The impact of cinema closures in 2020 meant that global box office revenue amounted to just 12 billion U.S. dollars, marking a sharp decrease from previous years, breaking the trend which has been ongoing for over a decade. Box office revenue from the United States and Canada accounted for 2.2 billion dollars of the global total, outstripped for the first time by China. In fact, countries ranked in the top five leading box office markets in the world (including the United Kingdom and South Korea, but excluding China) contributed less than two billion dollars each to the worldwide figure. This is not to say however that markets outside of Hollywood fail to produce quality cinema – one look at the Indian film industry, specifically Bollywood, reveals just how successful movies produced outside North America can be.
Insights: international cinema
Movie fans who branch out beyond North American productions will know that there is so much more to cinema than Hollywood. Whilst such films are shown in movie theaters across the globe and arguably attract more commercial success and popularity than productions from other countries, it never hurts to explore beyond the mainstream.
All across the world and especially within Europe, American movies permeate and often dominate box offices as fans expect the opportunity to see global hits like ‘Incredibles 2’ or the latest Marvel movie. Admittedly demand for non-English language movies is far lower and tend not to draw in such large audiences, but still have the potential to be successful. Among the highest grossing non-English language films at the box office in the UK and Republic of Ireland are several movies hailing from China and Spain, including ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ and Guillermo del Toro’s creation ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’. Also in the ranking is Pedro Almodóvar’s 2006 release ‘Volver’ starring Spanish actress Penélope Cruz, who broke into Hollywood after achieving recognition for her performances in ‘Vanilla Sky’ and ‘Blow’.
Outside the movie theater, another avenue through which international movies can achieve success is by being shown at film festivals. Finnish full-length feature ‘A Moment in the Reeds’ was shown 64 times at international film festivals, and hundreds of other productions feature in programs at festivals all around the world every year. One of the most famous film festivals in the world is the Festival de Cannes Film Festival, which is considered highly prestigious and has been running since the 1930s.
Global box office revenue from 2005 to 2020
(in billion U.S. dollars)
Figures for 2005 to 2014 come from MPAA's earlier publications. Values include all films released, regardless of distributor or country of origin. MPAA calculates international box office country-by-country based on a variety of data sources.
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MPAA. (March 18, 2021). Global box office revenue from 2005 to 2020 (in billion U.S. dollars) [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/271856/global-box-office-revenue/
MPAA. "Global box office revenue from 2005 to 2020 (in billion U.S. dollars)." Chart. March 18, 2021. Statista. Accessed January 24, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/271856/global-box-office-revenue/
MPAA. (2021). Global box office revenue from 2005 to 2020 (in billion U.S. dollars). Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: January 24, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/271856/global-box-office-revenue/
MPAA. "Global Box Office Revenue from 2005 to 2020 (in Billion U.S. Dollars)." Statista, Statista Inc., 18 Mar 2021, https://www.statista.com/statistics/271856/global-box-office-revenue/
MPAA, Global box office revenue from 2005 to 2020 (in billion U.S. dollars) Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/271856/global-box-office-revenue/ (last visited January 24, 2022)