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Downturn Expected at Box Office in 2024 Due to 2023 Strikes

Photo by Ahmet Yalçınkaya on Unsplash

Downturn Expected at Box Office in 2024 Due to 2023 Strikes

By Movieguide® Contributor 

Recovery from last year’s WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes may take longer than originally anticipated, analysts predict.

“[W]e were willing to shift our valuation buildups to 2025 to capture the projected industry recovery path after an expected hiccup in 2024,” B. Riley analyst Eric Wold wrote. “We are now reversing course and admitting that we may have been too optimistic and would probably be proven wrong with that view.” 

“Full-year 2024 box office revenue, which Wold pegged at $8.61 billion last November, could now end up as low as $8 billion to $8.4 billion before rebounding to $9.92 billion in 2025,” per Deadline. 

Due to the dual strikes, fewer movies are slated for this year than the previous year, with 107 movies set for wide theatrical releases versus 124 released last year, another Deadline article reports.

Studios are sharing their concern for this year as well. One executive said, “There’s no way that a labor stoppage as prolonged as 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.” 

Wold believes even with the aftermath of the strikes, moviegoers will determine the demand for future products in the long run. 

“[W]e believe underlying moviegoing demand strength remained evident with box office for the projected group of top 20 films for the year exceeding our original estimates on a consolidated basis (with some losers and some huge winners),” Wold wrote 

“As we move throughout 2024, we believe underlying demand strength for the high-profile films scheduled for this year will be key to keeping investor expectations for the group in check as sights begin to shift toward a 2025 recovery,” he went on to explain. 

2023 was full of big hits like the family-friendly animated THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE. Last year’s domestic box office sales reached over $9 billion, the highest revenue since 2020, although still falling $2 billion shy of 2019 sales, as reported by CNN.   

“2023 was one of the most tumultuous, confounding and indeed exciting years for the industry with audiences enthusiastically interested the moviegoing experience and the films on offer at the multiplex while delivering insights into what is appealing and what is not from their perspective as reflected in the many unexpected hits and misses during the year,” chief Comscore media analyst Paul Dergarabedian said. 

One of the biggest sleeper hits of last year was the faith-based movie SOUND OF Freedom, which was one of the top 10 films of 2023, as reported by Movieguide®: 

[SOUND OF FREEDOM] earned $184,177,725, surpassing the TAYLOR SWIFT: THE ERAS TOUR ($179,428,838), INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY ($174,480,468) and MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE-DEAD RECKONING PART ONE ($172,135,383).

Box Office Pro commented on what the entertainment industry can learn from its surprising success. 

“We need to single out the grassroots marketing campaign for something like SOUND OF FREEDOM, a title none of us expected to hit the way it did and ended up cracking the top 10 domestically,” the article said. 

“This movie came out of nowhere, released over a crowded July 4 weekend, and broke out through word of mouth and the support of independent theater owners. Hometown exhibitors were crucial to this film’s success. It’s an essential lesson to the rest of the industry: instead of alienating independent cinema owners and making their lives impossible, if you reach out and work with them—give them everything they need to make your film a success—they will work as hard as they can to make sure the film succeeds,” Box Office Pro added.               

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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.