Brent LangJune 1, 2020, 1:21 PM CDT
Movie theater closures and the uncertainty created by COVID-19 will have a devastating impact on the box office, according to a new note from research company MoffettNathanson.
The Wall Street analyst firm predicts that revenues from ticket sales will be cut in half, falling from $11.4 billion in 2019 to $5.5 billion in 2020. That’s a 52% plunge, and it’s a drop that could be even steeper if cinemas don’t reopen in July and if summer blockbusters such as “Tenet” and “Mulan” that are supposed to debut that month get pushed back deeper into the year.
They note that it could be difficult for the studios behind those pricey films to move forward with their release if major markets such as New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, which have not yet committed to a date for theaters to reopen, aren’t allowing cinemas to host patrons. “Tenet” is scheduled to debut on July 17. “Mulan” is supposed to premiere on July 24, a week later. Theaters have been closed since March.
“Given the uncertainty around the key questions we mention above, including sticking to July release dates, when key markets reopen and willingness of movie-goers to return before a vaccine, our estimates today are very much a work in process with lots of volatility in the months ahead,” the note’s authors write.
The analysts are predicting “a significant bounce back” in 2021 to $9.7 billion, which they attribute to “a stronger release slate.” However, they address that this number could also fall lower if film production can’t resume safely and if studios begin putting more of their movies on streaming services or on-demand. It still lags behind the numbers that the box office put up in 2019 before coronavirus upended society.
This article was originally posted on yahoo.com/entertainment/.