent ahead of 2020 — when numerous theaters across the globe closed up shop because of COVID-19 — but still 49 percent behind 2019.
“The $1.4 billion gain to the global prediction since our previous estimate, which was based on 8 months of actuals and estimates for the final four months of the year, is primarily due to the blockbuster boost brought about by October,” Gower Street, based in London, said in its report.
October should come in at $3.2 billion, 30 percent ahead of Gower’s original estimate of $2.5 billion. That would put the month just 4 percent behind a three-year average of 2017-2019.
Box office revenue in China — now the world’s largest moviegoing market — will hit $7.3 billion in 2021, says Gower. While that still won’t exceed pre-pandemic levels, including a record $9.2 billion earned in 2019, it is a huge gain over last year’s $3 billion.
The box office in North America is projected to come in at $4.7 billion, compared to $2.2 billion in 2020 (the record is 2018’s $11.8 billion, while revenue was $11.4 billion in 2019).
Gower Street’s report noted that the Asia Pacific region gained in regards to global market share, rising from just over 50 percent in 2020 to a projected 22.2 percent in 2021. The growth was powered by China as other key markets in the region — including Japan, South Korea and Australia — saw reduced market share.
China is expected to represent nearly 34 percent of the global box office in 2021, compared to 28 percent in 2020, even as Hollywood movies do less and less business in the Middle Kingdom.
North America follows at 22 percent in terms of global market share.
The Battle at Changjin tops the 2021 worldwide box office chart with more than $828 million in ticket sales to date. China’s blockbuster Hi, Mom, which was released in February, follows at No. 2 with $822 million-plus. Universal claims the No. 3 spot with F9: The Fast Saga with $721.1 million. China’s Detective Chinatown 3 is No. 4 ($686.3 million).
MGM and Eon’s No Time to Die, which has grossed north of $525 million to date worldwide, rounds out the top five.