US Box Office Primed for 27% Surge in Q4 Recovery

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The US box office is not anticipated to experience year-over-year growth until the fourth quarter, following the disruption caused by last year’s Hollywood strikes which hampered production schedules, according to a note from Macquarie. The brokerage projects fourth-quarter box office revenue to hit $2.4 billion, reflecting a 27% year-over-year increase as the market rebounds from the strike-induced slump.

Macquarie’s forecast follows a challenging second quarter, where box office revenue plummeted 27% compared to the same period in 2023. This downturn led the brokerage to revise its projections for the June-quarter across its movie theater coverage. Despite the gloom, Imax remains Macquarie’s top pick, with Cinemark as the second-favored theater name.

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Analysts, including Chad Beynon, attributed the weak quarter to the lingering effects of the Hollywood strikes, which resulted in a scarcity of blockbuster films. Macquarie’s report indicated that revenue from the top 10 movies in the second quarter saw a 35% year-over-year decline. Notably, only one film managed to gross over $250 million, compared to four films crossing that threshold during the same period in 2023.

Looking ahead to the third quarter, Macquarie forecasts a 16% year-over-year decline in box office revenue, estimating it will reach $2.2 billion. However, recent well-performing releases such as Walt Disney’s “Inside Out 2” and Comcast-owned Universal Pictures’ “Despicable Me 4” provide a glimmer of hope for the industry’s future.

“Inside Out 2” grossed $150 million domestically during its opening and has amassed over $500 million to date, establishing itself as Pixar’s second-biggest opening for a sequel ever, the analysts noted.