Comscore: 2020 global box office hits $12.2 billion despite COVD-19


New information from Comscore,  a trusted partner for planning, transacting, and evaluating media across platforms, shows how a combination of a well-managed pandemic response coupled with strong local product has led to a strong theatrical recovery in many countries around the globe.

Though as expected the results were much lower than in a traditional year, the $12.2 billion global revenue in theaters demonstrates that with careful planning, adherence to local health regulations and must-see content, studios and exhibitors found a path to success even as the world continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $2.25B performance of the North American box office showed that even amid a pandemically-challenged marketplace, several new movies found enthusiastic audiences both at the drive-in and in the limited number of brick-and-mortar theaters that were open despite an almost unlimited availability of filmed content at home on the small screen.

Films as varied as “Wonder Woman 1984,” “The Croods: A New Age,” “Unhinged” and “The Wretched” drew movie fans to the big screen in 2020.

China has seen the strongest box-office recovery post lockdown. Initially closing in January 2020, the Chinese market remained closed for a full six months (despite a brief, and quickly abandoned, flirt with re-opening in late March).

The whole-market return approach seems to have sold the message better to cinema goers, rebuilding a broader consumer confidence more quickly with local titles like “The Eight Hundred” and “My People, My Homeland” powering this rebound, both impressively earning over $400M.


Japan, like every other country, was affected by the reduction of worldwide theatrical releases. However, the ability to have their local titles (like the hit movies “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train” and “I’m From Today!”) released into the market, allowed Japan to continue to operate with a steady stream of films and thus continued to attract audiences.

Like China and JapanSouth Korea has also realized gains from showcasing local product allowing the Korean market to boast solid results with the appeal of films like “The Man Standing Next” and “Deliver Us From Evil” reflected in their strong box office performance.

This success was not limited to the Asia Pacific region, other countries like Spain had impressive success with individual titles such as “Padre No Hay Mas Que Uno 2” (“Father There is Only One 2”) that back in late-July served to jump-start Spain’s box office by 100% week over week.  The film was number one in Spain in 2020 generating an impressive $15.2M.

image-Paul-Dergarabedian-Senior-Media-Analyst-Comscore-mediabrief.jpgPaul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst, Comscore, said, “Though the pandemic has caused much disruption to the theatrical business, there are encouraging signs of recovery in many countries around the world.”

“Today we know that audiences are anxious to return to enjoy the theatrical experience and the many notable successes prove that if cinemas are open and offer great content, moviegoers are indeed excited to watch appealing movies on the big screen.”

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