‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Top Title as U.K. and Ireland Box Office Soared 64% to $1.1 Billion in 2022

Total box office revenue across the U.K. and Ireland in 2022 was £978. 5 million ($1.17 billion), an increase of 64% versus 2021’s total of £597 million ($719.8 million), according to Comscore Movies’ review of the year.

Prior to the pandemic, annual box office in the territory had exceeded £1.3 billion in each of the five years up to and including 2019. The review anticipates a full recovery by 2024.

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A total of 911 new titles were released theatrically in 2022, up from 503 in 2021 and almost returning to the peak of 938 in 2019. However, there remains a marked reduction in blockbuster releases due to production delays, the review notes. 2019 saw 186 ‘saturation’ releases i.e. films opening in 250+ cinemas, which dropped in 2022 to 135. As the average revenue for each saturation release was £6.4 million in 2022 and £6.9 million in 2019, the review estimates that a return to 2019 levels of saturation releases could add £325–£350 million to annual box office totals.

Final 2022 admission figures are not yet available but are likely to exceed 125 million, up from 80 million in 2021, the review said.

Of the five nations making up the U.K. and Ireland territory, the Republic of Ireland had the strongest recovery in 2022 with its box office 89% higher than 2021 after being subject to the strongest winter COVID-19 restrictions a year ago, including a 50% capacity cap and 8pm curfew. Northern Ireland box office rose by 73% year-on-year, with Scotland up 68%, Wales up 63% and England up 61%.

While Paramount’s Tom Cruise vehicle “Top Gun: Maverick” was the highest earner in 2022 with £83.6 million, Disney had the most titles in the top 10, led by “Avatar: The Way Of Water” in second position with a running total of £51.4 million. The top 10 films accounted for 43.8% of 2022’s total revenue.

Across 18 new releases and 40 pre-2022 holdovers, Disney accounted for £221.8 million (22.7% of the total market), just above Universal’s £219.3 million (22.4%). Warner Bros and Paramount were in third and fourth positions with 16% and 15.5% share respectively and Sony was fifth with 12%. In all, 136 different distributors released films this year. The top 10 distributors’ films accounted for 93.6%, compared to 2021’s 95.7%.

Phil Clapp, chief executive of the U.K. Cinema Association, said: “While there remain challenges ahead, 2022 represented for our members a significant further step on the road to recovery after the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic. The response of audiences to a broad range of titles, the support of distribution colleagues and the strong slate already in prospect for 2023 and beyond mean that we can all look to the future with renewed confidence.”

Andy Leyshon, chief executive at the Film Distributors’ Association, added: “2022’s box office results were another strong marker for sector recovery, and with an impressive and diverse release slate lined up for cinemas across the whole year, 2023 should continue that upward trajectory. Distributors and exhibitors will continue to work together to deliver cinema-goers the best out-of-home experience and we are now on the right track to recapturing those territory box office highs witnessed before the pandemic.”

Top 10 films in U.K. and Ireland in 2022:

1. “Top Gun: Maverick” (Paramount): £83.6 million
2. “Avatar: The Way Of Water” (Disney): £51.4 million – still on release
3. “Minions: The Rise Of Gru” (Universal): £46.9 million
4. “Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness” (Disney): £42 million
5. “The Batman” (Warner Bros): £40.7 million
6. “Thor: Love And Thunder” (Disney): £37.4 million
7. “Jurassic World: Dominion” (Universal): £35.1 million
8. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (Disney): £33.6 million – still on release
9. “Sing 2” (Universal): £32.9 million
10. “Elvis” (Warner Bros): £27.6 million

Top 10 British/Irish films in U.K. and Ireland in 2022:

1. “Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical” (Sony): £22.7 million – still on release
2. “Belfast” (Universal): £15.6 million
3. “Downton Abbey: A New Era” (Universal): £15.1 million
4. “The Banshees Of Inisherin” (Disney): £9.1 million – still on release
5. “Prima Facie – NT Live” [Theater] (National Theatre): £5.4 million
6. “Operation Mincemeat” (Warner Bros): £5.3 million
7. “The Duke” (Warner Bros): £5.2 million
8. “Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris” (Universal): £4.9 million
9. “See How They Run” (Disney): £4.8 million
10. “Living” (Lionsgate): £3.6 million – still on release

Data for both charts from Jan. 7, 2022 to Jan. 5, 2023.

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