Will Smith and Martin Lawrence star in “Bad Boys For Life”.
The studio with the highest box office in 2020 delayed most of its film until 2021.
After CNBC sifted through Comscore’s data, Sony became the top earner in a year marked by a global pandemic. The studio accounted for 22.2% of the domestic film market and had ticket sales of nearly $ 500 million.
“If you need a symbol of how unusual 2020 was at the box office, look no further than the fact that Sony’s ‘Bad Boys For Life’, a mid-January release, is at the top of the box office for the whole year” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.
The film grossed $ 206.3 million, a far cry from the $ 858.3 million in revenue generated by the top-grossing Avengers: Endgame in 2019.
Sony’s market share was boosted by ticket sales of “Jumanji: The Next Level” and “Little Women,” both released in 2019. The sequel to “Jumanji” was the fourth highest grossing film of the year, while “Little Women” was the eighth.
If you just look at the box office, where the pandemic had to close cinemas by the end of the year, Sony only raised around $ 29 million after March 20.
“The 2020 box office year had a split personality,” said Dergarabedian. “It had a strong market before the pandemic, but its development was badly affected when the theaters shut down in mid-March. It then struggled through the spring, summer and fall with a severely limited number of open theaters and a notable shortage of new films.”
The global coronavirus pandemic has paralyzed the domestic box office, forcing studios to postpone blockbusters and place other major feature films on premium video-on-demand or branded streaming services.
Studios that were able to release films before the pandemic closed theaters in March stuck to their box office earnings and remained the top earners of the year, according to Comscore. These studios’ grossing results were also boosted by films released in 2019 but continued to be in theaters in early 2020.
In fact, the lion’s share of the $ 2.2 billion at the 2020 box office was generated in the first three months of the year. From January 1 to March 19, the US and Canadian box offices achieved ticket sales of $ 1.8 billion, according to Comscore data. The remaining $ 400 million was raised between April and December.
“The pandemic has fundamentally changed the fate of studios and their films, which were either cut midstream in March or postponed for 2021,” Dergarabedian said. “This unforeseen and unfortunate turn of events has made the promising and possibly record-breaking year at the Multiplex one of the toughest for the company.”
Universal was the second highest recording studio in 2020 and achieved a market share of 21.9%. The box office difference between Sony and Universal was only $ 5.8 million.
Universal delayed most of its films until late 2020 or early 2021. However, when the theaters reopened and it became clear that audiences weren’t returning en masse, the studio changed its strategy.
Contracts were signed with several major theater chains in the US and Canada that would enable him to shorten the time his films take to theaters. This allowed the studio to put its films on premium video-on-demand earlier or on its streaming service Peacock, and monetize its film among consumers who were unwilling to leave their homes.
Most of the box office portion of the Comcast-owned studio came from the war drama “1917”, which was released in late 2019. The film received the Oscar for Best Picture in February 2020, which enticed moviegoers to watch it in droves. The film raised $ 158 million in 2020, making it the studio’s highest grossing film and the second highest grossing domestic box office film for the year.
Universal had two major releases prior to the theater closing: “Dolittle” at $ 78 million and “The Invisible Man” at $ 70 million.
A handful of films also hit theaters during the pandemic, including “Trolls World Tour”, “Freaky” and “The Croods: A New Age”. Together, these films made just under $ 50 million.
The studio also benefited from the new releases of Jaws and Jurassic Park, which increased the company’s ticket sales by approximately $ 10 million. These films, which originally debuted in 1975 and 1993, were among the top 20 grossing films to hit theaters between late March and December 2020.
In 2019 the Walt Disney Company released seven films that exceeded $ 1 billion worldwide and accounted for nearly 40% of the domestic box office market share. Between the distribution of Disney films and 20th Century Fox’s newly acquired real estate, which was the largest part of a studio, the company had made more than $ 4 billion in ticket sales.
Just a year later, Disney’s stake shrank to 20% and rose from top cashier to third best after just $ 442 million.
Disney had a jam-packed series of films for 2020. Between the Disney production studios and the newly acquired Fox studio, the company should release around two dozen films. However, the pandemic caused the company to make new plans.
For the most part, Disney pushed out its 2020 titles, including two major Marvel films, “Jungle Cruise” directed by Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson, and an adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s “West Side Story”.
While the majority of Disney’s films have been pushed into 2021, the company offered its live-action version of “Mulan” for $ 30 on its streaming service Disney + in September and hired its Oscar contender, the Pixar -Film “Soul”, free on the platform.
While Comscore is separating Disney and 20th Century as two different distributors, CNBC has decided to combine their ticket sales as both are owned by Disney. Together they have the third largest market share or around 20%.
According to data from Comscore, Disney, as a single distributor, had ticket sales of $ 255 million last year compared to the 20th century grossing $ 187 million. If these numbers had not been combined, Disney would have the fourth largest market share and the 20th century the fifth.
Warner Bros., which sold $ 258 million in ticket sales last year, would have finished third. Compared to Disney and the 20th century, Warner Bros. is fourth.
Rey and Kylo Ren compete against each other in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Disney’s top-grossing film of 2020 was Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which was released in late December 2019. The film, valued at $ 128 million in 2020, was the fifth highest grossing film at the domestic box office.
As with Sony, the majority of Disney’s total box office came from films released earlier this year or holdovers from 2019. “Onward,” “Call of the Wild,” “Frozen 2” and “Spies in Disguise “Everyone contributed to his transport in the first few months of 2020.
“The New Mutants” was Disney’s top-grossing theatrical release during the pandemic. The film had sales of approximately $ 32 million.
Disney also had a number of newly released films that added to its record, including “Hocus Pocus”, “Star Wars”, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Black Panther”. Those titles accounted for nearly $ 30 million from Disney’s Transport.
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.