The global box office topped $38 billion for the first time in history, Rentrak reported on Sunday.
Ticket sales reached landmark levels on the strength of a blockbuster-heavy slate of films that included four of the seven highest-grossing films of all time in “Jurassic World,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Furious 7.”
Those four films, and “Minions,” all topped $1 billion in ticket sales, the first time that has happened in a single year.
These pictures helped the North American box office rebound from a down year in 2014, with ticket sales climbing 6.3% domestically to more than $11 billion. It also got an assist from China, where receipts topped out at $6.8 billion, a nearly 50% improvement from the previous year. Those gains came despite the fact that the Chinese economy slowed to its lowest growth rate — an official 7% — in over a decade.
Nor was China the only problem spot in the globe. Russia’s currency continued to teeter, the Euro lost value relative to the dollar, and the debt crisis in Greece sent shockwaves throughout Europe. Moviegoing remained popular despite the tumult, although the weaker European currency did negatively affect the foreign grosses of U.S. blockbusters.
Final ticket sales are still being tallied, so it’s possible that receipts could end up even closer to $40 billion for the calendar year. As it is, the worldwide haul will be at least a 3.5% hike from last year’s record-setting $36.7 billion haul and a 5.8% rise from 2014’s $35.9 billion in revenue.
Looking ahead, the box office faces some headwinds. There are concerns that 2016 won’t be able to surpass last year’s results, because films such as “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Captain America: Civil War” won’t be able to match the “Star Wars” and “Jurassic Park” sequels.