Global Movie Box Office Plunged 72% Last Year

Global box office receipts in 2020 totaled $12.0 billion, a decline of 72% from the $42.3 billion in receipts during 2019. In North America, box office totals for 2020 amounted to $2.2 billion, a year-over-year decline of 80%.

The global home/mobile entertainment market, however, grew by 23% last year to reach sales of $68.8 billion. Subscriptions to streaming video services rose to 1.1 billion in 2020, a 26% increase, and global revenues for online video rose by 34% year over year to $14.3 billion in 2020.

The data was reported Thursday by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) in its 2020 THEME Report and emphasizes the damage to the movie industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The following chart from the report shows the global pattern of theater closures between February 10 and December 28 of last year.

Continuing a long-time pattern, all the growth in the home/mobile entertainment market came from the digital side, which grew by 31% to account for $61.8 billion (76%) of total theatrical/home/mobile entertainment revenue. The market for physical DVDs dropped nearly 23% to $7 billion and accounted for just 9% of total revenue. Including the $12 billion in theatrical box office, total revenues last year reached $80.8 billion in the global theatrical/home/mobile entertainment market.

As Charles Rivkin, CEO of the MPA put it, “[D]uring an otherwise punishing year for theatrical exhibition and our industry at large, home and curated entertainment boomed.”

In 2020, 80% of the U.S. population reported watching at least once a month. Nearly the same percentage watched pay TV (22%) and streaming (21%) movies every day, and 26% of streaming subscribers watch movies several times a week compared to 21% of pay-TV subscribers. Streaming subscribers also outpaced pay-TV subscribers of shows and series by 48% to 46% who watched every day or several times a week.

Here are a few other highlights from the theatrical side of the report:

  • Some 338 films were released in 2020, down by nearly two-thirds from 987 released in 2019.
  • The top-grossing film in North America was “Bad Boys for Life,” which grossed $206.3 million, less than a quarter of 2019’s top grosser, “Avengers: Endgame,” with nearly $860 million.
  • In 2020, 447 films began production, compared to 814 in 2019, a drop of 45%.
  • China topped global box office receipts with $3.0 billion in ticket sales (including online ticketing fees), while North American ticket sales totaled $2.2 billion and Japan was third with $1.3 billion. Mo other country posted sales of more than $1 billion.