2021 Domestic Box Office Closes In On $4.4 Billion, Still Far From Normal

The 2021 domestic box office is nearing $4.4 billion, which represents a 91% increase from 2020. That isn’t saying much however, as many movie theaters were closed in 2020 and most movies were delayed.

These estimates come from Comscore, which is projecting that overall domestic box office revenues in 2021 are expected to hit $4.4 billion by the end of December. The holiday weekends are typically a busy time at the movie theaters and theaters have been busy recently, especially with the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home. According to Variety, No Way Home so far has hit $467 million domestically and is continuing to break records.

As superheroes save people on screen, they are also saving the screens themselves. The biggest films of the year domestically have been superhero films, mainly Marvel, which includes Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings ($224 million), Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($212 million), and Black Widow ($183 million).

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“It’s been a tale of superheroes, franchise and family films,” says Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst with Comscore.

Outside of the superhero world of films, there have been other successes including No Time To Die ($160 million), F9: The Fast Saga ($173 million), A Quiet Place Part II ($160 million), and Free Guy ($121 million). However, these films are still big, action blockbusters. Films like West Side Story and The Last Duel – lengthy films made for a more adult audience – haven’t fared as well.

Overall, while the box office numbers show promise, it’s still down from 2019, the last normal box office year. The 2021 numbers are 61% lower than they were in 2019. However, 2019 year was a massive year for the box office with films like Avengers: Endgame, The Lion King, Captain Marvel, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and Spider-Man: Far From Home.

There are some factors that may have kept the numbers much lower. For one thing, a vaccine was not readily available until the spring and even still, some people do not feel safe going to the theater. Outside of that, many studios released some films in a hybrid strategy. Warner Bros’s decision to release their movies in theaters and on HBO Max hurt the domestic box office numbers for movies such as The Suicide Squad, Space Jam: A New Legacy, and Dune. Warner Bros. is not planning on continuing this in 2022.

Looking ahead, 2022 has plenty of movies that could potentially bring people back to the theaters and get the numbers back to normal. The MCU is continuing strong with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. DC is coming out swinging with The Batman and Black Adam. Outside of superheroes, there is also Jurassic World: Dominion, the third entry in the Jurassic World trilogy, which has been a juggernaut at the box office. It’s possible that 2022 could be the jumpstart the box office needs.


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Spider-Man: No Way Home surpassed all other movies last week to become the highest grossing film of the year and has now passed $1 billion.

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