Theatrical Box Office Jumps 26% On 17% Boost In TV Buys

Though nine months of 2023, the movie business has made major steady gains in box-office revenues -- up 26% to $7.27 billion versus the year before, according to Comscore.

This comes as major movie studio national TV spending continues to climb -- 17% higher to $924.4 million, according to EDO Ad EnGage.

But movie theaters, studios and TV networks are still in a recovery stage.  The current nine-month period is still down 17% in box-office revenues versus its pre-pandemic 2019 levels ($8.64 billion), according to IMdb Box Office Mojo. 

And for TV networks, which need thriving movie TV advertising (among other categories), it's much worse.

Movie studios spent $1.6 billion in 2019 from 312,730 airings, gaining 146 billion impressions. This year’s total of $924.4 million in spend came from 221,400 airings and 117.5 billion impressions.



Perhaps the most promising news was that third-quarter 2023 box office results -- July through September -- were only 6% down from 2019 ($2.65 billion versus $2.81 billion, per BoxOfficeMojo).

One major reason is that Warner Bros.' blockbuster “Barbie” drove a dominant, record-breaking (by a female director) $632.6 million in domestic TV sales over that period. This comes despite the fact that just 179 films were released in that period against 342 in 2019.

This -- along with “Oppenheimer” ($323.2 million) -- has rocketed up the average box-office revenue film release over that period to $14.8 million (from $8.2 million).

This year so far, Universal Pictures has spent $179.5 million in TV ad spend ($287.9 million in 2019), according to EDO Ad EnGage; Warner Bros. Pictures, $152.0 million ($238.8 million); Walt Disney Studios, $140.2 million ($226.8 million); Paramount Pictures, $126.0 million ($132.4 million); and Sony Pictures, $107.0 million ($116.6 million).

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