International Box Office Estimated to Top $30 Billion for First Time Ever

Growth of Asian markets expected to keep global totals above $41 billion despite year-over-year drop in North America

The international box office will exceed $30 billion in annual grosses for the first time ever, according to 2019 estimates from analytics group comScore.

The estimates, which were released on Sunday, report strong growth in several overseas markets, but especially in Asian countries like China, South Korea and Japan. France, Germany, Mexico and Spain are also reported to have record years at the box office. This international growth will make up for a year-over-year loss at the domestic box office, keeping global totals above $41 billion for a second straight year.

Domestically, the 2019 box office was unable to fully recover from a poor first quarter that was the lowest since 2013. But thanks to a strong nine-month period driven primarily by Disney releases like “Avengers: Endgame,” “The Lion King” and “Frozen II,” annual totals were able to rise above $11 billion, while the year-to-year deficit was cut from 11% at the end of April to currently approximately 4%.

The final domestic total is expected to finish either slightly above or slightly below the $11.37 billion total earned in 2016, which currently stands as the second highest annual total ever in industry history. Similarly, the final global annual total is expected to finish slightly below the $41.7 billion earned in 2018.

A cyclical downturn both domestically and globally is expected in 2020 due to the lack of an event release on the level of “Avengers” or “Star Wars” on the slate. But the current batch of holiday releases, from blockbusters like “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” to awards contenders like “1917” and “Little Women,” are expected to give Q1 of the new year a better start than 2019 got. That will lead into a wide release slate that includes films like “Mulan,” “Black Widow,” “Wonder Woman 1984,” “In the Heights” and “No Time to Die.”

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