New box office record

  • Business
  • Saturday, 03 Aug 2019

The ultimate villain: Thanos (Josh Brolin) in a scene from Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War.

FROM superheroes to rampaging dinosaurs and rockstar biopics, the global movie industry rakes in billions in US dollar each year and is showing no signs of letting up.

According to Forbes, the global box office recorded a new high in 2018 and hit a whopping US$41.1bil (RM170bil), representing a 1% increase over 2017’s US$40.5bil (RM167bil).

“This is the fifth time in the past seven years that the domestic box office saw an increase over the previous year’s totals. International box office typically enjoys steady increases, due to continued theatre expansion with no end in sight, driven by massive growth in the Asia-Pacific region,” Forbes said in an article dated Dec 31, 2018.

It says Disney’s group of studios easily led 2018’s record-shattering performance, with more than US$5.2bil (RM21bil) in theatrical receipts from their top-performing releases, namely Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, Incredibles 2 and Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Other releases, including Solo: A Star Wars Story, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Christopher Robin, Mary Poppins Returns, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and A Wrinkle In Time brought in more than US$1.4bil (RM6bil).

“Overall, the studio saw more than US$7bil (RM29bil) in box office revenue for the year, giving them a leading share of the marketplace,” Forbes says.

While the crowded Christmas holiday season caused some major releases to slightly underperform against high expectations, Forbes says the lack of a Star Wars film last year opened the door for studios to position a wide array of contenders and resulted in an enormous December box office that drove the year toward a new annual record.

“Warner Bros also had a big year, including their end-of-year release Aquaman which continues to play well beyond most expectations and is headed toward a likely US$1bil (RM4bil) box office cume.

“Warner also saw wonderful returns from Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Ready Player One, The Meg, Rampage, A Star Is Born, and a host of other films representing a lot of genre variety. All told, the studio took more than U$5bil (RM21bil) in ticket receipts around the world.” The United States Not surprisingly, the United States captured the biggest slice of the global box office revenue pie in 2018, growing 7.2% year-on-year to hit US$12bil (RM50bil).

According to The Hollywood Reporter, a US-based digital and print magazine, the top-earning movie of 2018 in North America was Disney and Marvel’s Black Panther, which grossed US$700mil (RM2.9bil) domestically.

“Disney also takes the number two and three spots with Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War (US$678.8mil) and Incredibles 2 (US$608.6mil), followed by Universal’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (U$416.8mil) and Fox’s Deadpool 2 (U$318.5mil).” The Guardian recently reported that Disney has already amassed US$7.67bil (RM32bil) to date in 2019, passing the previous best mark of US$7.61bil in 2016. Disney still has major releases such as Maleficent 2, Frozen 2 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to go, Despite the record box office takings last year, PwC in its US edition: Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2019‑2023 says it expects to see only modest revenue growth in the United States over the forecast period at a 0.8% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR), reaching US$12.5bil (RM52bil) by 2023.

“Slow but stable growth in both admissions and gross box office is also expected,” says PwC.

Notably, it says cinema advertising revenue is a rising star, predicted to reach US$1.1bil (RM4.6bil) in 2023, up from US$952mil (RM3.9bil) in 2018 at a 3.6% CAGR.

“The overall market is becoming increasingly polarised. The rise in attendance and box office has been driven by only a handful of films, with over one-third of 2018’s revenue coming from just 10 films, out of the more than 700 released during the year.

“Nonetheless, production levels remain high, as do the number of cinema screens in the United States (there were 40,535 by the end of 2018, up from 40,393 the year before).” China China was the world’s second largest cinema market last year, with total box office revenue growing 9% in 2018 to US$8.87bil (RM37bil).

According to US-based media company, Variety, the rate of expansion was slower than the year before, when it hit 13.5%, but nevertheless hit the government-set 2018 box office target for 2018. It says Chinese films brought in U$5.53bil (RM23bil) in 2018, making up 62% of the total box office for the year.

“Three huge homegrown hits alone accounted for 17% of the total. In 2017, Chinese films accounted for 54% of the box office. China produced 1,082 films in 2018, up from 970 the year before, though not all received theatrical releases.” Experts forecast that China’s movie market will surpass North America’s in coming years.

“However, the uneven growth of recent years has undone numerous past forecasts of when that might happen,” says Variety.

The report states that the top-performing films at the box office last year were local hits Operation Red Sea, Detective Chinatown 2 and Dying to Survive, which brought in US$532mil (RM2.2bil) US$496mil (RM2bil) and US$452mil (RM1.9bil) respectively. Together, the three accounted for 17% of total annual box office intake.

“The top-grossing foreign film was Avengers: Infinity War with US$349mil (RM1.4bil), coming in fifth overall for the year after local romantic comedy Hello Mr Billionaire, a loose remake of the 1985 comedy Brewster’s Millions that earned US$372mil (RM1.5bil),” Variety says.

According to the report, China now boasts the world’s most screens and continues to build new cinemas, albeit at a slower rate than in previous boom years.

“Chinese companies opened 9,303 new screens in 2018, bringing its total to 60,079 nationwide. The number of new openings is marginally down from 2017, when 9,597 new screens were put up.” India India’s total box office revenue grew to US$2.44bil (RM10bil) in 2018 from US$2.39bil (RM9.9bil) in 2017.

According to a report by Statista Research Department last December, India has been the largest movie producer worldwide for the last few years, releasing more than a thousand films each year.

The Hindi cinema, often known as Bollywood and formerly as Bombay cinema, is the Indian Hindi film industry based in Mumbai. The term is a portmanteau of “Bombay” and “Hollywood,” according to Wikipedia.

According to a report by Kenya-based Tufilamu Pictures, most of the films produced in India are in Hindi or English, ensuring that they can be exported. Bollywood produces films in Hindu and is the largest film producer in India.

“However, despite a large population and the production of many films, India has few film screens compared to other major film producers according to World atlas. India has a screen ratio of one screen per 96,300 compared to one screen per 7,800 residents in the US.

“The other challenge could be unlike the US and Canada where films are created in one language, films in India are created in about 20 languages limiting the film to a particular group of people,” it says.

According to Indian entertainment website, Bollywood Hungama, the top three highest grossing movies in the country in 2018 were Sanju, Padmaavat and Simmba, which raked in 3.42 billion Indian rupees (US$50mil), 3.2 billion rupees (US$46mil) and 2.4 billion rupees (US$35mil) respectively.

The highest grossing Hollywood movie in India last year was Avengers: Infinity War, which took in 2.27 billion rupees (US$33mil).

Japan According to Variety, Japan’s cinema box office dropped by 3% last year to US$2.04bil (RM8.5bil). However, 2018 was the country’s third-highest year on record.

Citing data published by the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan, Variety says Japanese-produced films earned US$1.12bil (RM4.6bil), down 2.8% from 2017.

“They still grabbed a majority of the market for the 11th year in a row, with a 55% share. Admissions for the year totalled 169.2 million, also down 3%,” Variety says.

According to the report, the Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, was the top film of the year, with earnings of U$95mil (RM394mil).

“The biggest local hit with US$85mil (RM352mil) was Code Blue the Movie, a thriller about a helicopter medical rescue team based on a popular Fuji TV series.

“Ranking at number two with US$81mil (RM336mil) was Detective Conan: Zero the Enforcer, the 22nd installment in an anime feature series about a teenage detective trapped in a boy’s body. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was the second-highest-earning foreign film and fourth overall, with US$74mil (RM307mil).” Variety says 31 Japanese films surpassed the one billion yen mark.

“The corresponding figure for foreign films was 23. The number of local films released was 613. There were 579 foreign titles released, for a total of 1,192. It was the sixth year in a row that annual releases exceeded 1,000.” South Korea According to The Hollywood Reporter, South Korea’s total box office revenue increased 3% to reach US$1.62bil (RM6.7bil) in 2018, as the cumulative number of screenings crossed 3,000 for the first time after being in the 2,000 range since 2015. This was due to a considerable jump in the number of new releases to 660 from 495 in 2017, it says.

“Hollywood films made up the majority of the South Korean box office top 10 list for 2018 in a significant shift from past years, even though a local title won out for the year in the Asian country,” it says, citing the Korean Film Council’s Korean Box Office Information System database.

“That more than half of the top 10 films were imports marks a significant shift from previous years: only three foreign titles finished among the best-performing films in 2017, while there were just two in 2016, four in 2015 and four in 2013.”The Hollywood Reporter says the last time Hollywood titles held the majority of the top 10 in the country was in 2010 at 53.4%.

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