Global Box Office Revenues Up 1% in 2018, As North America Reaches New Peak

April 2, 2019

The total amount of box office revenues for all films released in countries around the world grew to $41.1 billion last year, representing a 1% increase over 2017’s total of $40.5 billion. That’s according to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which recently released its THEME Report [download page] covering activity in 2018.

In a change from last year, the increase in global box office revenues was despite a decline by the international (non-North American) market, which fell by 1% to $29.2 billion. By contrast, the US and Canadian box office total rallied to surpass the 2016 record ($11.4 billion), up 7% to reach $11.9 billion.

International (non-North American) box office revenues made up 71% of the total for 2018, despite their minor dip. Over a longer time period, international box office revenues have now grown by 12% since 2014, while US and Canadian revenues over that same period have seen a 15% rise.

For comparison’s sake, PwC last year forecast that US box office revenues would grow at a 1.8% annual clip from 2017 ($10.3 billion) through 2022 ($11.3 billion).

Meanwhile, growth was observed across only one of the international regions. The Asia-Pacific region – which is the largest international market – experienced a 5% year-over-year increase, of $0.8 billion to $16.7 billion in revenues. It has also seen a 35% increase since 2014.

While Latin American box office revenues surged in 2017, showing year-over-year growth of 22%, the region experienced just as sharp of a decrease (22%) in 2018. The EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa) witnessed a 3% year-over-year decrease, to $9.8 billion in revenues.

China is by far the single largest international market, accounting for $9 billion in box office revenues last year, making its takings more than 4 times higher than the next-largest market, Japan ($2 billion).

China appears to be closing the gap with North America, as the US and Canada combined for $11.9 billion in box office revenues.

Within the US and Canada, there were 1.3 billion admissions last year, reports the MPAA, equating to 3.7 per capita. This is an increase from 2017, but still falls short of its peak of 4.3 per capita in 2009.

While down from its 2009 peak, the 1.3 billion admissions last year was more than double the number of admissions to Theme Parks (421 million) and major US sports (131 million), combined.

Home Entertainment Market Grows in Clout

Just as admissions and total box office revenue increased in the US and Canada last year, so did the home entertainment market.

In fact, the digital home entertainment market in the US jumped by 24% to almost $17.5 billion in revenues, more than offsetting the 15% decline in the physical home entertainment market (to $5.8 billion). The cumulative effect was a 12% increase in US home entertainment spending, to $23.3 billion.

Globally, consumer spending on home entertainment increased by 16% to $55.7 billion.

The full report can be viewed here.

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