• GOWER STREET's Box Office Outlook
  • Posted on Dec 06, 2023

Box Office Hunger Games: November Produced Lowest Global Gross in 12 Months

It is now nearly four years since the Covid-19 pandemic put a break on the theatrical industry. It’s been a long road to recovery. The accelerated growth of the past two years showed the strength and resilience of the cinematic world. Multiple records have been broken.

Five of the top 16 highest-grossing global movies of all time have been released since. Three months of this year performed above the monthly average of the last three pre-pandemic years (2017-2019), and another two showed just a single-digit deficit. July was the first month of the decade crossing $4 billion ($4.6bn). January and August this year were two of the three months of the decade that crossed $3 billion.

In that context November falls short, generating only $1.9 billion globally. It’s the lowest grossing month since the same month last year ($1.8bn); marginally behind September this year (-3%), and the only other month in 2023 that failed to cross $2 billion.

While being up on the same month in 2021 (+8%) and 2022 (+7%), it’s minor growth compared to the rest of the year. Except for February – due to the month swap of Chinese New Year – no other month had an increase in 2022 lower than June’s +10% and while June was the 3rd highest-grossing month last year, November was only #9, thus far lower benchmark.

This and last year the number of attractive global movies ready to be released from September onwards was lower than needed to sustain the levels of recovery achieved earlier in both years. Moreover, up until August the highly anticipated sequel DUNE: PART TWO was set to open the month, releasing on November 3.

It moved to March of next year due to the actor’s strike then. No other tentpole filled the slot. The first six-time Academy Award-winning installment grossed $402 million while being still impacted by the pandemic market conditions. Given this, November lost a significant amount of box office.

Consequently, the global gap to the pre-pandemic three-year average has widened again within the past month. Being behind -37% in November, the running year has been pushed down from -12% to -14%. It peaked at the end of August at just -9%! After eleven months, the total global box office is estimated to have reached $30.8 billion in 2023. It has already stood above the full-year result of each of the three prior years since September.

 

GBOT November 2023

On this month’s GBOT (above), the stacked bar graph on the left shows total box office levels split out by the three key global markets: Domestic, China, and International (excluding China). The pie chart indicates the current deficit compared to the average of the past three pre-pandemic years (2017-2019) and where those losses are currently coming from. The bar graph on the bottom right displays the percentage drops globally.

Like the prior month, November had numerous global releases that achieved solid box office levels with one title crossing $200 million and four above $100 million, of which two were October holdovers. However, no movie was able to break out significantly.

Further an already soft release schedule in September and October limited wide holdover returns. The last movie crossing $300 million globally was MEG 2: THE TRENCH with $395 million, released at the beginning of August, nearly four months ago! Fourteen movies have reached that benchmark this year so far.

The highest-grossing global release in November was THE HUNGER GAMES: THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS & SNAKES generating approximately $220 million in the month. The prequel of the successful franchise will most likely end around half of the lifetime of the final installment of the original series, THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 2 ($653m).

That puts it in the middle of youth-adult movies like THE MAZE RUNNER ($349m), DIVERGENT ($289m) and MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN ($297m).

THE MARVELS was the second highest-grossing movie of November with approximately $191 million. It will most likely end around the lifetime of BIRDS OF PREY ($206m). That is a bit below DARK PHOENIX ($253m) and THE FLASH ($271m).

It is still above this year’s disappointing superhero releases BLUE BEETLE ($129m) and SHAZAM! FURY OF THE GODS ($134m), however, will be the lowest-grossing release of the incredibly successful 33-movie-spanning Marvel Cinematic Universe so far.

The second high-profile theatrical opening from Apple, NAPOLEON, grossed $106 million within the month. This made it the third-highest-grossing global opening of November.

It will most likely end around the level of Ridley Scott’s own ALIEN: COVENANT ($241m) and EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS ($268m) and clearly above his most recent movie, 2021’s HOUSE OF GUCCI ($166m), and Apple’s prior month release KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON ($154m). The International gross is further looking to outperform Baz Luhrmann’s ELVIS ($137m).

Two very different titles that started to roll out in October also managed to crack the $100 million box office in November: FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S and TROLLS BAND TOGETHER. FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S added approximately $134 million for a cume of $284 million at the end of November.

The fan-driven video game adaption already became the highest-grossing Blumhouse production in their thriving 23-year history, ahead of SPLIT ($277m), HALLOWEEN ($260m) and GET OUT ($257m).

TROLLS BAND TOGETHER generated about $115 million within the month for a cume of $151 million at the end of November. The third part in the DreamWorks Animation franchise will most likely end a bit above this year’s PAW PATROL: THE MIGHTY MOVIE ($195m) and TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: MUTANT MAYHEM ($181m), around last year’s DC LEAGUE OF SUPER-PETS ($208m) and DreamWorks’ recent sequel CROODS: A NEW AGE ($217m), though clearly below the 2018 original TROLLS ($347m).

In contrast to the modest global result, the sub-region of Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) had a significantly better month. It contributed a bit over half (51%) of the International box office (incl. China), the by far highest ratio of the year.

EMEA recorded the sixth-highest-grossing month of the year, just marginally behind May (-1%). In terms of the gap against the three-year average, the -24% deficit put it 8th among the months of this year.

The overperformance of NAPOLEON and HUNGER GAMES in the region was a major driver. For both titles, three of the current top 5 performing International markets are in EMEA. Additionally, 6 of the top 10 markets come from the region. It also helped that FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S only opened in November in Spain, France, and Italy with strong results.

Last but not least, local and international titles successfully filled certain gaps in the market (e.g. Hayao Miyazaki’s THE BOY AND THE HERON [$10.5m] was the highest-grossing movie in France).

Major markets like the Netherlands (-9%), France (-16%) and Spain (-24%) were performing even better than the EMEA sub-region as a whole. Italy outperformed that by being an impressive +5% above the pre-pandemic three-year average and recording its best single month since January 2020!

The key factor was local phenomenon THERE’S STILL TOMORROW (C’E ANCORA DOMANI). It grossed $25 million in November for an impressive current cume of $29.7 million.

The black-and-white directorial debut of Paola Cortellesi is already the third-highest-grossing title of the year and it will likely get in front of OPPENHEIMER ($30.3m) and BARBIE ($35.9m) by the end of its run to top the Italian year. That would make it the second-highest-grossing title, behind AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER ($47.6m), since the start of the pandemic!

On the other side of the Atlantic, the Domestic box office was much softer in November. The month was down on the three-year average by -43%. That is the biggest gap since September last year (-52%) and a glimpse behind December 2022 (-42%). From a total perspective, the month looked marginally better. The $560 million still made it the third-lowest grossing month of the year.

It’s down on last year by -11% when BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER dominated with a monthly total of $374 million. Only HUNGER GAMES ($107m) got above $100 million within the month. The Domestic cume for the year is $8.3 million at the end of November, which has been above last year’s final gross of $7.5 million since mid-October.

China had a comparably muted month like the Domestic market. Only local thriller LAST SUSPECT managed to cross $50 million, with $67 million in November. US releases stayed at low levels. THE MARVELS contributed $15 million at #4, HUNGER GAMES $7.5 million at #8, and WISH $4 million at #13.

After an already disappointing Golden Week October period, November came in as the lowest-grossing Chinese month since December last year with just $235 million. Although it nearly tripled last November’s $80 million it’s a low benchmark given that was the lowest grossing month since July 2020 ($31m), when cinemas just started to re-open after six months of closure.

In terms of gap against the three-year average, China was -50% down, the third widest of 2023. At the end of November, China had achieved $7.2 billion for 2023. That is just behind its 2021 total of $7.3 billion at historical exchange rates.

The sub-regions of Latin America and Asia Pacific both had poor results in November like the Chinese and the Domestic markets, recording their lowest grossing months of the year.

For Latin America, it was the lowest since October last year, and for Asia Pacific even the worst since March 2022. Against the three-year average Asia Pacific was down -35%, the second widest gap of 2023, just better than October (-38%). Latin America had the widest gap since September last year (-44%) with -34%.

These modest results continue to regress the deficit against the pre-pandemic three-year average for the running year around the world. The gap had been closing since April. The impact of a weaker release calendar since September has been slowing down recovery.

At the end of November, the Domestic market was -19% below the three-year average for the running year. That comes after cutting the deficit to -15% in August, down from -36% at the start of April. The International (exc. China) market now stands at -14%, following the reduction from -23% to -11% in the April to August period.

Although far less dependent on the global release calendar China is also following this trend. At the end of November, China was tracking below the pre-pandemic average at -6%. In the period from June to August, it had overcome the deficit from -13% to +1%.

November wasn’t a great month for the global theatrical industry. A more consistent, uninterrupted, and diverse release calendar is needed to reduce the current volatility of the theatrical market. Thankfully six months of strikes in Hollywood also ended in November with an agreement between the actors and the studios. However, the delayed productions of that half year will continue to have an impact on the release calendar at least for the year to come.

The gaps in the past months have given space to unexpected winners at the box office. Movies that widened the range of what is a box office hit. TAYLOR SWIFT – THE ERAS TOUR opened in October just a month after its release was announced, grossing $250 million globally to become the second-highest music documentary of all time, just a glimpse behind Michael Jackson’s THIS IS IT ($261m).

FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S became the highest-grossing Blumhouse production of all time and highest highest-grossing title in the past three months, impressive for being tailored specifically for a very narrow target of young fans of the video game it’s based on. Furthermore, just like during the whole time since the pandemic disrupted the production cycle, local titles can shine even more.

The Italian record-breaking hit THERE’S STILL TOMORROW smartly combines comedic, dramatic, and romantic elements against the backdrop of post-World War 2 Italy and the first Italian referendum where women were allowed to vote. An original movie, shot in black and white by a first-time director. A reminder of the variety of content and audiences that are out there that can help the theatrical industry to thrive.

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    6. Waiver of Jury Trial.YOU AND SCREENDOLLARS HEREBY WAIVE ANY CONSTITUTIONAL AND STATUTORY RIGHTS TO SUE IN COURT AND HAVE A TRIAL IN FRONT OF A JUDGE OR A JURY. You and Company are instead electing that all disputes, claims, or requests for relief shall be resolved by arbitration under this Arbitration Agreement, except as specified in Section 8.2(a) above.  An arbitrator can award on an individual basis the same damages and relief as a court and must follow this Agreement as a court would. However, there is no judge or jury in arbitration, and court review of an arbitration award is subject to very limited review.
    7. Waiver of Class or Other Non-Individualized Relief.ALL DISPUTES, CLAIMS, AND REQUESTS FOR RELIEF WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THIS ARBITRATION AGREEMENT MUST BE ARBITRATED ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS AND NOT ON A CLASS OR COLLECTIVE BASIS, ONLY INDIVIDUAL RELIEF IS AVAILABLE, AND CLAIMS OF MORE THAN ONE CUSTOMER OR USER CANNOT BE ARBITRATED OR CONSOLIDATED WITH THOSE OF ANY OTHER CUSTOMER OR USER. If a decision is issued stating that applicable law precludes enforcement of any of this subsection’s limitations as to a given dispute, claim, or request for relief, then such aspect must be severed from the arbitration and brought into the State or Federal Courts located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  All other disputes, claims, or requests for relief shall be arbitrated.
    8. 30-Day Right to Opt Out.You have the right to opt out of the provisions of this Arbitration Agreement by sending written notice of your decision to opt out to: contactus@screendollars.com, within 30 days after first becoming subject to this Arbitration Agreement. Your notice must include your name and address, your SCREENDOLLARS username (if any), the email address you used to set up your SCREENDOLLARS account (if you have one), and an unequivocal statement that you want to opt out of this Arbitration Agreement. If you opt out of this Arbitration Agreement, all other parts of this Agreement will continue to apply to you. Opting out of this Arbitration Agreement has no effect on any other arbitration agreements that you may currently have, or may enter in the future, with us.
    9. Severability.Except as provided in subsection (e) above, if any part or parts of this Arbitration Agreement are found under the law to be invalid or unenforceable, then such specific part or parts shall be of no force and effect and shall be severed and the remainder of the Arbitration Agreement shall continue in full force and effect.
    10. Survival of Agreement.This Arbitration Agreement will survive the termination of your relationship with SCREENDOLLARS.
    11. Notwithstanding any provision in this Agreement to the contrary, we agree that if SCREENDOLLARS makes any future material change to this Arbitration Agreement, you may reject that change within thirty (30) You and SCREENDOLLARS acknowledge and agree that Apple, and Apple’s subsidiaries, are third-party beneficiaries of the Agreement as related to your license of the App Store Sourced Application, and that, upon your acceptance of the terms and conditions of the Agreement, Apple will have the right (and will be deemed to have accepted the right) to enforce the Agreement as related to your license of the App Store Sourced Application against you as a third-party beneficiary thereof.days of such change becoming effective by writing to us at the following address: contactus@screendollars.com.
    12. Export.The Services may be subject to U.S. export control laws and may be subject to export or import regulations in other countries. You agree not to export, reexport, or transfer, directly or indirectly, any U.S. technical data acquired from SCREENDOLLARS, or any products utilizing such data, in violation of U.S. export laws or regulations.
    13. Electronic communications.The communications between you and SCREENDOLLARS may use electronic means, whether you visit or use our Services or send e-mails to us, or whether SCREENDOLLARS posts notices on or in the Services or communicates with you via e-mail. For contractual purposes, you (a) consent to receive communications from SCREENDOLLARS in an electronic form; and (b) agree that all terms and conditions, agreements, notices, disclosures, and other communications that SCREENDOLLARS provides to you electronically satisfy any legal requirement that such communications would satisfy if it were be in a hardcopy writing. The foregoing does not affect your statutory rights, including but not limited to the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act at 15 U.S.C. section 7001 et. Seq (“E-Sign”).
    14. Governing law. Any and all controversies, disputes, demands, counts, claims or causes of action between you and SCREENDOLLARS and our employees, agents, successors, or assigns, regarding or relating to this Agreement or the Services will exclusively be governed by the internal laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, without regard to its choice of law rules and without regard to conflicts of law principles except that the arbitration provisions will be governed by the Federal Arbitration Act. The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods will not apply to this Agreement.
    15. Notice.Where SCREENDOLLARS requires that you provide an e-mail address, you are responsible for providing us with your most current e-mail address. In the event that the last e-mail address you provided to us is not valid, or for any reason is not capable of delivering to any notices required or permitted by this Agreement, our dispatch of the e-mail containing such notice will nonetheless constitute effective notice.  You may give notice to us at the address set forth in Section 8.8.  Such notice shall be deemed given when received by us by letter delivered by nationally recognized overnight delivery service or first class postage prepaid mail at that address.
    16. Entire Agreement.This Agreement, including the documents referred to herein, constitutes the entire agreement between you and us regarding the use of the Services. Our failure to exercise or enforce any right or provision of this Agreement will not operate as a waiver of such right or provision. If any provision of this Agreement is, for any reason, held to be invalid or unenforceable, the other provisions of this Agreement will be unimpaired and the invalid or unenforceable provision will be deemed modified so that it is valid and enforceable to the maximum extent permitted by law. Your relationship to SCREENDOLLARS is that of an independent contractor, and neither party is an agent or partner of the other. This Agreement, and your rights and obligations herein, may not be assigned, subcontracted, or otherwise transferred by you without SCREENDOLLARS’s prior written consent, and any attempted assignment, subcontract, or transfer in violation of the foregoing will be null and void. The terms and conditions set forth in this Agreement will be binding upon assignees.
    17. Copyright/Trademark Information.Copyright © 2020, Screendollars, LLC. All rights reserved. All trademarks, logos and service marks (“Marks”) displayed on or in the Services are our property or the property of third parties. You may not use these Marks without our prior written consent or the consent of such third party.
    18. Contact Information:SCREENDOLLARS, LLC. | 33 Miller Hill Road, Dover, MA 02030 | (978) 494-4150, contactus@screendollars.com.

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