July hit a new peak at the global box office since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The global box office reached an estimated $3.37 billion in July 2022, according to Gower Street’s latest monthly Global Box Office Tracker (GBOT). This surpassed October 2021 ($3.06bn) to set a new pandemic-era high.
The result came in slightly below Gower Street estimates for the month ($3.52bn) but still demonstrated the abundant return of audiences as holidays kicked in in many parts of the world.
July 2022 figures were 61% higher globally than for the same month in 2021. Against the average of the last three pre-pandemic years (2017-2019), the worldwide box office was only -17% behind the July average – the third best result of the pandemic era behind last month (June 2022: -15%) and October 2021 (-7%).
Total global box office through July 31 stood at an estimated $16.8 billion. This is +63% ahead of the same stage in 2021 and -31% behind the pre-pandemic average.
On this month’s GBOT (above), the stacked bar graph on the left shows total box office levels split out by the three key global markets: Domestic, China, and International (excluding China). The pie chart indicates the current deficit compared to the average of the past three pre-pandemic years (2017-2019) and where those losses are currently coming from. The bar graph on the bottom right displays the percentage drops globally.
The Domestic market achieved over $1 billion (est. $1.13bn) in a single month for the first time since December 2019. It also witnessed business at its closest level to the pre-pandemic average at just -8% off the 2017-2019 average in July – another positive directional move following the -14% result recorded in June. By the close of the month the Domestic market stood at approximately $4.86 billion – having surpassed its full-year 2021 result ($4.49bn).
The International market (excluding China) also enjoyed its biggest single-month box office result of the pandemic so far, delivering an estimated $1.69 billion in July 2022 (surpassing December 2021’s $1.59bn). However, the comparison against the three-year average for July (-13%) was not as strong as that recorded in June (-3%) and closer to that of May (-15%). The result was +67% up in July 2021. International (excluding China) box office stood at an estimated $8.68 billion as of July 31, +126% ahead of the same point in 2021and -29% behind the pre-pandemic three-year average.
Regionally, Latin America continued to shine with July box office ($299m) just -11% behind the pre-pandemic average for the month. This is the best box office result for the region since the pandemic began and the second-best percentage comparison of the pandemic (after December 2021: +37%).
Asia Pacific (excluding China) brought in approximately $638 million (-11% against the 3-year average) – a drop from June’s $671 million (+6% vs 3-year average). Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) brought in just shy of $750 million – the best single-month result of 2022 and the third best of the pandemic, only just behind December 2021. However, the result was -16% behind the pre-pandemic average, a regression compared to the -6% result recorded in June.
Top global titles were MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU (approx. $705m during the month) and THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER ($662.5m), but there was also notable strength in a number of holdovers. TOP GUN: MAVERICK, which has been flying high since its May release and has now grossed over $1.32 billion worldwide, added approximately $275 million in July.
June box office leader JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION added just over $160 million in July, and Baz Luhrmann’s ELVIS biopic kept on rocking adding over $155 million in July. Blumhouse horror THE BLACK PHONE also showed strong legs with approximately $88 million added in July. In total by the close of July these titles sat on $942.5 million (JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION), $234.3 million (ELVIS), and $142 million (THE BLACK PHONE). MINIONS stood at just over $712 million by the end of the month, having opened in Australia on June 23, a week ahead of other markets.
Spain recorded its best performance compared to the pre-pandemic average with July -12% behind the average – an improvement from -22% in June. The market was aided by the success of the local comedy sequel FATHER THERE IS ONLY ONE 3 (PADRE NO HAY MAS QUE UNO 3) which opened July 14 and held the local #1 spot for the remainder of the month, achieving $9.5 million by month close. This was enough to see it overtake TOP GUN: MAVERICK to enter the country’s pandemic-era top 10. It already ranks #2 among local titles released during the pandemic, behind its 2020 predecessor FATHER THERE IS ONLY ONE 2 ($15.2m).
Other markets enjoying an especially strong July included Germany (-3% vs three-year July average), New Zealand (-2%), South Korea (-1%), Austria (on par with pre-pandemic average), and Australia (+2% on a three-year average) – although these were all below the same markets’ June percentage comparisons against the average (Germany -2%, Austria +9%, Australia +21%, New Zealand +15%, South Korea +4%).
Having struggled through Covid-resurgence and closed cinemas in March, April and May, China’s situation continues to improve. July brought the best box office ($550m) and best percentage comparison against the pre-pandemic average (-39%) since the Chinese New Year-boosted February. It also marked the first month in 2022 where box office results exceeded those of the equivalent month in 2021 (+10%).
The month’s biggest audience draw was the June holdover LIGHTING UP THE STARS ($170m in July of $244m total). The biggest July release came at month’s end with the July 29 release of sci-fi comedy MOON MAN ($147.2m). The film claimed the #1 spot on that weekend’s Global Box Office chart – the first time a Chinese title had done so since mid-February and the first time for a non-English language title since Indian hit RRR at the end of March. In between another $100 million title (including all release markets) came in the form of the thriller DETECTIVE VS SLEUTHS.