Thanksgiving box office shows theaters have long road to recovery

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Box office ticket sales over the Thanksgiving holiday show consumer confidence in watching movies is slowly improving, but the struggling theater industry will never, if ever, return to pre-pandemic levels. Not enough.

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why it matters: “We may have to lower our expectations a bit” for next year, said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore.

  • Although some analysts initially predicted That the domestic box office will reach $10 billion next year, Dergarabedian said “could be somewhat optimistic.”
  • Dergarabedian expects this year’s domestic box office total to be $4 billion, about $7 billion less than 2019.

Running news: Box office ticket sales for the five-day Thanksgiving holiday were down about 46% from 2019, comScore estimates.

  • Domestic ticket sales from Wednesday to Sunday totaled about $140 million, compared to $263 million in 2019 and $315 million in 2018.
  • Disney’s “Encanto” was the clear holiday weekend winner, grossing $40 million over a five-day weekend, followed by MGM’s “House of Gucci” with $21 million.
  • By comparison, Disney’s “Frozen 2,” the top Thanksgiving title in 2019, brought in $123.7 million over five days off.
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Be smart: Thanksgiving tends to be a modest movie-going period compared to other holidays, but this year it serves as an important indicator of how consumers are feeling about watching movies ahead of the holiday season.

  • The last week of the year between Christmas and New Year’s is the busiest time for the box office every year.
  • This year’s Thanksgiving yoga “gives us a really nice boost of pace during the holiday season,” Dergarabedian said.
  • Sony’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which hits theaters exclusively on December 17, “could be the first $100 million opener of the pandemic era in North America,” he said.

big picture: Analysts were expecting a full recovery at the box office in 2022, but fears of a new COVID-19 Omicron variant could derail the progress.

  • Theater stocks sank on Friday amid fears that another wave could hit studio productions and movies next year.
  • “There isn’t enough information about this yet… but the main question here is how this virus is working with vaccination,” said Cineworld CEO Mookie Greidinger. told CNBC Friday.
  • Dergarabedian noted that “Encanto” and other children’s movies such as “Clifford the Big Red Dog” are benefiting from vaccines that are eligible for children ages 5–11.
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what to watch: While studios are still trying to work out their release strategies, expect shorter theatrical windows and more simultaneous at-home releases as the streaming industry becomes more competitive.

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