Star Wars The Force Awakens
Courtesy of Disney

LONDON — The movie theater box-office in the U.K. and Ireland broke all records last year, overtaking 2012 to become the highest-grossing year ever, according to Rentrak. The exact total across the two countries was £1,309,606,400 ($1.91 billion), which represented a 15.3% year-on-year rise, and 11.1% ahead of 2012. The U.K.-only figure was £1,240,384,119 ($1.81 billion), 17.3% up on 2014.

2015 was the year of the mega blockbuster. In 2014, the biggest success was “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” with £41.3 million ($60.2 million), but last year five titles managed to beat this total. “All five were sequels in hugely successful film series, demonstrating the power of the franchise in the current marketplace,” Rentrak stated. Indeed, seven of the top 10 films were sequels (with another based on an international literary phenomenon: “Fifty Shades of Grey,” eighth with £35.1 million/$51.2 million). Only two were original titles: Pixar’s “Inside Out” (sixth with £39.2 million/$57.2 million) and DreamWorks Animation’s “Home” (tenth with £25.4 million/$37 million).

The pics taking the top two spots are no surprise, based as they were on two of the most successful franchises of all time. At number one in the 2015 calendar year was “Spectre” (£94 million/$137 million), the latest in a long line of Bond successes. At number two was “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (£87.1 million/$127 million), the first live-action “Star Wars” film for 10 years. Released on Dec. 17, it passed “Spectre” in the first days of 2016 to become the biggest film released in 2015. It is predicted to overtake “Skyfall” (£103.2 million/$150 million) as the highest grossing film of all time in the U.K. by its fourth weekend.

TOP 10 FILMS IN U.K. & IRELAND IN 2015:
Data up to Dec. 31, 2015
1. Spectre (Sony): £94m ($137m) (still on release)
2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Walt Disney): £87.1m ($127m) (still on release)
3. Jurassic World (Universal): £64.5m ($94m)
4. The Avengers: Age of Ultron (Walt Disney): £48.3m ($70.4m)
5. Minions (Universal): £47.8m ($69.7m)
6. Inside Out (Walt Disney): £39.2m ($57.1m)
7. Fast & Furious 7 (Universal): £38.6m ($56.2m)
8. Fifty Shades of Grey (Universal): £35.1m ($51.1m)
9. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 (Lionsgate): £28.1m ($40.9m)
10. Home (20th Century Fox): £25.4m ($37m)

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