The Wall Street Journal partnered with Comscore to produce an extensive analysis of the rate of recovery in moviegoing across the country. The data show that Utah, Idaho, and South Dakota have seen the fastest recovery of the box office, having attained 50% of 2019 levels. In all three states, local residents and governments have shown less concern over the pandemic, placing fewer restrictions on public activities including moviegoing. Locations such as California, New York, and Washington D.C. have rebounded more slowly, producing only one-third of the box office of the same period in 2019. Not surprisingly, these states have implemented greater measures to control the spread of COVID infections, including mask mandates and required proof of vaccination.
Up to this point, states that voted Republican in the 2020 presidential election experienced a faster recovery at the box office than states that voted Democratic. However, these discrepancies are fading as the pandemic subsides. Now that New York has eliminated all capacity restrictions at cinemas and live performance venues and studios are once again releasing a steady stream of blockbusters, with some opening in theatres exclusively, the pace of the recovery overall is expected to accelerate.