The global box office is forecast to reach $29bn this year, up 12% on 2022. That may seem welcome news for cinemas but is not where they want to be. In the three most-recent pre-pandemic years of 2017-2019, the global total averaged $41.7bn, and the $29bn estimate for 2022 is a troubling 30% below that number. One challenge is China, which averaged $7.8bn for the years 2017-2019, but delivered just $4.3bn in 2022 – a shortfall of 45% – and Covid remains a stubborn issue. Another is Russia, where US studio titles are not being released.