Domestic Box Office Soars, But International Gross Is Down In 2016


Finding Dory is North America’s highest grosser (for now)

By Danny F. Santos (doddleNEWS)

This year was a good year for Hollywood and another record breaking one to boot. Studios have posted $11.37 billion gross at the domestic box office in 2016, enjoying their biggest year ever according to ComScore (via Variety). That beats the previous high of $11.1 billion that was established back in 2015.

Interestingly ComScore did not calculate the actual number of ticket sold over the year, just the gross. Most studio executives and analysts believe that the amount of people who actually visited the theaters will be remain essentially flat from last year with the gains coming from more expensive ticket prices.

Of all the studios Disney came out on top, despite releasing fewer films than everyone else, with a global take of $7.605 billion at the box office. This marks the first time any studio has passed the $7 billion mark. This is all due to Disney’s strategy for cutting back the number of movies the studio releases per year, but making them all event releases.

2016 saw them release only thirteen films, while in 2017 the House of Mouse will release just eight films. Five of which are sequels along with one documentary, one adaptation, and one original work. Here’s the upcoming slate for this year:

  1. Beauty and the Beast – March 17
  2. Disneynature’s Born in China – April 21
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – May 26
  5. Cars 3 – June 16
  6. Thor: Ragnarok – November 3
  7. Coco – November 22
  8. Star Wars: Episode VIII – December 15

Domestically (North America), here are the top 10 box office winners (via Box Office Mojo):

  1. Finding Dory (Disney): $486,295,561
  2. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Disney): $477,273,354 (still in theaters)
  3. Captain America: Civil War (Disney): $408,084,349 (still in theaters)
  4. The Secret Life of Pets (Universal): $368,384,330
  5. The Jungle Book (Disney): $364,001,123
  6. Deadpool (Fox): $363,070,709 (highest grossing X-Men movie)
  7. Zootopia (Disney): $341,268,248
  8. Batman V Superman (Warner Bros.): $330,360,194
  9. Suicide Squad (Warner Bros.): $325,100,054
  10. Doctor Strange (Disney): $230,920,918 (still in theaters)

Meanwhile, the gains being made domestically are countered by 3.7% drop in the international markets. One of the contributing factors seems to be a much slower rate of growth in China, which enjoyed a 48.7% increase at the box office in 2015, but only 3.7% growth in 2016. The lack of subsidies for online ticketers shot the average price from around $2 – $4, up to $7 – $9 in the Middle Kingdom.

Another problem had to do with constantly fluctuating currency rates, according to analysts. The UK pound alone suffered an 18% hit after the June 23rd Brexit vote to leave the European Union. Here’s what Thomas Molter, Warner Bros. EVP of International Distribution, told Deadline:

“The exchange rates are all over the place, completely volatile. We’re always going to be subject to what could happen politically and economically from a currency perspective. In light of the tumult, the fact that we hit our third biggest year ever is pretty incredible.”

Still, despite the international slowdown, it looks more and more like Hollywood studios are paying more attention to the global markets, as they reap the benefits of an international box office.

Here are worldwide (domestic and international) box office numbers for 2016 (via Box Office Mojo):

  1. Captain America: Civil War (Disney): $1,153.3 billion
  2. Finding Dory (Disney): $1,027.9 billion
  3. Zootopia (Disney): $1,023.8 billion
  4. The Jungle Book (Disney): $966.6 million
  5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Disney): $914.4 million
  6. The Secret Life of Pets (Universal):. $875.5 million
  7. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Warner Bros.): $873.3 million
  8. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (Warner Bros.): $794.9 million
  9. Deadpool (Fox): $783.1 million
  10.  Suicide Squad (Warner Bros.): $745.6 million
About Danny Santos

Freelance writer, filmmaker, actor, musician, and visual artist. Writing online professionally for 4-plus years and has produced and performed in over a dozen films and webseries. He has also been everything from a social media consultant to managing a JUNO award winning musician.