Cinemas ‘the epic summer return is still ‘a work in progress’

Is the film industry as dead as Goose, the fighter pilot who lost his life the first time Top Guns movie, who haunted Tom Cruise’s Maverick all these years later in this summer’s hit sequel? Industry analysts say not yet, but could bring talk of that big comeback on “Ice“A little bit — at least for now.

Top Gun: Maverick Is one outstanding success at the box office in a summer rife with big winners, but new data shows cinemas are still struggling to fully recover from the pandemic amid growing competition from streaming services. online and limited release schedule.

While Tom Cruise’s blockbuster has earned over $1.4 billion globally as of May 27 — and hits like Jurassic World: Dominion and Doctor Strange in Madness’ Multiverse both managed to raise more than $900 million this summer — the theater business as a whole still faces problems.

Overall, domestic box office receipts this summer are down 21% from the pre-pandemic summer of 2019, according to media measurement and analysis firm Comscore.

Hollywood grossed just $3.4 billion in North American theaters during the summer. That’s the lowest total since 2001 and 19% below the average summer box office take from 2005 to 2019.

The poor numbers are not welcome news for movie theater operators, who struggled last year to cope with a more than 60% drop in domestic box office receipts from previous levels. epidemic.

Total domestic ticket sales totaled just $4.5 billion for all of 2021, compared with $11.4 billion in 2019, according to data from ticket sales trackers. Box Office Mojo.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, says Luck that the film industry’s recovery from the pandemic shutdown has been hampered not by audiences’ willingness to go out, but by a lack of film releases.

“It’s been a really long road back to recovery, as of March 2020. And we’re still in the process of getting it right,” he said.

Comscore data shows studios only released widely — defined as movies showing in 2,000 or more theaters — for 22 domestic films this summer, compared with 42 in 2019. With one team slim figure, only a 21% drop in sales is actually quite impressive.

New data confirmed Warning from Regal Cinemas’ parent company, Cineworld, in August. The London-based entertainment group said recent viewership at its theaters was “below expectations” due to “limited movie listings” to continue. runs until the end of November.

Cineworld must filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week to help it cope with the falling revenue and sizable net debt burden of $4.8 billion (not including leases) it has incurred during the pandemic.

The company’s main competitor, the company that loves the stock meme AMC Entertainment Holdingsmanaged to avoid bankruptcy, but it has also recorded consistent losses during this challenging period for the industry.

In the first six months of 2022, AMC raked in more than $1.9 billion in revenue, but its total net loss was $459 million over the same period, SEC Records recital.

AMC offers its loyal fan base preferred stock, which it calls APE stock, to bolster its balance sheet last month. But since its release, APE stock has fallen about 10%.

CEO Adam Aron acknowledged this week that retail investors have “saved” the company by buying its stock — and APE stock is sinking — since the pandemic.

“Cineworld/Regal just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for its theaters in the US and UK Fortunately, AMC is in a very, very different situation — because retail investors have already accept us and let us raise cash. Thank you for retail! You really saved AMC,” he wrote on a Wednesday Posts on Twitter.

Slow road to recovery

The good news for AMC shareholders, according to Comscore’s Dergarabedian, is that movie theaters are poised for a further recovery. Despite the rise of streaming services, there is still strong demand from audiences for theatrical releases, he said.

In his view, domestic summer box office receipts have actually doubled from 2021 this year, though they’re still well below the industry average.

“So while everyone is focused on the fact that this is a low-grossing summer compared to pre-pandemic times, I would say this is the best possible scenario for a summer comeback. 2022,” he said.

Dergarabedian went on to explain that if studios can get back to “a more orderly release schedule,” the industry will be able to thrive in the coming years. However, he noted that all disruptions to production schedules and release dates will take time to resolve.

“I think the best news for the industry is that even though it’s slowing down right now, 2023 looks really strong in terms of movie lineups, and if you build it, they’ll come. I know it’s a cliché, but we saw that for sure this summer,” he added.

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