Howard Kiedaisch, CEO of the Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition
26 January, 2023 by

by Howard Kiedaisch

 DCDC, our performance is driven by the number of films released rather than the actual box office results.  That is because DCDC charges on a per delivery basis, and DCDC does not benefit from the sale of tickets.  However, as an important member of the supply chain, DCDC clearly needs there to be a healthy box office environment as that translates to strong revenue for both our content and exhibitor customers.     

I am very pleased to see that so far this year, we are already pacing much better than 2022.  Year to date domestic box office is at $553m which is 48% better than this same point in 2022 (which was $361m).  Though it is early in the year, most pundits were anticipating a weak kick-off to the year suggesting there were no titles of significance until Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania was released on February 17th.  

However, we’ve seen strong results from “Avatar: The Way of Water” which is the big driver so far this year representing 39% of the year-to-date box office for only the 6th film of all time to surpass the $2 billion worldwide gross mark while still continuing to perform.  However, that is not the only game in town as other winning titles in 2023 domestic market include:

  • M3GAN, a horror film is up to $83m, which is a great result from a new IP that will now become a franchise.

  • A Man Called Otto is up to $46m which shows the older audience will still show up when the product is right for them.

  • Puss and Boots: The Last Wish, a release from last year, continues to run and is up to $141m delivering over $10.6m in box office last weekend, despite currently being available on PVOD

  • Not to mention other new titles like Gerard Butler’s Plane ($25.4m so far) and the newly released techno-thriller Missing, which did $9.3m opening weekend.

Though 2022 was not as big a leap toward recovery as everyone had hoped, it has been widely reported within the industry that the number of titles released in 2022 was down compared to pre-pandemic years.  Specifically, there were 112 “wide releases” (titles released on more than 2,000 screens) in 2019 vs. only 71 in 2022.  On a per title basis, the average box office for a wide release in both years was around $91m.  Therefore, there is no reason not to believe that if there were more films, 2022 would have been a better year.

This lack of product was the result of various issues including studios putting titles directly to streaming, production hold-ups due to the pandemic, a post-production backlog slowing completion of film projects and overall conservatism in willingness to release big, expensive films while it was not clear that audiences were fully back to the cinema yet.   

However, looking ahead to the rest of this year, we see there are already over 100 wide release films on the schedule.   Since it’s only January, it’s likely others will be dropping into the calendar as we move through the year.  Therefore I predict that though 2023 won’t be as strong as 2019, it will be closer to that level than to the 2022 box office performance.  There’s a long list of great product coming out this year, so get out and go buy a ticket!

About Digital Cinema Distribution Coaliti

DCDC was formed by AMC Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, Regal Entertainment Group, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Entertainment to provide the industry with theatrical digital delivery services across North America through a specially created network comprised of next-generation satellite and terrestrial distribution technologies. It is capable of supporting feature, promotional, pre-show and live content distribution into theatres.The Network is designed to ensure audiences have the highest-quality entertainment experience, while exhibitors and content providers achieve a continuing strategic, secure and cost-effective distribution model that will stand the test of time. As digital electronic distribution replaces the use of other forms of more traditional content distribution, users of the DCDC Network will always have access to a host of delivery options and resources. 

26 January, 2023
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