During a spring and early summer of corporate angst about the state and fate of the studio business, the box office kept humming along, according to second-quarter figures from the National Association of Theater Owners.
The Hollywood hit parade led to a 23% leap in year-over-year box office revenue, putting the first half of 2018 nearly 10% ahead of last year’s comparable period.
Even factoring out the 4% rise in average ticket prices to $9.27 in the first half, NATO said, admissions rose more than 5% from 2017 levels, to 667,600,919.
Avengers: Infinity War started summer earlier than usual with a powerful April launch, sparking a 17% gain in admissions for the second quarter. Total box office for the quarter came in at $3.335 billion, with the first half reaching $6.189 billion.
After Avengers, which has cumed $672 million domestically to date, the quarter’s other top titles included Deadpool 2, Incredibles 2 and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. According to demographic stats supplied to NATO by comScore, the youngest moviegoers shied away from the big screen in the first half, with audience members 10 and under accounting for 7.2% of the box office for the Top 10 movies of the second quarter, down from 10.5% in the second quarter of 2017. Those aged 10 to 12 showed a similar decline.
The core audience demos were 13-to-17-year-olds and 18-to-24s. with the latter demo accounting for nearly 28% of box office for the quarter’s top 10, compared with 25% a year ago.
Interestingly, given the blitz of effects-driven sequels and franchise titles in the quarter, older moviegoers came out in greater numbers. Ticket buyers 55 and older made up 4.5% of the audience for the top 10, compared with 3% in 2017.