By the end of today, the domestic box office per ComScore will have hit the $10 billion mark, doing so in record time: Ten months and 11 days.
Given how U.S./Canada ticket sales have been clicking ahead of last year at the same point in time by 10%, it’s clear we’re headed for a fourth year that will cross $11 billion. 2016 repped a banner year with $11.4 billion and so far 2018 is pacing 5.6% ahead of that Jan.-Nov. 11 period ($9.5 billion).
But without a Star Wars movie at the tail-end of this year, many were expecting us to be down from previous years. Let’s not forget the year-end 2017 holidays got us to a great start: There was $102.9M carryover juice from The Last Jedi, which made $620.1M in its entire run, and $235.5M from Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle which racked up $404.5M in its 2017-18 play.
This autumn and August surprised many. Following Disney/Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp in July ($216.6M), many in the industry thought ‘That’s it’, no more event movies, but since then we’ve seen a season of overindexing, proof audiences prefer the big screen over their 60″ flat screens at home, shelling out for Sony’s Venom ($206M), Warner Bros.’ A Star Is Born ($178M) and The Meg ($143M), New Line’s Crazy Rich Asians ($173.2M) and The Nun ($117.3M), Universal/Miramax/Blumhouse’s Halloween ($156.8M) and 20th Century Fox/New Regency/GK Films’ Bohemian Rhapsody ($100M).
Of course, Marvel greased the wheels throughout the year starting with Black Panther back in February, which remains the year’s highest grosser with $700M. That pic bridged the way to an early summer boom in late April with Avengers: Infinity War which delivered $678.8M in its entire run.
We’re not done yet: Warner Bros. has yet to unleash Aquaman and Fantastic Beasts 2 (which we’re hearing could very well open to $70M next weekend), plus MGM’s Creed II, Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet, Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse, Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns and Paramount’s Bumblebee are on deck.