This year the world has moved past the pandemic and entered a new normal. Covid has impacted almost all aspects of life and society, including the entertainment industry. Cinemas were hit hard by the pandemic. Lockdowns, restrictions, reduced viewer turnouts, film delays; and the emerging competitor of streaming threatened the movie-going experience in a way nothing else has in more than a century of existence. Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video, HBO Max, and other streaming services not only account for a massive amount of film and television viewing but also produce their own original content now, even dominating awards shows. As these trends became known throughout the pandemic many speculated whether cinemas would be able to survive or whether they would be yet another victim of Covid-19. Now, as 2022 nears its end, we seem to have our answer.
The most obvious way to determine the health of the cinema-going experience is the box office. In recent years the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been the all-dominating box office juggernaut. This was never more true than in 2019 when Avengers: Endgame, the culmination of everything MCU to that point, smashed the box office for $2.8 billion worldwide breaking all existing records since being overcome by the Avatar rerelease, which totals $2.9 billion dollars combined. Neglecting that anomalously successful franchise, the top films of each of the 5 years before the pandemic look something each made between 1 and 2 billion dollars. In 2020 when the pandemic shut the world down the top 2 films were a Chinese film, The Eight Hundred, which made just $461 million worldwide, and a Japanese animated film, Demon Slayer: Mugen Train with just $448 million.
In 2021 we saw a resurgence. Spider-Man: No Way Home took $1.9B but no other films even broke the one billion mark and Chinese films placed second and third. The next highest earning film was No Time to Die, Daniel Craig’s final outing as Bond which made just $774M. 2021 was certainly a bounce back from the devastating low-point of 2020. But it wasn’t a full turn around, in fact, without Spider-Man, which would have been exceptional in any year, it would have been a massive low point.
So then, what did this year have in store for cinema? While there was no colossal giant like Avengers: EG, or Spider-Man: NWH, the year looked like it could fit in with any other pre-pandemic year. The top earner, Top Gun: Maverick took a nice $1.486B while most of the top-earning films were English. Hollywood rebounded and it wasn’t merely on the backs of another Marvel superhero mega movie.
The economic impacts of Covid are being felt and will likely continue to be felt for a long time, but, thankfully, it seems like taking your kids, a date, or just going with friends to the movies is not going to be a thing of the past.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.