UK box office on track to top £1bn for the first time since 2019

Dumb Money starring Paul Dano as Roaring Kitty.
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The 2023 box office is looking healthier than the last few years, but there’s still some way to go.

In case you missed all the millions of op-eds on the subject (some of them from us – you’re welcome) 2023 has been a pretty good year for the big screen experience.

Buoyed up by the surprise success of Barbie and Oppenheimer, the UK box office is currently sitting 8% higher than it was at the same time last year, according to Comscore. That puts it on track to cross the hallowed £1bn mark some time in the last two weeks of 2023 (our money is on Wonka putting it over the line before then, but don’t hold us to that).

At the very least, cinematic income is heading in the right direction. 2022, largely helped by Top Gun: Maverick, saw a 64% increase on 2021’s pandemic-afflicted takings, petering out at £978.5 at the end of the year. But we’re still a way off from 2019’s £1,254m – the second biggest year at the UK box office since 1970 (the highest being 2018 with £1,387m).

The total November gross, too, was slightly below the same time last year. Where the popularity of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever saw revenues soar to £64.8m in 2022, this year’s MCU offering The Marvels hasn’t got as rapturous a reception. In the end, 2023’s November gross stands at £58.9m.

Hoping to drag the UK over the £1bn line are Chocolate Factory prequel Wonka, out on the 8th of December, and fish-featuring sequel Aquaman 2, out on the 21st of December. Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé also debuted this weekend, and seems to be doing rather well.

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