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Disney Becomes Box Office Champ for Second Year in Row

UPDATED: For the second year in a row, Disney has nabbed the domestic box office crown, with $2.41 billion banked in 2017 thanks to its one-two punch of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Beauty and the Beast.”

As of the end of the year (updated from Dec. 25), Disney had a 21.7% market share compared with Warner Bros. at 18.3% and $2.03 billion, according to box office tracker comScore. The gap between Disney and Warners widened during the final days of 2017, with “The Last Jedi” dominating moviegoing.

The two studios also finished first and second in 2016, when Disney took in $2.85 billion and Warner Bros. followed with $1.88 billion. And in both years, Disney released far fewer titles than other Hollywood studios with 16 in 2016 and only 12 last year, led by “The Last Jedi” with $517.2 million and its live-action “Beauty and the Beast” reboot, which remains the top domestic grosser of the year with $504 million.

Disney-Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” was the studio’s third-highest earner with $389.8 million, “Thor: Ragnarok” with $309.1 million, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” with $172.6 million, “Coco” with $167.3 million, and “Cars 3” with $152.9 million.

Warner Bros., which released 31 titles, actually beat Disney to the $2 billion mark this year, hitting the milestone on Dec. 10. In its best domestic performance since 2009, the studio was led by “Wonder Woman” with $412 million and “It” with $327 million. The studio’s superhero tentpole “Justice League” disappointed with $225.5 million — the 11th-highest of 2017. Christopher Nolan’s awards contender “Dunkirk” took in $188 million domestically and “The Lego Batman Movie” scored $175.8 million.

Universal finished in third with $1.53 billion domestically and a 13.75% market share from 17 titles. “Despicable Me 3” was its top grosser with $264 million, followed by “The Fate of the Furious” with $225.7 million, and surprise horror hits “Get Out” with $175 million and “Split” with $138 million. “Girls Trip” broke the R-rated comedy slump and was another overperformer with $115 million.

Fox followed in fourth with $1.43 billion and a 12.87% share from a leading 38 titles. The fate of Fox is in Disney’s hands following the Dec. 14  announcement of a $52.4 billion deal for Disney to buy 21st Century Fox assets.

Fox’s top domestic performer was “Logan,” Hugh Jackman’s final movie as Wolverine, with $225 million, followed by DreamWorks Animation’s “The Boss Baby” with $175 million. “Hidden Figures” made $167 million and “War for the Planet of the Apes” grossed $148.8 million. Both “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” and “Murder on the Orient Express” finished with just over $100 million each.

Sony came in fifth with $1.06 billion for an 9.5% market share from 23 films. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” was by far its top performer with $334 million, the fifth-best domestic performer of 2017. “Jumnaji: Welcome to the Jungle” hit $169 million in the last dozen days of 2017.  “Baby Driver” was Sony’s only other title to top $100 million with $107.8 million.

Lionsgate took the sixth spot with $885.1 million for an 7.96% market share with 31 movies. “La La Land” was its best performer with $120 million after reeling in $31 million at the end of 2016, followed by surprise hit “Wonder” with $121.6 million in eight weeks and “John Wick: Chapter 2” with $92 million.

Paramount switched places with Lionsgate to wind up in seventh with $522.7 million with a 4.9% share from 18 pics. “Transformers: The Last Knight” was its top performer with $130.2 million, followed by “Daddy’s Home 2” with $101.8 million.

The final 2017 North American box office haul declined by 2.3% to $11.12 billion from last year’s record-setting $11.38 billion. Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore, said major and indie studio output was impressive and boasted titles that both garnered critical raves and inspired audience enthusiasm.

“Superheroes were among the best box office performers in 2017 as were horror films that in North America alone generated over $1 billion in box office,” he added. “Though R-rated comedies were resoundingly rejected by most audiences with a couple of exceptions, the year-end marketplace has provided a cinematic wonderland of awards-caliber specialty films along with the traditional big-budget holiday season fare.”

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