As movie theaters and studios continue to attempt to recover from COVID-19, the 2024 projections appear to be going in the wrong direction.
According to a new article from The Hollywood Reporter, the projections for 2024 box office returns have been coming in, and they are not what anyone had hoped. Prior to the pandemic, the box office was taking in around $11B annually. 2023 was expected to cross $9B, with 2024 being even higher, but neither of those projects appears to be correct now.
Currently, 2024 is looking to shape up to be somewhere between $7.5B to $8B. The numbers had been as high as $8.9B recently, but as more movies are pushed back from 2024 to 2025, the number keeps dropping. Currently, the number of major releases – defined as a film that debuts on 2,000 or more screens – sits at 82 titles for 2024. While that sounds like a lot, 2023 saw 97 to 99 such releases, and there were 120 in 2019.
The shift in the number of films is fallout from the protracted labor negotiations between the studios and the WGA and SAG-AFTRA earlier this year. That is not, however, the only reason the projections are turning more pessimistic.
“The reality is that the box office isn’t the same as it was before. There have been two seismic shocks in the past few years — first the pandemic and now the strikes. At the same time, streaming exploded,” Rich Greenfield of LightShed Ventures told The Hollywood Reporter. He went on to add, “Consumer interest in moviegoing has been permanently altered and audiences are much more selective.”
In particular, the first quarter of 2024 is looking to be particularly short of new films, and coming off of an unimpressive fourth quarter of 2023, we could see the movie theaters in further turmoil. The chains are just beginning to recover from the fallout of the pandemic and learning to deal with a new normal. If the studios don’t find someway to bolster their releases for 2024, it could very well be a final blow for some movie houses.
IMAGE SOURCE: Shutterstock – Movie Theater – Empty – Fusionstudio