Domestic box office down nearly $400 million since coronavirus closures
Coronavirus has gravely impacted Hollywood's cash flow.
According to tracking company Comscore's box office data, which stopped recording annual ticket sales on March 19 due to the coronavirus outbreak, 2020 grosses trail 2019's by roughly $381.7 million. Between March 19 and March 31, 2019, 170 titles both spectacular and small-scale contributed to last year's total, which gives an estimated – if not exact — picture of how much money studios are losing as megaplex chains and specialty theaters alike remain shuttered at this point in 2020.
Until March 19, 2020's North American box office totals still trailed 2019's by 11.9 percent, as Comscore indicates Hollywood earned $1.8 billion — led by the Will Smith and Martin Lawrence vehicle Bad Boys for Life ($204.4 million), Sam Mendes' 2019 holdover 1917 ($157.9 million), and Sonic the Hedgehog ($146 million) — over the first two-and-a-half months of the year compared to 2019's $2.1 billion across the same period.
"The timeline is everything, and thus we can only speculate as to what the 2020 box office will look like once theaters go back online," Comscore analyst Paul Dergarabedian tells EW. "2019 was a record year globally and 2020 was off to a solid start, so it was a huge disappointment that the wind was taken out of the moviegoing sails at this point."
Though a downturn in sales indicates a steep decline in ticket sales, he adds that he's hopeful for a rebound (and potentially surge) as the pandemic subsides in the coming months, as industry experts have predicted the global box office industry could lose around $15-$17 billion if theaters don't reopen by the end of May.
"Eventually, of course, all the big titles — Bond, Mulan, Morbius, A Quiet Place II, among many others — will eventually be released on the big screen, and the waiting will increase the pent-up demand that is building every day."
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