Global box office sales hit $36.4 billion in 2014, a 1% increase, with $4.8 billion coming from China — making it the first global market to exceed $4 billion — the MPAA says today in its latest annual state-of-the-industry report. Last year was the first time revenues from Asia surpassed other regions as defined by the trade group.
Domestic sales at $10.4 billion were down 5% vs 2013, due in part to a 2 percentage point drop in 3D sales to $1.4 billion. Some 229.7 million people in North America went to a movie theater at least once, comparable to 2013. Total tickets sold came to 1.27 billion, down 6% — a drop equal to the decline in per capita sales to 3.7.
“In the past few years, more people than ever before around the world are going to their local cinemas to see movies made by filmmakers in the United States and all around the globe,” MPAA chief Chris Dodd says. “This is not just an American story of success, but a worldwide story about the value of craft, creativity and the importance of a story well told. We tell stories that transcend borders and transform individual experiences into shared ones. 2014 was a strong year, and 2015 is starting out tremendously, with box office in the U.S./Canada up 11 percent in the first two months of this year.”
In 2013 there was a near tie in the box office market share from the MPAA’s three biggest global regions: North America; Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA); and Asia Pacific. But last year Asia clearly pulled ahead with 34.1% vs 29.1% for EMEA and 28.6% for North America.
North American numbers seemed to weaken across the board. The number of tickets sold was the lowest it has been in more than a decade, underperforming the previous low in 2011 of 1.28 billion with 3.9 tickets per capita. MPAA data show that slightly more than half of all tickets are bought by about 11% of the population — people who go to the movies at least once a month. About 32% of the population doesn’t go at all.
The decline in 3D domestically was startling, especially considering that the number of 3D releases hit a new high of 47, up from 45 in 2013. Just 27% of moviegoers saw a 3D film last year, down from 31% in 2013 and a recent high of 52% in 2010 when 3D accounted for 21% of box office sales. The drop was particularly acute among children under 18: Only 40% saw a 3D film in 2014 vs 46% the previous year.
Here’s a graphical look at some of the MPAA’s latest numbers: