2016 Box Office Record Won’t Be Broken Until 2020, Experts Say

CinemaCon 2017: Domestic box office reached all-time high at $11.4 billion last year

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The 2017 CinemaCon convention is well underway, and during the State of the Industry panel on Tuesday, Disney’s head of distribution Dave Hollis shared a harsh prediction, revealing that industry analysts predict the current domestic box office record won’t be broken until 2020.

Revealed in this year’s MPAA annual Theatrical Market Statistics report for 2016, the 2016 domestic box office reached its all-time high at $11.4 billion, up two percent from the previous year. A total of 1.32 billion tickets were sold in North America, a number that held steady compared to 2015.

However, industry analysts project that the domestic box office will remain relatively flat until the year 2020, for which they are projecting $11.5 million domestically.

In 2017, analysts see a decline in domestic box office, accumulating to $11.1 billion; in 2018, analysts predict a return of $11.3 billion; in 2019, it’ll be $11.4 billion.

That seems a little bit surprising, given that the next three years are seeing major tentpole films like “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Wonder Woman,” “Justice League,” “Deadpool 2,” the “Star Wars” Han Solo spinoff and “Secret Life of Pets 2.” In 2018 alone, there will be 40 major tentpole films, according to Cracked.

In 2020, “Godzilla vs. Kong,” “Minions 2” and “Cyborg” are all scheduled for release, but there are countless untitled films still awaiting a formal title.

However, Exhibitor Relations senior analyst Jeff Bock added that the numbers are extremely speculative because no one truly knows what the future holds.

“To tell you the truth though, the domestic box office has been flat–or steady if you prefer–in terms of attendance, for two decades,” he told TheWrap. “The truth is, audience trends can change fast in the entertainment business, while the actual film business is slow to react sometimes.”

The year of 2016 was a solid on for movies, contrary to what analysts had predicted going into it. Top grossing films in the U.S. and Canada in 2016 were “Finding Dory” ($486.3 million), “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” ($408.2 million) and “Captain America: Civil War” ($408.1 million). “The Secret Life of Pets,” “The Jungle Book” and “Deadpool” followed.

“We are pleased with 2016 because everyone said it was down but it was not,” NATO President John Fithian said in a conference call regarding the report last week. “Why was that? We were very pleased that the year was broadly successful — there were lots of different movies produced that were great successes. There were nine movies that grossed more than $300 million, whereas there were six the year before. But it wasn’t just gigantic blockbusters — there are smaller production companies that are making bigger movies appealing to the four quadrants. There were 18 percent more movies released into theaters than 10 years ago.”

Globally, the box office hit $38.6 billion, up one percent from the previous year.