People have been flocking to the movie theaters this summer, some to relive the nostalgia of watching Tom Cruise fly in a fighter jet or others donning formal clothes to take part in a quirky trend that became known as the “Gentleminions.”
Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick and Minions: The Rise of Gru are just two of a handful of summer blockbusters giving the pandemic-decimated new life.
Plano-based movie theater chain Cinemark’s quarterly results Friday validated that the bounceback is building. The company reported revenue of $744 million for the April through June period, marking its highest quarterly revenue since before the COVID pandemic began in early 2020. That’s a stunning turnaround from the pandemic low of $8.9 million during the same three-month period in 2020.
CEO and president Sean Gamble credited the strong revenue growth to “continued improvement in consumer sentiment” and a “more consistent release cadence of compelling new films.”
“Cinemark fully delivered on this sustained recovery in the second quarter,” Gamble said in a statement.
Yet the company that operates 521 theaters in the U.S., South America and Central America still posted a net loss of $73.4 million for the quarter, cutting its loss from a year ago by roughly half. Cinemark’s subscription service, Movie Club, has grown and hit the 1 million subscriber marker during the recent quarter — 10% more than it had prior to COVID-19.
The big question is if the industry can ride the summer momentum through the rest of 2022. There are some headwinds with concerns over a lack of upcoming new releases, but the company said customers feel comfortable returning to theaters.
In a survey of moviegoers by the National Research Group, 88% responded that they were “very or somewhat comfortable” going back to the theaters and box office numbers across the industry are on the road to recovery.
Elvis and Jurassic World Dominion are among other films being credited for this year’s domestic box office surpassing the 2020 and 2021 amounts. July is the first month since December 2019 to gross over $1 billion at the domestic box office, according to the National Research Group, and it was the closest any month has come to meeting its pre-pandemic average box office sales, getting to 91% of the 2015-19 average.
There’s still a way to go for box office sales to be back to where they were before 2020. From 2010-19, box office sales topped $10 billion on an annual basis and over 800 movies were released each year dating back to 2012.
Only 1,178 films have come out since 2020 and this year’s total box office sales are at $4.8 billion.
At the midway point of this year, Cinemark’s revenue from tickets and concessions stands at $1.2 billion – a nearly 195% increase over the same six-month period last year. More than 85 million people watched movies in its theaters, paying an average ticket price of $7.26 and spending an additional $5.39 per patron on concessions.