Box Office Rose 21% Vs. 2022, Down Same Amount Vs. 2019

The last two big holiday weekends of the year helped push yearly domestic movie box-office revenue for the U.S. and Canada up 21% versus a year ago to $9.04 billion for 2023, according to estimates from Comscore.

Last year’s annual box-office revenue, however, is still down 21.4% from the pre-pandemic 2019 year, when it was $11.3 billion, according to IMDb’s Box Office Mojo.

Good news for the theatrical movie business was that it has steadily improved over that span -- with comparisons to $2.1 billion (2020), $4.5 billion (2021) and $7.3 billion (2022).

The last three weekends of 2023 were dominated by either Warner Bros.' “Wonka” or Warner’s “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.” 

For the recent four-day New Year’s holiday weekend, Warner Bros.' musical “Wonka” was the top draw again -- at $31.8 million, followed by “Aquaman” in its second weekend at $26.3 million and Universal’s “Migration,” also in its second week, at $22.3 million.



Warner Bros.' “The Color Purple” was one of three films that opened last weekend -- pulling in a solid $17.7 million. The others were Amazon MGM Studios’ “The Boys In The Boat” at an estimated $11.0 million and Neon’s “Ferrari” at $5.2 million. 

The two 2023 end of-the-year, four-day holiday weekends took in almost identical totals in total gross revenue at $143.3 million (New Year’s) and $143.0 million (Christmas), according to Box Office Mojo.

Movie studios' national TV advertising spending was up 11% in 2023 (versus 2022) to $1.23 billion, coming from 277,350 airings, delivering 152.2 billion impressions, according to EDO Ad EnGage.

Universal Pictures came in at $261.6 million, followed by Warner Bros. Pictures at $202.5 million; Walt Disney Studios, $197.1 million; Paramount Pictures, $143.4 million; and Sony Pictures, $136.1 million.

Like domestic box office revenue, national TV ad spend was also significantly higher in 2019 than in the year just completed -- 42% more at an estimated $2.1 billion.

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