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    Audiences continued to return to movie theatres in 2022, but the market remains less active than before the pandemic

    Québec, June 22, 2023. – In 2022, Québec movie theatres welcomed 11.3 million moviegoers. Despite marked increases in 2021 and 2022, this number remained well below the 18.7 million admissions recorded in 2019, which was the last full year of operation before the pandemic. This finding comes from La fréquentation des cinémas en 2022 : une reprise partielle postpandémie published today by the Observatoire de la culture et des communications of the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

    Number of screenings and admissions to movie theatres in Québec, 2018 to 2022

    Graphique à courbes et à bandes montrant l'évolution de l'assistance et des projections de 2018 à 2022.

    Institut de la statistique du Québec, Observatoire de la culture et des communications du Québec.

    Gradual return of film offering

    In 2022, 485 new releases were screened in theatres, a large increase from 2021 (+36%) explained by the release of several films that had been postponed due to the pandemic. The average number of weeks of operation of movie theatres rose from 25 in 2020 to 35 in 2021, then to 45 in 2022, which led to a significant increase in the total number of screenings (570,000 in 2021 vs. 738,000 in 2022). However, results for 2022 remain below those of 2019, both in terms of new releases (-17%) and total number of screenings (-22%).

    Strong increase in attendance mostly attributable to U.S. films

    Despite a 61% increase in movie attendance in 2022 that followed a similar increase in 2021, the number of admissions to Québec movie theatres was 39% lower than in 2019. The difference was -20% for the top 20 films and -58% for all other films. The gradual return of moviegoers was faster for blockbusters, especially U.S. adventure films (Top Gun: Maverick, Avatar: The Way of Water, Thor: Love and Thunder, etc.), which occupied 8 of the 10 top box office rankings.

    In terms of attendance, the share of U.S. films reached 82%, its highest level since 2017. For Québec films, which had more admissions in 2022 than in 2021 (1 million vs. 0.9 million), this share was 9%, down from 14% in 2021, but up slightly from 8% in 2019. 

    The two biggest Québec hits were 23 décembre and Confessions 

    The most-watched Québec movie in 2022 was 23 décembre (178,000 admissions), a comedy written by author India Desjardins, although it was released in late November. It was followed by Confessions (139,000 admissions) featuring Luc Picard, who also directed the film. Together, they generated nearly a third of admissions to Québec films and ranked No. 20 and 23, respectively, despite heavy competition from U.S. films.

    These results come from the Film Screening Survey conducted by the Observatoire de la culture et des communications of the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

    View the full publication (PDF, 963 ko)


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