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The October box office was bountiful — at least when compared with the rest of the pandemic era.
Combined movie ticket sales in North America checked in at an estimated $637 million, according to Comscore. That’s the most revenue in any month since the COVID-19 crisis shut down theaters and much else in March 2020, although it doesn’t break October records overall.
Leading the October 2021 domestic charge were Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($190.4 million), James Bond installment No Time to Die ($133.3 million), Halloween Kills ($85.6 million), Dune ($69.4 million) and The Addams Family 2 ($52.9 million).
Summer and the year-end holidays are generally the calendar’s box office bright spots, but this year, October was stacked with big-budget tentpoles and other event pics that were finally able to open.
Previously, the top-grossing month of the pandemic era was July 2021 ($583 million), according to Comscore.
Last year, domestic box office revenue for October was a mere $55 million. That was preceded by $789 million in 2019, a record $832 million in 2018, $579 million in 2017, $659 million in 2016 and $721 million in 2015.
The stellar performance of the October 2021 box office across the globe prompted leading analytics firm Gower Street — Comscore’s London-based counterpart — to up its forecast for 2021 worldwide box office revenue from $20.2 billion to $21.6 billion.
That would be 80 percent ahead of 2020 — when numerous theaters across the globe were shuttered due to COVID-19 — but still 49 percent behind 2019.
Worldwide revenue for October came in at an estimated $3.2 billion, 30 percent ahead of Gower’s original estimate of $2.5 billion. That would put the month just 4 percent behind a three-year average of 2017-2019.
Box office revenue in China — now the world’s largest moviegoing market — will hit $7.3 billion in 2021, says Gower. While that still won’t exceed pre-pandemic levels, including a record $9.2 billion earned in 2019, it is a huge gain over last year’s $3 billion.
The box office in North America is projected to come in at $4.7 billion, compared to $2.2 billion in 2020 (the record is 2018’s $11.8 billion, while revenue was $11.4 billion in 2019).
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