Box Office, TV Ad Spend Rises, But Not To Pre-Pandemic Levels

With one month of the 2023 theatrical movie season to go, U.S./domestic box-office revenue is now up 22% versus last year's total of $8.1 billion, according to IMDB Box Office Mojo.

But these results reveal that the movie business is not reaching pre-pandemic levels -- with box-office revenues down 18% over the same time period in 2019 ($9.95 billion). 

And more significantly, while national TV ad spend on movies is 9.5% higher to $1.1 billion versus 2022, according to EDO Ad EnGage, it is nearly half the levels reached in 2019, when it was estimated to be $1.9 billion for the January-November 27 period.

Fewer film releases appear to be the reason for this decline. So far this year, there have been 506 releases versus 910 for all of 2019, according to Box Office Mojo. From 2012 to 2019, there were on average around 800 to 850 movie releases.



That said, since the pandemic year of 2020, studios continue to slowly improve their national TV spending. Compared to a year ago, four of the five major movie studios have seen higher spending through 11 months of 2023:

According to EDO Ad EnGage, Universal Pictures is estimated at a national TV spend of $224.1 million (vs. $269.9 million in 2022), followed by Walt Disney Studios with $190.4 million (vs. $144.3 million); Warner Bros. at $169.7 million (vs. $132.6 million); Paramount Pictures with $137.3 million (vs. $88.3 million) and Sony Pictures $127.7 million (vs. $122.1 million).

The five biggest movies this year so far domestically were Warner Bros." “Barbie” (at $636.2 million); Universal Pictures’ “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” ($574.9 million); Sony Pictures’ “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” ($381.3 million); Walt Disney’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3” ($359 million); and Universal’s “Oppenheimer” ($325.4 million).

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