After doubling their box office takings over the past five years, the BRIC countries will see combined revenues of $12.1B and account for 25% of global sales by 2017, according to research group IHS. That would put the Big Four on a par with where IHS expects the North American box office to be at that time. (It was $10.8B in 2012.) Driving growth are increased ticket prices and new construction — China is building cinemas daily and is expected to have about 20,000 screens by 2015 alone. IHS analyst Charlotte Jones also noted the loosening of quotas in China for 3D and IMAX films, the popularity of premium pics in Russia and the rise of shopping centers in Brazil as market drivers.

China already has the world’s second-biggest box office at more than $2.7B in 2012. With a strong indigineous market, India is the sixth biggest worldwide; Russia, roundly cited as a key market for sales, is in ninth position; and Brazil, which failed to break the $1B box office mark in 2012, is the 12th-biggest global market. By 2017, Russia and India are expected to land among the top five and leapfrog Britain and France with a projected $2B in revenue, IHS says. Brazil should be ranked No. 10 by that time. The BRIC countries have been steadily climbing, jumping from $3.08B in combined revenues in 2008 to $6.2B in 2012. The region had an average compound annual growth rate from 2008-2012 of 14.9%, whereas other international territories grew 5.5% and North America grew 2.2%. China is the most advanced in terms of digital penetration at 85% followed by Russia, Brazil and India where much work remains, boding well for digital suppliers.