Over the weekend, the 2022 UK and Ireland yearly box office cume (£607m) surpassed total takings for the whole of 2021 (£597m). After two years of significant COVID-related sector disruption, cinemas in England were able to begin 2022 largely unencumbered by previously necessary operating restrictions. Scotland, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland soon followed suit removing the majority of precautions in late January, with Wales joining by the end of February.

Audience numbers improved significantly across the first half of 2022, with increasingly confident cinemagoers keen to enjoy the wide-ranging slate of films on offer: from action and adventure (Top Gun: Maverick, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, The Batman, Jurassic World: Dominion, Uncharted, Thor: Love and Thunder, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Northman); to comedy (The Lost City, Jackass Forever, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent); drama and suspense (The Worst Person in the World, The Black Phone); family releases (Sing 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Minions: The Rise of Gru, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore); and films for returning older audiences (Belfast, Downton Abbey: A New Era, Elvis, The Duke).

Of the key worldwide theatrical markets, the UK & Ireland has posted one of the strongest recoveries with box office running at 80% of 2019 figures for January to June inclusive. With receipts now already ahead of 2021 and almost double that of 2020’s nadir, full sector recovery looks to be ongoing despite the challenging cost of living increase affecting consumer spending habits across the home nations. In periods of economic upheaval and uncertainty, cinema has often prospered as a relatively low cost, much-needed out-of-home activity. There are still many great films to come this year, head over to the FDA release calendar here for information on upcoming UK and Ireland release dates.