2022 U.K. Box Office Up 68 Percent From 2021, But Still Way Off Pre-Pandemic Levels

2022 U.K. Box Office Up 68 Percent From 2021, But Still Way Off Pre-Pandemic Levels

'Top Gun: Maverick' led the charge but Comscore claimed that a full recovery would not be reached until 2024.

The 2022 U.K. and Ireland box office experienced a major increase from the two pandemic-hit years of 2021 and 2020, but still lagged significantly behind pre-COVID levels.

According to newly released figures from Comscore, total figures topped £978 million ($1.18 billion) last year, up a dramatic 64 percent on 2021’s total of $597 million ($720 million). However, the box office is yet to reach the £1.3 billion ($1.57 billion) that it surpassed in each of the five years up to 2019. Comscore suggests a full recovery will be reached by 2024.

“While there remain challenges ahead, 2022 represented for our members a significant further step on the road to recovery after the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” said Phil Clapp, chief executive of the UK Cinema Association. “The response of audiences to a broad range of titles, the support of distribution colleagues and the strong slate already in prospect for 2023 and beyond mean that we can all look to the future with renewed confidence.”

Comscore’s figures put Disney and Universal neck-and-neck for the top distributor of the year, with Disney’s £221.8 million ($267.8 million and 22.7 percent of the total market) just pipping Universal’s £219.3 million ($264.7 million and 22.4 percent) to the number one position.

In total, 911 new titles were released in U.K. and Irish cinemas in 2022, a significant increase from the 503 films that were released in 2021 and almost a return to the peak level of 938 movies in 2019. However, Comscore said there still remains a marked reduction in blockbuster releases due to production delays, with 135 films opening in more than 250 cinemas in 2022 compared to 186 in 2019.

“2022’s box office results were another strong marker for sector recovery, and with an impressive and diverse release slate lined up for cinemas across the whole year, 2023 should continue that upward trajectory,” said Andy Leyshon, chief executive of the Film Distributors’ Association. “Distributors and exhibitors will continue to work together to deliver cinemagoers the best out-of-home experience and we are now on the right track to recapturing those territory box office highs witnessed before the pandemic.”