The best gauges of recovery lie in the box-office performances of 2019, with monthly comparisons between the 2019 and 2021 totals. Since May 2021, when films grossed only 19 percent of the same month’s earnings two years prior, the improvement has been dramatic. In June, the ratio improved to 35 percent; July, 45 percent; August, 50 percent. Through last weekend, September was 75 percent, although the month will likely end around 65 percent.
That’s still 15 points above August and it’s the most significant sign of recovery so far. Internal economics vary by exhibitor, but with cost reductions and other savings industry sources suggest that reaching a sustained 80 percent would get the industry closer where it needs to be.
By our estimates, October could bring