UPDATED with top film figures: IMAX has set itself a new milestone, crossing $1B at the 2018 worldwide box office. This is the first time in the company’s 50-year history that it has reached the benchmark. The group’s global tally, expected to be $1.002B by the end of today, was driven primarily by Hollywood blockbusters, but also includes another IMAX record with local-language pics accounting for more than $100M of the total.

Disney/Marvel movies lead the Hollywood pack with Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther the Nos. 1 and 2 earners. Warner Bros/DC’s Aquaman, currently at No. 6, is still in play and should reach No. 4 by December 31. On the local-language side, eight of the major titles hail from China, a market that regularly throws off strong returns for the large-format outfit. They include Operation Red Sea, Detective Chinatown 2 and Dying To Survive. (See below for the full Top 10 lists.)

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Six of the Top 10 highest-grossing IMAX films of 2018 featured IMAX DNA, meaning they were either shot with IMAX cameras or featured IMAX expanded aspect ratio to deliver audiences up to 26% more picture, only in IMAX. Upcoming in 2019 are such IMAX DNA pics as Fox’s Alita: Battle Angel, and Disney’s Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame and The Lion King.

IMAX is also ramping up its local-language business, having more than doubled its output since 2016. Along with the Hollywood blockbusters it releases, the company sees a big opportunity with local which is good for the industry as a whole; when a homegrown film does well, it helps all boats to rise. A next step will be to get that IMAX DNA into local titles, likely to begin with China.

IMAX Corporation CEO Rich Gelfond says the overall 2018 performance “indicates that blockbuster content experienced in the best premium environment is bigger than ever before. Our global platform in 80 countries eventicizing worldwide movies continues to resonate with audiences. As studios and streaming companies keep focusing their slates on more blockbuster films, particularly in 2019, we see a strong opportunity to continue as a destination of choice for consumers.”

As of September 30, 2018, there were 1,443 IMAX theater systems (1,346 commercial multiplexes, 13 commercial destinations, 84 institutional) operating in 79 countries.

TOP 10 IMAX FILMS OF 2018
Avengers: Infinity War: $143.58M
Black Panther: $81.11M
Jurassic World: $66.75M
Mission: Impossible – Fallout: $53.6M
Ready Player One: $52.12M
Aquaman: Currently $43M, projected to reach $63M by Dec 31
Venom: $42.84M
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald: $40.02M
Ant-Man and the Wasp: $32.1M
The Meg: $29.91M

TOP 10 LOCAL-LANGUAGE IMAX FILMS OF 2018 
Operation Red Sea (China): $22.71M
Detective Chinatown 2 (China): $11.55M
Dying to Survive (China): $9.47M
Monster Hunt 2 (China): $6.96M
Hello Mr Billionaire (China): $5.62M
Project Gutenberg (China): $5.09M
Shadow (China): $4.01M
Detective Dee 3 (China): $3.64M
Along with the Gods (Korea): $2.96M
Padmaavat (India): $2.68M