April box office down 34% amid ‘thinner’ film slate

April box office down 34% amid ‘thinner’ film slate
Kung Fu Panda 4 topped April box office (Credit: NBCUniversal/Dreamworks)

Total UK and Ireland box office in April reached £60.6m, down 34% compared with April 2023.

Year-to-date box office is now tracking 3% down compared with the year before.

The April decline can be attributed to the exceptional performance of last year’s spring hit The Super Mario Bros Movie, which topped the chart with £47.7m during its April run (total box office: £91.9m).

In comparison, the top film last month was Kung Fu Panda 4, which earned £9.9m in April, or £19.9m total to date, followed by Amy Winehouse biopic Back to Black (£9.7m), Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (£6.7m) and Alex Garland’s Civil War (£5.5m).

Comscore UKI April box office

Tom Linay, content business director at Digital Cinema Media (DCM), the UK’s largest cinema advertiser, told The Media Leader: “Nothing has really underperformed [in April] — the film slate is just a bit thinner than we’d have liked.”

That has led to reduced box office figures and attendance compared with last year, he explained, adding that DCM was generally pleased with Q1’s cinema attendance.

The “thin” April box office slate is due in part to the impact of last year’s Hollywood writers’ and actors’ strikes, which delayed development on a slew of films. What has resulted is an uneven film slate throughout the year, according to Linay.

“The industry is banking that if we dip in Q2, it will be rectified in Q3 and Q4,” he said. “Once you get to September, I think the impact of the strikes is kind of dissipated.”

It is plausible that unevenness in box office performance persists through the summer. As Linay noted, a year-on-year decline in box office is likely to occur again in July, given last year’s “Barbenheimer” effect. Superhero flick Deadpool & Wolverine, which debuts in July, could perform well and still fail to come close to last year’s box office figures.

May is shaping up to be a stronger month for releases, particularly in the genres of action and family films. They include The Fall Guy (Universal), Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (Warner), Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (Disney), If (Paramount) and The Garfield Movie (Sony).

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