© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Regal movie theater is seen closed days before the gradual reopening of businesses of the rules of the coronavirus disease in Atlanta
By Jill Serjeant LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Hollywood movies saw an unprecedented 80% drop in North American box office revenues in 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic shut down movie theaters and studios held back dozens of releases of new movies. Research firm Comscore said in a year-end report Tuesday that the North American box office grossed $ 2.2 billion in 2020, compared with $ 11.4 billion for 2019. 2020 revenue marked a low of nearly 40. years, according to historical data from Mojo Box Office. The previous lowest grossing of North American box office revenues was 1981, totaling $ 918 million, in a year in which “Superman II” was the biggest movie. Comscore did not release global data for 2020, but Variety said global returns fell 71%. The pandemic forced theaters around the world to close in mid-March, bringing networks large and small like AMC Entertainment (NYSE 🙂 to the brink of bankruptcy. Theaters have yet to reopen in the major US markets of Los Angeles and New York. Some 274 films, including blockbusters such as “No Time to Die,” “Top Gun: Maverick” and the ninth action film “The Fast and the Furious,” were moved to 2021 release dates, according to the Comscore report. That left Sony (NYSE 🙂 Pictures crime scene “Bad Boys for Life,” released in January of last year, as the highest-grossing film in North America for 2020 at $ 206 million. In 2019, “Avengers: Endgame” dominated the national box office with $ 858 million. The Warner Bros. thriller “Tenet,” which was hoping to entice moviegoers back to theaters in the summer, grossed just $ 58 million in the United States and Canada. Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore, said that 2020 revenue, largely from drive-ins, was cause for hope, as some industry observers feared the figure was even lower. “That should be very encouraging to anyone who was worried that he would never go to the movies again,” Dergarabedian said.