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2024 Box Office Projected to Drop $1 Billion as Industry Struggles Post-Strike

Photo by Cameron Venti on Unsplash

2024 Box Office Projected to Drop $1 Billion as Industry Struggles Post-Strike

By Movieguide® Contributor

2024’s box office is projected to falter without a consistent stream of movies with blockbuster potential due to 2023’s extended writers’ and actors’ strikes.

“We should be nervous about the first half of 2024,” an anonymous studio executive told Deadline. “There’s no way that a labor stoppage as prolonged and chaotic as this wasn’t going to have consequences. Fire comes through and burns a forest and a town, and then the fire is over. But the consequences of the fire aren’t over: There’s mudslides, and there’s damaged infrastructure.”

“The fire is over: Now we’ve gotta rebuild the town,” the executive added.

With only 107 widely released movies – compared to 2023’s 124 – coming out this year and numerous gaps in the release schedule, 2024’s box office total is expected to drop at least $1 billion from last year’s $9 billion total.

This 11% drop in revenue is disappointing for the movie industry, which had finally returned to normal following the pandemic’s catastrophic impact. Starting in mid-February, there was a consistent stream of high-profile movies with multiple hits breaking the $1 billion mark. The year ended strong with THE HUNGER GAMES: THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES and WONKA.

Unfortunately, there are few titles lined up to continue this momentum during Q1 of 2024. The most anticipated movie of the quarter – DUNE: PART TWO – doesn’t release until mid-March. The earliest movie to release that is predicted to break $100,000, BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE, drops on Feb. 14.

Only four other movies are expected to top $100,000 during the first quarter: KUNG FU PANDA 4 (March 8), CABRINI (March 8), GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE (March 29) and GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE (April 12).

Some projects originally slated for 2024 have been bumped to 2025, including the next MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, Marvel’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: BRAVE NEW WORLD and the next SPIDER-VERSE movie.

“The reality is that the box office isn’t the same as it was before. There have been two seismic shocks in the past few years — first the pandemic and now the strikes. At the same time, streaming exploded,” said analyst Rich Greenfield of LightShed Ventures.

While strike-related delays mean there will continue to be gaps in major releases until the end of July, the larger issue within the industry stems from changes in consumers’ desires. While sequels were once viewed as surefire moneymakers, moviegoers now want original movies.

“People just want to be entertained; to see compelling stories told in a masterful way,” said Michael O’Leary, CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners. “People, having been deprived of those kinds of public experiences, are seeking them more and more. And, candidly, their expectations are higher than ever.”

The theater business is also suffering from the improvement in streaming, as a recent study found that two-thirds of Americans prefer to watch movies at home – compared to 57% preferring the theater experience in 2018.

Furthermore, consumers value other out-of-home activities, such as amusement parks, sporting events and restaurants, over theatergoing due to the high price of tickets and concessions.

Despite the grim outlook for the upcoming year, theaters remain the jewel of the movie industry.

“There’s no question about the value of a theatrical release,” said Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Vice Chairman Adam Fogelson. “Even if a movie doesn’t overperform in theatrical; the stamp of quality, the value that theatrical provides is significantly important for downstream revenues.”

“Starting in the middle of 2024 into the next few years, you’re going to see a healthy, thriving movie business,” he continued. “One of the great things that we’ve seen even during the complicated periods is how much people still love going to the movies, as long as you give them a movie they truly want to see.”

Movieguide® previously reported on the box office:

An annual UCLA study found that teens and young adults want less sex and romance on screen and instead want more media depicting uplifting stories and platonic friendships.

The study found that 47.5% of teens and young adults aged 13-24 believe sex and romance are too prevalent in TV and movies. Rather, 51.5% want more content focused on friendships and platonic relationships.

These results come as most teens and young adults want to see media that reflects their own lives rather than enter into worlds different from their own.

“While it’s true that adolescents want less sex on TV and in movies, what the survey is really saying is that they want more and different kinds of relationships reflected in the media they watch,” said Dr. Yalda T. Uhls, a co-author on the study and an adjunct professor in UCLA’s psychology department.

“We know that young people are suffering an epidemic of loneliness and they’re seeking modeling in the art they consume,” Uhls continued. “While some storytellers use sex and romance as a shortcut to character connection, it’s important for Hollywood to recognize that adolescents want stories that reflect the full spectrum of relationships.”

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.