×

Asia Expands Domination of Global Box Office

Asia’s domination of the global box office became stronger in 2015, according to the the Motion Picture Association of America’s annual survey of the world’s theatrical business.

With gross theatrical revenues of $14.1 billion in 2015, the Asia-Pacific region is now the largest single component of global box office. It far outstrips Europe, the Middle East and North Africa on $9.7 billion.

Asia overtook North America for the first time in 2013 and has pulled away ever since. In 2015 North American grosses were up 8% at $11.1 billion. That makes Asia 27% bigger than the U.S. and Canada. And Asia  also accounted for 37% of the $38.3 billion global theatrical box office that the MPAA reported for 2015.

Both Asia and Latin America displayed 13% annual growth in 2015, but the much smaller base for Latin America, means that performance in Asia will still weigh more heavily on the global totals — as will its inevitable, eventual deceleration. Between 2014 and 2014, Latin American box office grew from $3.0 billion to $3.4 billion, a gain of $400 million. Box office in Asia grew from $12.4 billion in 2014, an increase of $1.7 billion.

That contrasts with the slow pace of theatrical growth in North America (up 15% since the $9.6 billion score recorded by the MPAA in 2008) and the negligible, sideways performance of Europe. EMENA accounted for $9.6 billion in 2008 and has grown only by $100 million seven years later in 2015. In 2008 EMENA accounted for half (53%) of the international score outside of North America, and one third (35%) of the 2008 global total of $27.7 billion. By 2015 EMENA accounted for only 35% of box office outside North America and just 25% of global.

The Asia Pacific performance is made dramatic by the sensational growth of China, which was worth $2.7 billion in 2012 and soared to $6.8 billion in 2015. But the Asia Pacific region has other star performers.

It now accounts for four of the top five international markets: China (1st), Japan (3rd, $1.8 billion), India (4th, $1.6 billion) and South Korea (5th, $1.5 billion) ahead of the major European markets of France (6th), Germany (7th) and Italy (11th). And with Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan and Hong Kong, the region now accounts for eight of the top 20 theatrical territories.

The MPA report shows that Asia now has the largest number of of cinema screens (56,100 at the end of 2015) compared with 42,600 in North America. Revenue per screen for North America remains marginally higher at $261,000 per year, compared with $251,000 in Asia.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • So Long, My Son directed by

    Wang Xiaoshuai's 'So Long, My Son' Earns Six APSA Nominations

    Chinese drama, “So Long, My Son,” was nominated in six categories for this year’s Asia Pacific Screen Awards. The unprecedented haul makes it a clear favorite. The Wang Xiaoshuai-directed drama about separation, secrets, a lifetime of regret, and the consequences of China’s one child policy, had its premiere in February at the Berlin festival. There [...]

  • Alan Rickman

    Film News Roundup: 'Galaxy Quest' Documentary Set for Release

    In today’s film news roundup, rescue drama “Not Without Hope” is back in development, a “Galaxy Quest” documentary is set for release, “The Two Popes” wins another award, and Ella Joyce gets cast. PROJECT REVIVED U.K.-based financing-production outfit Goldfinch has bought feature film rights to Nick Schuyler’s “Not Without Hope” and signed “The Fog” director [...]

  • Ryan Reynolds John Krasinkski

    Ryan Reynolds, John Krasinski in Talks for 'Imaginary Friends' Movie

    Ryan Reynolds and John Krasinski are in talks to board the fantasy comedy “Imaginary Friends” at Paramount Studios. Paramount recently won the bidding for the property over Lionsgate and Sony. Krasinski will write, direct,  produce and star while Reynolds will co-star if the deals go through. The story centers on a man who can see [...]

  • Willem Dafoe attends the "Motherless Brooklyn"

    Willem Dafoe Joins Guillermo Del Toro's 'Nightmare Alley'

    Willem Dafoe has closed a deal to join Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation of “Nightmare Alley.” Collider had first reported that Dafoe was being considered for a role in the film, but sources now say the “Lighthouse” star has closed a deal to join the cast. The “At [...]

  • 'To the Ends of the Earth'

    Busan Film Review: 'To the Ends of the Earth'

    “To the Ends of the Earth,” the story of a young Japanese journalist’s experiences in Uzbekistan filming a report for a Japanese TV travel show, was originally commissioned to celebrate 25 years of cordial diplomatic relations between director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s hyper-developed island homeland and the less affluent, landlocked Central Asian nation. As such we might [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content