The combined superpowers of the Batman, Doctor Strange, the Minions, Maverick and Na’vi warriors couldn’t save Hollywood from a lackluster 2022 box office.
Wide-release films, meaning those shown in more than 2,000 theaters for multiple weeks, earned $7.23 billion in North America this year through Christmas, according to box office tracker Comscore. Once the new year arrives, the domestic box office total for 2022 will likely come in at around $7.35 billion, Comscore said.
Total domestic box office grosses through Christmas of this year represent an increase of 68% over 2021, when many theaters remained closed and audiences were largely still apprehensive about returning to theaters for fear of Covid-19.
But 2022 grosses are still off by roughly one-third compared with 2019, the last prepandemic year, when the total North American box office totaled $11 billion.
The main issue, according to studio executives and industry observers, is lack of supply—fewer big movies means fewer tickets sold. Another factor is consumers’ appetite for moviegoing given the growth of streaming and persistent Covid-19 concerns.