April 23, 2013

Box Office Year to Date Scorecard — New Format

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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Looking at wide-release films in North America (those that play on at least 400 screens at some point), 2013 now totals $2.37 billion, down 15% from 2012 and down 8% from the prior four-year average 2009-2012.  Each year-to-date period below is defined as the first Monday after New Year’s Day through the most recent Sunday.

North American Box Office YEAR TO DATE
billions Weeks 1-15
2012 $2.778 Jan 2-Apr 15
2010 $2.758 Jan 4-Apr 18
2009 $2.588 Jan 5-Apr 19
2013 $2.366 Jan 7-Apr 21
2011 $2.219 Jan 3-Apr 17

In the past six weeks, 2013 is acting like a more “normal” year (exactly matching the 2009-2012 average for the comparable period).  Yet the past six weeks of 2013 still lag 9% behind 2012.

North American Box Office LAST SIX WEEKS
millions Weeks 10-15
2012 $1,082 Mar 5-Apr 15
2010 $1,055 Mar 8-Apr 18
2013 $984 Mar 11-Apr 21
2009 $933 Mar 9-Apr 19
2011 $884 Mar 7-Apr 17

The table below breaks the calendar year into three parts: the year to date (January through mid-April), now through the summer, and the fall/ holiday period.  2012 had an above average first and last period of the year (highlighted in green), while summer 2012 was average at best.   Without any sub-par periods, however, the full 52 weeks of 2012 finished above average.

In contrast, 2010 was all over the place: an above average winter/spring, followed by a below average summer (highlighted in red) and an average fall/holiday season.  All of that turbulence added up to an average year in total.

North American Box Office BY YEAR-PART
Jan-Apr Apr-Aug Sep-Dec Jan-Dec
weeks: 1-15 16-35 36-52 1-52
2012 $2.778 $4.379 $2.993 $10.150
2010 $2.758 $4.240 $2.813 $9.812
2009 $2.588 $4.366 $3.091 $10.045
2013 $2.366 n/a n/a n/a
2011 $2.219 $4.579 $2.696 $9.495
2009-12 avg $2.586 $4.391 $2.898 $9.875

2009 was perfectly average for the first two-thirds of the year, but the holiday period (thanks to Twilight: New Moon and the first few weeks of Avatar) made all the difference, pushing the year to an above average total.

Finally, 2011 had a very good summer, but poor bookends of the year pushed the total year to a well below average mark.

2013 will need an above average summer and holiday season to push the year into an above average position.  Not at all likely.


About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.