Film distributors and exhibitors would love to tell you that theaters are being killed by streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. But yet, here we are at the end of 2018, and all signs point to the fact that not only is the streaming space thriving, but so are the multiplexes.
According to a new report from comScore (via Deadline), 2018 is yet another record-breaking year (at least financially) for the film industry. The company has estimated that by the end of 2018, the worldwide box office grosses will reach $41.7 billion, a 2.7% increase over the previous year. This number has been inflated thanks to the huge growth in the domestic box office, seeing a 7% growth to a whopping $11.9 billion. Internationally, the box office grew only 1% to $29.8 billion. All in all, another stellar year for exhibitors.
Now, before we break down what led to this increase in the domestic box office, we have to admit that just because the dollar amounts are reaching new heights, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a record number of tickets have been sold. In fact, with the rising ticket prices, the number of actual people attending theaters for films is high, but not record-breaking.
That being said, the domestic box office was stellar this year, with “Black Panther,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” and “Incredibles 2.” We had three films eclipse $600 million domestically and one break the $700 million mark. Outside of that, there was just a slew of films that posted impressive domestic totals, with 11 (likely to grow to 13 or more) hitting at least $200 million. All that and we actually had a “Star Wars” film that disappointed with ‘Solo’ coming in just over $200 million, and was projected to do at least $100 million more than that.
Add this news to the fact that a recent survey showed that the increase in the number of movies people watch on streaming services leads to increase theater ticket-buying, and it looks like the theater industry is going to continue to figure out how to thrive in the marketplace. Sadly, that means more blockbuster franchises and tentpole releases. And yes, much, much more Disney-branded projects.
Speaking of the Mouse House, 2019 includes “The Lion King,” “Dumbo,” “Aladdin,” “Star Wars: Episode IX,” “Captain Marvel,” “Toy Story 4,” and of course, “Avengers: Endgame.” So, don’t be surprised if we are back here next year saying the exact same thing.