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US box office bounces back close to 2013 highs

05 September 2018

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by Anchor

Despite the threat of streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu etc. vying for consumers’ attention and some market commentators predicting its demise for several years now, the US domestic box office is still going strong in 2018. After a lacklustre 2017 (-14.6% YoY), which was one of the worst years at the box office in decades, in which many commentators had started writing obituaries for the tradition of going to the cinema instead of merely streaming movies. This year though several huge hits from some of the most prominent film studios (especially The Walt Disney Co. [Disney]) seems to have finally pushed the US box office out of the doldrums. ComScore reports that this past US Summer season (27 April to the US Labor Day long weekend [1-3 September]) the US box office recorded a near-record take of $4.4bn (we note that this figure does not include this past US Labor Day weekend’s box office takings). This impressive number is very close to topping the previous record – 2013’s banner $4.8bn box office haul. ComScore data show that North American ticket sales will close out the 2018 summer season with a 14%-plus YoY rise (the biggest percentage gain since 1998), fueled by an impressive performance of movies such as Avengers: Infinity War and Incredibles 2, while revenues are up 12.8% YoY. Avengers: Infinity War kicked of the summer US box office season in late April with the highest US opening of all time at $257.7mn. Besides Infinity War, Disney also had three other titles among the Top-10 movies released at the US box office this past summer. ComScore notes that higher ticket prices have been giving a significant boost to box office sales, while Deadline writes that it is estimated that these movies are fueling c. $2.95bn in profit for the major studios after accounting for all “downstream revenues.”

US summer 2018 market share by studio: