×

Record Breaker! Domestic Box Office Hits New High in 2018

Hollywood got the best gift of all on Christmas Eve. The domestic box office reached a new benchmark even before the busiest time of year for moviegoing commences.

Blockbusters including Disney’s “Black Panther” and “Incredibles 2,” Universal’s “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” and Fox’s “Deadpool 2” drove sales past $11.383 billion, according to Comscore. That puts 2018’s haul ahead of the record $11.382 billion set in 2016, with over a week left to go in the year.

It got more expensive to go to the movies, and ticket prices hit a new high, averaging $9.38 over the summer. But it’s not just the rising cost of admission accounting for the surge. Attendance is also up over 4% from last year.

As of Christmas Day, five of the top 10 biggest domestic releases of the year came from Disney. A pair of Marvel titles nabbed the first two slots, with “Black Panther” generating $700 million and “Avengers: Infinity War” following close behind with $678.8 million. Another set of spandexed heroes nabbed third as fellow Magic Kingdom title “Incredibles 2” amassed $608 million, making it the biggest domestic animated movie of all time. Universal’s “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” ($416 million) and “Deadpool 2” ($318 million) rounded out the top five.

Beyond blockbusters, Hollywood studios managed to field a number of breakout success stories such as “Crazy Rich Asians,” “A Star Is Born,” and “A Quiet Place” that fattened their profit margins. A slew of new movies, including “Aquaman,” “Mary Poppins Returns,” “Bumblebee,” and “Vice,” are expected to fill theaters during the busy stretch between Christmas and New Year’s to cap off a banner year.

The mix of overperforming tentpoles and surprise hits helped alleviate the pressure from some notable flops. Universal’s recent releases “Mortal Engines” and “Welcome to Marwen” were both massive bombs, and could lose the studio around $175 million combined. Lionsgate’s “Robin Hood” and Disney’s “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” are also big-budget duds that failed to recoup production and marketing costs. Even seemingly reliable franchises like “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter” had some missteps. “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” both failed to reach the commercial success of their predecessors.

In any case, it’s no surprise that Disney commands over 26% of this year’s market share and made over $1 billion more than the next biggest studio. That number stands to grow in 2019 when the Buena Vista company acquires 20th Century Fox’s film assets.

It’s unclear if 2018 will reach a global record, though projections show a 3% improvement over 2017 that’s mainly fueled by domestic growth. Industry analysts estimate the international box office will also see a boost around 1% to 2% over last year. A merry Christmas, indeed.

RELATED VIDEO:

More Film

  • Costa Gavras

    Costa-Gavras and Cast on Nationality, Identity, and Cinema

    SAN SEBASTIAN  —  Though he’s been based in Paris since 1955 and came up through the French film industry, director Costa-Gavras has never forgotten his roots. “Those who are born Greek,” said the Peloponnese-born filmmaker at a Saturday press conference,  “stay Greek all their lives.” The once-and-always Greek was not just in San Sebastian to [...]

  • Lorene Scafaria, Jennifer Lopez. Lorene Scafaria,

    'Hustlers' Director Lorene Scafaria: 'We Wanted to Treat It Like a Sports Movie'

    The star-studded cast of “Hustlers” didn’t just become strippers in the empowering female-helmed blockbuster — they also became athletes. When speaking to “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s movie podcast, at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month, “Hustlers” director Lorene Scafaria explained the extreme athleticism required of the movie’s leading actresses, who all had [...]

  • Jonathan Van NessLos Angeles Beautycon, Portrait

    Jonathan Van Ness Reveals HIV Diagnosis, Former Drug Addiction

    “Queer Eye’s” Jonathan Van Ness is getting vulnerable in his new memoir “Over the Top.” In a preview of his book with the New York Times, Van Ness opened up about his early struggles with sex and drug addiction as well as his experience with sexual assault, revealing that he was abused by an older [...]

  • 4127_D022_00003_RC(l-r.) Elizabeth McGovern stars as Lady

    Box Office: 'Downton Abbey' Dominating 'Ad Astra,' 'Rambo' With $31 Million Opening

    “Downton Abbey” is heading for a positively brilliant opening weekend after scoring $13.8 million in domestic ticket sales on Friday. If estimates hold, the feature film version of the popular British television show should take home approximately $31 million come Sunday, marking the biggest opening ever for distributor Focus Features and beating previous record holder [...]

  • Gully Boy to represent India in

    'Gully Boy' to Represent India In Oscars Race

    The Film Federation of India has chosen Zoya Akhtar’s “Gully Boy” as its entry in the Academy Awards’ international feature film category. The picture, a coming of age tale about an aspiring rapper in Mumbai’s Dharavi slum premiered at the Berlin film festival in February before opening to a wave of acclaim at home in [...]

  • Lucy-Lost

    Cartoon Forum: 30th Anniversary, Little Giants and New Generations

    TOULOUSE, France –  Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Cartoon Forum wrapped Sept. 19 having showcased the ever-growing strength of European animation. 85 projects were pitched from 24 countries at the co-production forum platform that played host to north of 1,000 investors, distributors and producers – a record number. Falling on French-speaking Belgium – Wallonie-Bruxelles – whose [...]

  • Renee Zellweger Rufus Wainwright Sam Smith

    Renée Zellweger: Judy Garland Was 'My Childhood Hero'

    Awards buzz is building around Renée Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland, emerging as a frontrunner in the Oscar race for best actress. But for her, the real prize was paying tribute to Garland, of whom she’s been a lifelong fan. “Nobody was prettier, nobody sang prettier…the adventures she had, [she was] my childhood [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content