COVID-19 causes nearly 82% drop US, Canada box office revenue

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The movie industry in the US suffered greatly due to the Coronavirus pandemic as box office numbers in the US and Canada dropped off significantly compared to prior years.

According to data presented by, the number of movie tickets sold in the US and Canada dropped by almost 82% in 2020 compared to the movie tickets sold in 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in 2020 was felt all around the world and impacted many industries negatively. The film industry was one of the hardest hit as both supply and demand were both adversely affected as the virus forced people to shelter home and isolate.

This meant significantly fewer people able to go to the cinemas, as well as fewer movies being made as logistical demands brought on by the pandemic made it nearly impossible to shoot a full-blown Hollywood movie.

As a result box office revenue and movie tickets sold from the US and Canada dropped by nearly 82% in 2020 compared to 2019. 2020’s recorded revenue of $2B in 2020 is the lowest box office revenue seen from the US and Canada since 1981 when there was just under a billion dollars of box office revenue.

The pandemic’s effects are even more pronounced when box office revenue for 2020 is broken down to weekly numbers. Box office data shows that in the 11 weeks prior to lockdowns across North America, box office earnings amounted to almost $1.7B up until the week of March 19. In the 36 weeks that followed, up until the week of November 26, box office revenue only totaled $212M.

Sony recorded the largest box office revenue in the US and Canada with a total of $495.5M for 2020. $206M came from their major hit ‘Bad Boys for Life’ the latest instalment of the Bad Boys movie franchise which was the biggest box office hit of 2020. Universal and Disney/Fox also had respectable box office revenues with $429M and $413.6 respectively.

Only four other movies recorded more than $100M in 2020 – 1917 ($157.9), Sonic the Hedgehog ($146.06), Jumanji: The Next Level ($124.73) and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker ($124.49).