Moviegoers wear face masks in a movie theater almost six months after it closed due to the coronavirus pandemic on July 24, 2020 in Beijing, China.
China News Service China News Service Getty Images
In a year overshadowed by a deadly global pandemic, Japan’s coffers set a new record.
An animated film based on a popular manga called “Demon Slayer”
Japan, an island nation in East Asia with a population of more than 126 million, has had less than 300,000 cases of coronavirus and has seen its coffers alone fall 46 percent in 2020 to $ 1.27 billion.
In comparison, the domestic box office crushed 80% to $ 2.28 billion, as coronavirus cases in the United States exceeded 21.6 million since the beginning of the pandemic. Canada, an employee of the local box office, has seen less than 645,000 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Japan is just one of many countries in the Asia-Pacific region of the world that have managed to navigate the coronavirus pandemic in such a way that the number of cases remains low and consumer confidence remains high.
In places like China, Australia and South Korea, where Covid cases have dropped significantly, analysts and operators see cash registers recovering and thriving.
In fact, the Asia-Pacific region saw an increase in market share in 2020. While the global box office was significantly lower last year – about 70% of what it was in 2019, or about $ 12.4 billion, Asia -The Pacific region accounts for 51% of ticket sales. In 2019, these countries accounted for 41%, according to Comscore and analysis by Gower Street.
By comparison, in 2019, the box office of the United States and Canada accounted for 30% of ticket sales worldwide. In 2020, this market share has fallen to only 18%.
The Asia-Pacific region has made great efforts to combat the coronavirus, including stopping travel, establishing large-scale tests and tracking contacts, mandatory masks and enforcing strict rules for social distancing. Regardless of each country’s approach, their ability to reduce coronavirus cases and reopen their economies shows that if the United States is able to do the same, they could see similar results.
So far, the coronavirus response in America has been slow and cases continue to rise to historic levels, with hospitalizations and deaths also rising.
Since August, when most cinemas worldwide reopened, the Asia-Pacific region accounts for nearly 78% of the total box office worldwide.
The reason why these countries managed to bounce back after the wide closure of theaters is twofold, said Paul Dergarabedyan, a senior media analyst at Comscore.
First, these countries have managed to control their outbreaks by blocking, introducing contact tracking and implementing mask mandates. The reduction in the number of cases and the strict preventive measures have instilled a greater sense of confidence in potential moviegoers.
Second, these countries had to release new, non-Hollywood films. Internally, the box office stopped because there was no new product for the public to see. Even when theaters reopened with limited capacity, most of the films that were shown were inherited titles such as Star Wars, Jaws, and Goonies.
In the Asia-Pacific region, the studios had a steady stream of new content to lure people away from their couches. And moviegoers found themselves in crowds.
China has two films generating more than $ 400 million at a local box office: The Eight Hundred, a war drama set in the 1930s, and My People, My Homeland, a five-story comedy film. Both films were released in the second half of the year.
By comparison, the highest-grossing film in the United States and Canada in 2020 is Sony’s film about the bad boys. The action film, starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, is the third film in the Bad Boys franchise and was released in January, before the virus began to spread in the United States. He raised $ 204 million during his theaters.
No film released in Bulgaria in the second half of the year is close to $ 100 million in revenue.
Universal’s animated family film “The Croods: A New Age” and Warner Bros. ‘The sequel to the superhero “Wonder Woman 1984” has both grossed less than $ 30 million in the country. “Tenet,” another Warner Bros. title, was released over the weekend over $ 60 million during its theatrical campaign.
“Undoubtedly, the road to a normal market on the big screen will take a lot of time and a lot of patience,” Dergarabedyan said. “But the lessons learned from the example of countries that have come back strongly over the last many months show that Covid’s well-managed response and attractive new films together can provide the spark to ignite box office prosperity now and in the future.”
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. “The Croods: A New Age” is a universal NBCU film.