As multiple economies across the world started to lift mobility restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 outbreak, different cinema markets experienced varying levels of recovery. In 2021, global box office revenue grew by over 80 percent to 21.3 billion U.S. dollars. But this figure amounts to little more than half of the 42.3-billion-dollar result recorded in 2019 before the pandemic. In the meantime, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region saw its share in the total value increase, surpassing 50 percent in 2021. In that part of the globe, movie theaters caught up more swiftly.

Box office gross in China – the highest in the world – climbed by more than 130 percent in 2021, standing at nearly 47.3 billion yuan. This corresponds to almost three quarters of the 2019 figure. The United States and Canada, collectively known as the North American box office and second worldwide in terms of revenue, experienced growth of 113 percent to about 4.5 billion U.S. dollars. However, the result amounts to less than 40 percent of the 2019 and 2018 figures.

China's box office boom

The expansion of cinema in Asia's largest economy is not just a result of its gargantuan consumer market but also its dynamic business development. The number of movie theaters in China grew continuously for over a decade, surpassing 11.8 thousand in 2020. This figure is over five times higher than in 2010. Movie ticket sales in China also indicate a speedy recovery. The 1.17-billion attendance recorded in 2021 amounted to more than two-thirds of the pre-pandemic figure. It is also higher than the numbers reported every year prior to 2015. According to Chinese sources, domestic productions accounted for most of the country's recovery at the box office. Out of the 10 highest-grossing movies in China in 2021, only two were made in another country: "F9: The Fast Saga" and "Godzilla vs. Kong," both produced in the U.S.

Forecasts for cinema ads worldwide

The different paces of each market in a post-pandemic world also impact projections of growth for cinema advertising spending . In the U.S. and Canada, expenditure was forecast to remain below 2019 levels, at least until 2024. The estimates for Western Europe are bleaker, with the ad spend likely to stay below 2010 standards. However, cinema ad expenditure in the APAC region was projected to surpass pre-pandemic levels by 2023 and reach new heights in the following year, when it would amount to around 3.3 billion dollars – over twice as much as the spending in the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe combined.

Interesting statistics

In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 48 most important statistics relating to "Box office worldwide".


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