January B.O. Was The Best Ever

Domestic film boxoffice this year got off to a roaring start, as “Home Alone” and several other strong holiday holdovers propelled January results to $380.1 million. That’s the best January gross ever, up more than 8% from 1990’s $351.7 million.

Ticket sales rose nearly 3% to 78.2 million from 76.2 million a year ago. National average ticket price was just over $4.86 compared with $4.61.

The seasonally adjusted VARIETY Boxoffice Index for January jumped to 172.9 from 160.3 a year ago. The Index base was 100.0 in the base year 1980, so last month’s figure was 72.9% over the average month’s national gross in 1980.

The exclusive VARIETY B.O. reporting survey defines the January period as the first four weeks of the year. The inclusive dates last month were Jan. 2 to 30.

Other leading films last month included “Kindergarten Cop,” “Dances With Wolves,” “Awakenings,” “The Godfather Part III,” “Lionheart,” “Edward Scissorhands,” “White Fang” and “Mermaids.”

The strength of any January boxoffice performance depends almost entirely upon the holdover power of the December holiday period releases. That’s getting more difficult to achieve, considering that many pics open as early as the weekend before Thanksgiving. But there was enough breadth and legs this time to carry over into January. A year ago, there wasn’t that much.

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