Admissions across Latin American cinemas fell by 80% percent in 2020, according to data from Comscore. The drop is a result of the disastrous effect the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the region, translating into an 81.3 percent decline in box office. The region finished the year with 153.4 million tickets sold for a total of $511.6 million in earnings.
Mexico once again topped the region’s market in box office revenue, ending the year with $190.7 million from ticket sales––an 80 percent year-over-year drop from 2019’s $996.9 million. Following Mexico on the list of Latin America’s top grossing territories are Brazil ($150M, -79%), Colombia ($35.2M, -82%), Argentina ($31.8M, -82%), Peru ($29.4M, -83%), Chile ($18.7M, -86%), and Ecuador ($18.4M, -80%).
2020 Top 10 LatAm Markets (by Box Office)
|COUNTRY||2020 BOX OFFICE (USD)|
|1. Mexico||$190.79 Million|
|2. Brazil||$150.05 Million|
|3. Colombia||$35.21 Million|
|4. Argentina||$31.89 Million|
|5. Peru||$29.41 Million|
|6. Chile||$18.71 Million|
|7. Ecuador||$18.44 Million|
|8. Bolivia||$9.17 Million|
|9. Costa Rica||$6.88 Million|
|10. Panama||$5.83 Million|
Cinemas in Central America were among the most affected by the downturn in admissions. Six of the ten biggest declines in attendance in Latin America were reported by countries from that region: Guatemala (-87%), El Salvador (-84%), Honduras (-84%), Panama (-83%), Costa Rica (-83%), and Nicaragua (-82%). A total of twelve countries in the region reported admission drops of over 80 percent in 2020.
Despite the setbacks, the number of cinemas in the region actually grew during the crisis. Latin America saw an increase of 112 sites and 125 screens in 2020, attributable primarily to the installation of drive-in cinemas across the region. Drive-ins accounted for 84 percent of the region’s new sites. Brazil led the LatAm drive-in boom, with 80 of the country’s 86 new sites going outdoors, followed by Colombia (20 of 22 new sites) and Mexico (12 of 28 new sites).
Mexico-based Cinépolis, which operates 654 sites across 11 countries in the region, finished the year as the top circuit in Latin America by admissions. The chain welcomed over 55 million moviegoers to its screens last year, more than twice the amount of its closest competitor. In total, twelve Cinépolis locations in Mexico finished the year among the 25 top individual theaters in Latin America ranked by admissions. Cinépolis Río Tijuana 19, a short drive from the U.S. border, welcomed more moviegoers in 2020 than any other theater in Latin America. Rounding out the list of top five circuits in the region are Cinemark Latin America (212 Sites, 18.9M admissions), Cinemex (354 Sites, 18.8M admissions), Cineplanet (51 sites, 6.3M admissions), and Cine Colombia (49 sites, 5.3M admissions).
2020 Top 10 Circuits in Latin America (by admissions)
|CIRCUIT||LatAm Locations||2020 Admissions|
|5. Cine Colombia||49||5,352,653|
|8. National Amusements / UCI||24||2,965,748|
|10. Royal Films||58||2,176,325|
On the distribution side, Sony finished the year as the highest-earning distributor in the region with 27.8 million admissions and $98.4 million in box office. It marked the first time Sony topped the distributors list in Latin America since 2005. Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog was the top grossing 2020 release in the region with $44.9 million.
2020 Top 10 Circuits in Latin America (by Admissions)
|1. Cinépolis Plaza Rio Tijuana, MEXICO|
|2. Cine Colombia Centro Mayor Bogota, COLOMBIA|
|3. Cineplanet Mall del Sur Lima, PERU|
|4. Cineteca Nacional Mexico City, MEXICO|
|5. Cine Center SCZ Santa Cruz, BOLIVIA|
|6. Hoyts Unicenter Buenos Aires ARGENTINA|
|7. Cineplanet San Miguel Lima, PERU|
|8. Cinépolis Forum Buenavista Mexico City, MEXICO|
|9. Cinépolis Perisur Mexico City, MEXICO|
|10. Cinépolis Gal Guadalajara, MEXICO|