With all the talk this year of the lack of originality in Hollywood, it turns out that sequels and standalone movies within existing franchises fueled the domestic box office to breaking a record it set last year.
Ticket sales have hit the $11 billion mark for the second consecutive year, according to ComScore (as reported by Variety), and before the year is out the domestic box office total will hit $11.3 million, besting last year’s record of $11.1 billion.
Last year it was Universal that carried the heavy load, as blockbusters like “Jurassic World,” “Furious 7,” and “Minions” made the studio the top earner domestically of 2015. And, of course, Disney’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” gave the industry a year-end jolt of over $900 million domestically when it opened in mid-December.
In 2016, it was not just the assumed monster hits but overachievers that made for a record-breaking year.
While “Finding Dory,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” and “Suicide Squad” all performed as expected (despite sour reviews for the two latter titles), “Deadpool” ($363 million in the US) “Zootopia” ($341 million), “The Secret Life of Pets” ($368 million), and “The Jungle Book” ($364 million) all exceeded studio projections that kept the industry on pace when it went through a rocky summer (ticket sales were down 10% from last year).
And a “Star Wars” movie will again be the anchor to the finish line in 2016. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” has made over $300 million domestically in just two weeks in theaters and is poised to beat out “Finding Dory” ($486 million) for the top domestic grosser before the year is out.