Summer Box Office Review: Despite Post-Pandemic Progress, Theaters Are Still in Trouble

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While blockbusters brought in billions, the effects of the pandemic are still taking their toll on the release slate and major cinema chains

Elvis Top Gun Maverick box office
"Elvis," left, and "Top Gun: Maverick" were among the big movies of summer 2022. (Warner Bros., Paramount)

With two weekends left in the summer box office season, the numbers are clear: Gross receipts are down about 23% from 2019 levels — which means that there was significant recovery from the pandemic, but still not enough to stave off crisis for many movie theater chains.

The final summer 2022 domestic total is set to finish at approximately $3.37 billion, down from the $4.34 billion seen in 2019, according to estimates by Comscore. (The summer season is defined as lasting from the first Friday in May through Labor Day, which means the record-setting $473.8 million opening week of “Avengers: Endgame” isn’t included in that 2019 total.