National TV Movie Ad Spend Down 20% Vs. 2019, Domestic Box Office 31% Lower

Coming out of the pandemic, theatrical national TV advertising continues to recover -- but is still not on par with 2019.

National TV ad spending is 20% lower at $593.5 million versus $745.9 million for the same pre-pandemic period in 2019 -- according to estimates.

Total North American box-office revenue for the six-and-a-half-month period of 2022 is 31% below the same period in 2019 -- at $4.3 billion (2022) versus $6.2 billion (2019), per IMdb’s Box Office Mojo.

This year, so far, movie studios have pulled in 43.7 billion national TV impressions (from 139,279 airings of national TV commercials for movies). In 2019, the total was 83.5 billion impressions for that same six-month period (from 259,680 airings).

This year, Universal Pictures has spent the most of any studio, according to estimates -- $167.5 million.



Paramount Pictures is next at $71.9 million, followed by Warner Bros. at $67.9 million; Columbia Pictures, $44.3 million; MGM, $38.6 million; Dreamworks Animation, $35.9 million; 20th Century Studios, $32.7 million; Marvel, $31.7 million; and Disney Pixar, $28.6 million.

Paramount has had two of the top ten movies of the year so far in terms of North American box-office revenues, according to Box Office Mojo: “Top Gun: Maverick” at $604 million -- the top-performing movie; and “Sonic The Hedgehog 2” at $190.9 million.

Walt Disney had three top-ten movies: “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” $411.1 million (the second-best movie of the year so far); “Thor: Love and Thunder” with $178.9 million; and “Lightyear” at $113.9 million.

Universal Pictures had two movies in the top ten: “Jurassic World: Dominion” at $353.9 million and “Minions: The Rise of Gru” at $231.2 million.

Warner Bros. has had one: “The Batman” at $369.3 million. Sony Pictures also had one: “Uncharted,” at $148.7 million.

Even just looking at the second quarter of this year -- April through mid-July -- when movie studios ramp up spending for the big summer season to come, studios were still slower to spend.

There were 92,088 airings (2022) versus 144,646 airings (2019); iSpot estimates the total to be $204.9 million in national TV spend this year versus $357.1 million three years ago.

The NBA Basketball returned to its traditional playoffs/finals schedule in 2022 -- programming where movies studios spend heavily. During the last two years, the league shifted playoffs and finals well into the summer due to pandemic disruptions.

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