Assuming you weren’t living under a rock or stuck in the Quantum Realm, you might have noticed that 2018 was a pretty big year for movies. Huge comic book movies, franchise films and animated hits all brought beaucoup billions to the box office. In fact, 2018 is set to break the all-time box office records, both domestically and worldwide.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, ComScore projects that the North American box office is on track to hit a record $11.9 billion in 2018, up 7% from 2017’s $11.1 billion. If those projections hold true, 2018 will also surpass 2016, which is the previous record holder for domestic box office with $11.4 billion.
The international box office is only projected to see 1% growth from $29.5 billion to $29.8 billion in 2018, but part of that has to do with fluctuating currency exchange rates. Despite the minimal change in the international box office this year, the performance of the North American box office has helped push the worldwide box office to new heights.
The global box office is projected to hit $41.7 billion for 2018, which would be a new record, surpassing the previous all-time high of $40.6 billion set in 2017 by 2.7%.
The bounce back of the box office this year was driven in large part by the performances of the year’s biggest tentpoles. Avengers: Infinity War crossed $2 billion worldwide and Black Panther made over $700 million domestically alone. Other films like Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Venom and Mission: Impossible Fallout also helped bring in audiences to set a new box office record.
If Disney titles seem disproportionately represented in the 2018 box office, there is good reason for that. The Mouse House’s films claim an absurd 27% of the domestic market share and for the second time, Disney’s global ticket sales crossed $7 billion, making it the only studio to ever do so, and it’s done it twice.
It wasn’t just the superhero films and blockbusters either. Movies like A Quiet Place, Crazy Rich Asians, A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody also did their part to ensure that the box office was healthy throughout the year. 2018 is closing out strong too, with a huge performance from Warner Bros.’ Aquaman.
Attendance was also up this year by about 4%, reflecting the drive to see this year’s films in a theater. And in a year where there are more streaming options than ever, this pushes back on the narrative that Netflix is killing the theatrical experience. While it may not be a huge factor, I also wonder how much the new moviegoing subscription services like MoviePass and AMC A-List drove attendance.