Home / Entertainment / Numbers are in: How Covid killed the box office
box office
Wonder Woman 1984 is a bright spot for the box office moving into 2021.

Numbers are in: How Covid killed the box office

CNBC reports that movie box office sales plummeted by 80% during 2020. The data, gathered by Comscore, found that U.S. revenues came in at just $2.28 billion, down from $11.4 billion in 2019.

What’s more telling is that almost 50% of total 2020 revenue came in just one month – January – just as news of the Covid virus spreading from China began to make headlines. January saw over $900 million in sales, up 10% from 2019.

February 2020 saw $651 million in ticket sales.

“To say that this was a challenging year for movie theaters is an understatement,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.

He and others had predicted 2020 to have been a record-breaking year but instead, saw the worst box office performance in over 40 years.

READ: Here’s what’s streaming now

As March came in like a lion and government-mandated lockdowns spread across the nation, ticket sales dropped and by April, only $2 million in tickets were sold. Domestic box office sales of $967 million in March of 2019.

“Even after cinemas were permitted to reopen, the largest chains remained shuttered until late August. As a result, the domestic box office has not topped $100 million in sales in any month since March,” CNBC reports.

“The full year North American box office numbers will naturally represent a mere fraction of the pre-pandemic marketplace, but the fact that over $2 billion in revenue was generated in 2020 is certainly impressive,” Dergarabedian told the news outlet.

With 2021 about to launch, movie industry experts say they’re optimistic about the coming year.

“While there are no major film releases until March, the recent opening of “Wonder Woman 1984” in the U.S. and Canada is bolstering confidence in an industry-wide recovery,” CNBC reports.

“We are cautiously optimistic as long as needles are going into arms,” said one movie theater operator with locations in the southern part of the U.S. referring to the rollout of vaccines in the country.

Films scheduled to release in 2021 include”Fast and Furious,” “Jungle Cruise,” Marvel’s “Black Widow,” a new “Minions” and the latest James Bond installment “No Time to Die.”

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice