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Summer Box Office Snaps Back After Dismal 2017

After last summer’s dismal returns, the box office finally has a good story to tell.

Popcorn season, which officially came to a close after Labor Day Weekend, topped $4.39 billion in 2018, according to comScore. It’s not a record-setter by any means, but it does mark a 14.4% increase from 2017.

A number of overperforming blockbusters propelled theatrical revenues ahead this summer. “Avengers: Infinity War” broke records with its heroic $257 million opening weekend, while “Incredibles 2” became the first animated movie ever to surpass $600 million at the domestic box office. “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” and “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” have yet to catch up with their predecessors, but they’ve still gone on to do huge business in North America.

It wasn’t just superhero sequels and action flicks that delivered. Original property such as “The Meg,” “Crazy Rich Asians,” and “Book Club” became surprise hits that helped bolster the box office. Successes like “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” “RBG,” and “Eighth Grade” proved summer isn’t just a dumping ground for major tentpoles, and indies, too, can find their footing in the heat of popcorn season.

Disney brought in over $1.4 billion alone, carrying 33.5% of the market share. Universal trailed with $822 million (18.7% of profits), while Warner Bros. followed behind with $546 million, or 12.42% of the earnings.

Last year represented the worst season the movie industry had seen in a decade as big-budget flops brought back disastrously low receipts. The four-month period finished with $3.8 billion, marking a 14.6% dip from the previous year. The best summer season still belongs to 2013, when revenues hit $4.75 billion.

A healthy summer season put the box office as a whole 9.9% ahead of 2017. Without a Marvel movie or “Star Wars” sequel to cushion the holiday season, studios are banking on titles like “Mary Poppins Returns,” “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” and “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch’ to keep momentum going through the end of the year.

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