The 2020 box office was ruled by old motion pictures, early blockbuster success

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence star in “Bad Boys For Life.”


The studio with the best box-office haul in 2020 was one which delayed most of its movie slate to 2021.

After CNBC combed by way of information from Comscore, Sony emerged as the highest earner in a 12 months marred by a worldwide pandemic. The studio represented 22.2% of the home movie market, with slightly below $500 million in ticket gross sales.

“If you need a symbol of just how unusual 2020 was at the box office, you need look no further than the fact that Sony’s ‘Bad Boys For Life,’ a mid-January release, would remain at the top of the box office chart for the entire year,” stated Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.

The movie garnered $206.three million, a far cry from the $858.three million in gross sales that “Avengers: Endgame,” the top-grossing movie in 2019, scored.

Sony’s market share was bolstered by ticket gross sales from “Jumanji: The Next Level” and “Little Women,” which had been each launched in 2019. The “Jumanji” sequel was the fourth-highest grossing movie of the 12 months, whereas “Little Women” was the eighth.

In truth, should you solely have a look at the box office from when the pandemic compelled theaters to shut by way of the top of the 12 months, Sony solely garnered round $29 million after March 20.

“The box office year of 2020 had a split personality,” Dergarabedian stated. “It boasted a strong performing pre-pandemic marketplace, but its trajectory was severely impacted in mid-March when theaters were sidelined. It then struggled through spring, summer and fall with a severely limited number of open theaters and a striking dearth of new movies.”

The world coronavirus pandemic has crippled the home box office, forcing studios to postpone blockbusters and place different main characteristic movies on premium video on-demand or branded streaming companies.

Studios that had been in a position to launch movies earlier than the pandemic shut down film theaters in March held onto their box-office good points and remained prime earners for the 12 months, in accordance with information from Comscore. These studios’ box-office totals had been additionally boosted by movies that had been launched in 2019 however continued to play in cinemas in early 2020.

In truth, the lion’s share of the $2.2 billion 2020 box office was generated through the first three months of the 12 months. From Jan. 1 by way of March 19, the U.S. and Canadian box office tallied $1.eight billion in ticket gross sales, Comscore information revealed. The remaining $400 million was collected between April and December.

“The pandemic profoundly changed the fortunes of studios and their films that were either cut off in midstream back in March or were rescheduled for 2021,” Dergarabedian stated. “That unforeseen and unfortunate turn of events took what started off as a promising and potentially record-breaking year at the multiplex and turned it into one of the toughest ever for the business.”

An in depth second

Universal was the second-highest grossing studio in 2020, garnering 21.9% of the market share. The box office distinction between Sony and Universal was solely $5.eight million.

Universal delayed the vast majority of its motion pictures till late 2020 or early 2021. However, as theaters started to reopen and it turned extra clear that audiences weren’t returning en masse, the studio shifted its technique.

It struck offers with a number of main theater chains within the U.S. and Canada that might enable it to shorten the size of time its movies wanted to be in cinemas. This allowed the studio to position its movies on premium video on-demand or on its streaming service Peacock sooner and monetize its movie amongst customers who weren’t prepared to depart their properties.

The bulk of the Comcast-owned studio’s box-office share got here from the conflict drama “1917,” which was launched in late 2019. The movie obtained a greatest image Academy Award nod in February 2020, which lured moviegoers to see it in droves. The movie collected $158 million in 2020, making it the studio’s highest-grossing movie and the home box office’s second-highest grossing movie for the 12 months.

Universal had two main releases previous to the theater shutdown, “Dolittle,” which took in $78 million, and “The Invisible Man,” which introduced in $70 million.

The firm additionally had a handful of movies come to theaters through the pandemic, together with “Trolls World Tour,” “Freaky” and “The Croods: A New Age.” Together, these movie garnered slightly below $50 million.

The studio additionally benefited from the rereleases of “Jaws” and “Jurassic Park,” which added round $10 million in ticket gross sales to the corporate’s whole. These movies, which initially debuted in 1975 and 1993, had been among the many prime 20 highest-grossing movies that had been performed in theaters between the top of March and December 2020.

The bronze medal

In 2019, the Walt Disney Company launched seven movies that surpassed $1 billion globally and held practically 40% of the market share of the home box office. It had scored greater than $four billion in ticket gross sales between its Disney movie distribution and its newly acquired 20th Century Fox properties, probably the most of any studio.

Just one 12 months later, Disney’s share shrunk to 20%, taking it from the highest box-office earner to third-best after bringing in simply $442 million.

Disney had a packed movie slate heading into 2020. Between its Disney manufacturing studios and its newly acquired Fox studio, the corporate was set to launch round two dozen movies. However, the pandemic prompted the corporate to make new plans.

For probably the most half, Disney displaced its 2020 titles, which included two main Marvel movies, the Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson-led “Jungle Cruise” and an adaption of Stephen Sondheim’s “West Side Story.”

While the vast majority of Disney’s movies had been pushed into 2021, the corporate did provide up its live-action model of “Mulan” on its streaming service Disney+ for $30 in September and positioned its Oscar-contender, Pixar movie “Soul,” on the platform at no cost.

While Comscore separates Disney and 20th Century as two completely different distributors, CNBC has chosen to mix their ticket gross sales as a result of they’re each owned by Disney. Together, they’ve the third-largest market share, or about 20%.

According to Comscore’s information, Disney as a solo distributor garnered $255 million in ticket gross sales final 12 months, whereas 20th Century tallied $187 million. Had these figures not been mixed, Disney would have had the fourth-largest market share and 20th Century would have been fifth.

Warner Bros., which offered $258 million in ticket gross sales final 12 months, would have been third. Compared with a mixed Disney and 20th Century, Warner Bros. is fourth.

Rey and Kylo Ren face off in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”


Disney’s highest-grossing movie of 2020 was “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” which was launched in late December 2019. The movie tallied $128 million in 2020 and was the fifth-highest grossing movie on the home box office.

Like that of Sony, the vast majority of Disney’s whole box office got here from movies launched to start with of the 12 months or holdovers from 2019. “Onward,” “Call of the Wild,” “Frozen 2” and “Spies in Disguise” all contributed to its haul within the early months of 2020.

“The New Mutants” was Disney’s highest-grossing theatrical launch through the pandemic. The movie reported round $32 million in gross sales.

Disney additionally had numerous rereleased movies that contributed to its tally, together with “Hocus Pocus,” “Star Wars,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Black Panther.” These titles accounted for practically $30 million of Disney’s haul.

Disclosure: Comcast is the father or mother firm of NBCUniversal and CNBC.

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