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U.K. Box Office Had Best-Ever Year in 2017, Thanks in Good Measure to Disney

The U.K. box office saw its highest-grossing year ever in 2017, fueled strongly by Disney films, three of which landed in the top five.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which is still on release, took the No. 1 spot. The latest “Star Wars” installment garnered £73.1 million ($98.9 million) in 2017, placing first in the calendar year ahead of another Disney picture, “Beauty and the Beast,” with £72.4 million, according to data from ComScore. The studio’s “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” ranked fifth, pulling in £41 million.

The third- and fourth-highest-grossing films were Warner Bros.’ “Dunkirk,” which raked in £56.6 million, and Universal’s “Despicable Me 3,” with £47.8 million. “Paddington 2,” “It,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” and “La La Land” rounded out the top 10.

Disney only released six movies through the year but was the top distributor with £265.1 million, or 19.2% of the total. Warner Bros. ranked second with £223.2 million, ahead of Universal, which earned £214 million. Fox was fourth with £207.5 million and Sony fifth with £138.4 million. The top five accounted for 75% of the market. Together, Disney and Fox – which have initiated a merger – represented a third of the total.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi” has already surpassed 2015’s “Rogue One,” and will break into the top five grossing films in British history by the end of its run.

Overall, 2017 was the most lucrative year ever at the U.K. box office, up 3.6% from 2016 at £1.3 billion, according to ComScore. The percentage increase is actually higher on a precise like-for-like basis, as 2016 was a 53-week year in terms of the box office.

Admission figures for 2017 have not yet landed but are expected to come in above the 2016 total. The number of films released, 874, was slightly lower than the 900 in 2016, with streaming players such as Amazon and Netflix offering original movies and accounting for the shortfall.

ComScore said that the U.K. box office will likely see a five-way battle between some much-anticipated pictures in 2018: “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” and “Coco.”

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