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2018 Worldwide Box Office Hits Record as Disney Dominates

2018’s movie business hit all-time benchmarks of $11.9 billion in North America and $41.7 billion globally, with Disney taking in nearly a fifth of that figure.

ComScore announced the official 2018 final figures Wednesday with Disney taking in $7.33 billion globally last year — the second-biggest year for a studio in industry history, behind only Disney’s own 2016 record of $7.61 billion. Its domestic box office hit $3.09 billion as a new industry record ahead of Disney’s previous record of $3 billion in 2016, as “Black Panther,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and “Incredibles 2” each surpassed $600 million this year. International box office was $4.23 billion, Disney’s second-biggest year.

More than one in four of U.S. moviegoing dollars went to Disney, as its domestic market share was 26.1% despite only releasing 14 films all year.

Studio chairman Alan Horn said in a statement, “Thanks to the support of fans of Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios, and Lucasfilm around the world, it’s been a monumental year for The Walt Disney Studios. I want to especially acknowledge Marvel Studios’ pivotal year, during which ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ sparked conversation and broke records and expectations to cap an unprecedented first decade for this exceptional studio.”

Worldwide moviegoing gained a healthy 2.7% with most of that hike coming from North America, where domestic grosses surged 7% from 2017. Four titles joined the $1 billion worldwide club: “Avengers: Infinity War” ($2.05 billion), “Black Panther” ($1.35 billion), Universal’s “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” ($1.3 billion), and “Incredibles 2” ($1.24 billion). Sony’s “Venom” finished in fifth place worldwide with $855 million, followed by Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” with $791 million.

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Universal edged Warner Bros. for second place in North America with $1.96 billion to WB’s $1.93 billion, followed by Sony with $1.28 billion, Fox with $1.24 billion, and Paramount with $757 million. Lionsgate saw domestic grosses plunge by more than half to $389 million, followed by STX at $269.6 million and MGM at $164 million.

The year alleviated fears that the domestic movie business would continue to struggle as it had in 2017, with a 2.3% decline in North America amid concerns that streaming services were pulling apart the customer base. Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comscore, said the major studios have responded well with figuring out which movies will attract crowds.

“2018 was an incredible record-breaking year that not only saw the highest revenue ever achieved, but also represented an increase in actual attendance over 2017,” he said. “An incredibly diverse slate of films combined with a love for the movie theater experience and the need for escapism that was the hallmark of last year’s success looks to continue in 2019, with ‘Glass’ expected to enjoy one of the best January openings ever over MLK weekend.”

Upcoming titles include “The Lion King,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Toy Story 4,” “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” and “Star Wars: Episode IX.”

“2019’s hit parade gives the industry the potential to blow the doors off 2018’s impressive box office haul,” Dergarabedian added.

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