Moviegoers are leaving their couches for theaters, bringing summer box office sales closer to pre-pandemic levels. | Techno Glob

It is becoming clear that viewers are no longer satisfied with just sitting on the couch to watch movies. Not only are they returning to movie theaters in theaters, theater operators say they’re opting for more expensive tickets and spending more on concessions.

at the end of the week, Disney’s The latest Marvel Cinematic Universe film, “Thor: Love and Thunder,” opened domestically to nearly $145 million in ticket sales and drew nearly 10 million moviegoers to theaters.

With additional ticket sales from movies hopeful and Skydance’s “Top Gun: Maverick,” Universal “Minions: The Rise of Grove” and “Jurassic World: Dominion” as well as Pixar’s “Lightyear” and Warner Bros. “Alice,” the domestic box office for the weekend raised about 240 million dollars.

That’s up from $185 million in the same weekend in 2019, according to data from Comscore. At the time, Marvel’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home” joined Disney’s “Toy Story 4” and “Aladdin,” Universal’s “Tonight,” Warner Bros.’s “Annabel Comes Home” and A24’s “Midsummer” at the box office. was on top. ”

“We were up and down this weekend,” said Brooke Bagby, executive vice president of B&B Theaters, a regional, Midwest-based theater chain with more than 50 locations. “Friday was our biggest day of the year and the biggest since ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ opened in December.”

With new blockbusters driving more people to theaters, the summer in the U.S. and Canada is down just 12 percent compared to the pre-pandemic summer.cAccording to Comscore data. Between May 1 and July 10, the box office grossed $2.27 billion from tickets. This compares to 2.58 billion dollars during the same period in 2019.

So far this year, the domestic box office has amassed more than $4.25 billion in ticket sales through Sunday. That’s 30 percent below pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

“Since the beginning of the summer, and since the release of ‘Doctor Strange,’ the studio has been stacking one great movie after another,” said Jeffrey Kaufman, senior vice president of film and marketing at Malco Theaters. “It has inspired moviegoers and they have responded to fun, exciting and entertaining films.”

Movie theater chains big and small are benefiting. AMC Entertainment, the world’s largest movie theater chain, reported its highest global attendance of the year this weekend, with over 5.9 million moviegoers. Its global admissions revenue rose 12 percent for the same weekend in 2019, it said Monday.

“Box office results week after week this summer have demonstrated what we at AMC have always believed to be true: consumers want to experience their movies through an unparalleled movie theater experience, with its big screen, loud sound and comfort. With. big seats,” Adam Aaron, CEO of EMC, said in a statement.

Begbie of B&B Theaters also told CNBC that moviegoers were choosing the premium format in large numbers before the pandemic. This includes IMAX, Dolby, 3D and other experiences that offer immersive settings or panoramic screens. He added that the audience is spending a lot on food and beverages.

B&B Theaters predicts it will end the year with same-store sales down 10 percent, based on movies coming out in the next few months and an expected break between August and October.

“I wish there was more production, but luckily the titles we have are incredibly strong,” he said.

The total number of movies with major releases in 2022 is down more than 30 percent from 2019, said Paul Degarabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore.

Still, audiences will have plenty of content to choose from between now and the end of the year. Disney to release ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Warner Bros. And DC has “Black Adam” and “Shazam: Fury of the Gods.” universal Set to release Jordan Peele’s “No,” and sony The highly anticipated “Bullet Train” is.

Closing out the year will be Disney’s “Avatar: The Way of Water,” the first planned sequel to the highest-grossing film of all time.

“Moving is a habit,” Kaufman said. “Once people get into the habit, they always find the movies they want to watch.”

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal is the distributor of “Minions: The Rise of Grove,” “Jurassic World: Dominion,” “No,” and “Yesterday.”

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