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Friday, January 1, 2016

(EXCLUSIVE): 2015 #BoxOffice Sets New All-Time Record

The number was actually a tad below expectations.

Story by Matt Cummings

The 2015 box office results are in, and some Hollywood studios are singing all the way to the bank. The overall domestic number hit a new record with just over $11b, beating 2013's $10.93b. That's a little lower than expected, mainly due to several high-profile disasters including Fantastic Four, Pixels, and Terminator: Genysis. This is the first time that the North American box office has surpassed $11b.

For those of you who think such numbers are bloated due to the high cost of today's tickets, consider another number: attendance at NA theaters surpassed 1.33 billion moviegoers. That's 5% higher than 2014's 1.27b.

But early on, things didn't look so good, even though everyone was expecting top numbers as far back as 2013. The first quarter (January through March) staggered to just $18.87b billion, which only ranked in the middle of the past 10 years. But it was Q2 and Q4 that pushed the market to new heights. Q2 (April through June) took in a near-record $2.537b, losing out to 2013 by only 2.633b. That was led by Jurassic World's stunning $652.2m haul. And our course, we all know what happened in Q4. As of this posting, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set to surpass World and 1998's Titanic in just its third week.

But let's not forget about Q2 (April through June), which was led by Marvel's Avengers Age of Ultron and Inside Out ($356.4m), which promises to lead the Oscar nominations for Best Animated Picture. Ultron was no slouch though, taking in $459m which was good enough for the third-highest performer of 2015. Had World not surprised everyone, would might been talking a greater number for the sophomore release.

WINNERS WIN BIG
There were clear winners and losers in 2015, with just a few studios taking in the majority of the BO totals. Disney will eventually claim four of the top 10 releases, including three of the top five (TFA, Ultron, Inside); Universal had three of the top 10, and will occupy 2nd (Jurassic World), 5th (Furious 7 with $353m), and 6th (Minions at $336m).

In addition to the success of Jurassic World, Universal enjoyed large hauls for Pitch Perfect 2 ($184.3m), Fifty Shades of Grey ($166.2m), Straight Outta Compton ($161.2m) and Trainwreck ($110.2m). This could make the studio the most profitable ever, simply because Disney/BV didn't release as many films as Universal. Mouse House also enjoyed winners in Cinderella ($201.2m), Ant-Man ($180.2m million) and the maligned The Good Dinosaur ($106.6m through December 28th).

LOSERS LOSE BIG
Several studios in 2015 really stunk the place up, even though they had a chance to win big. The much-maligned Sony, who appeared to be teetering on the brink of financial collapse, landed in fifth place with just $0.96 billion. Although it started off slow, much of its losses were recovered by late-season injections from Spectre ($196.5m through December 28), and Hotel Transylvania 2 ($167.8m). In fact, Sony only enjoyed two releases that grossed over $100m.

But the biggest losers were Lionsgate and Paramount. As of this posting Lionsgate took in just $661.4m and Paramount clinging to just $649.1m We'll see what effect Daddy's Home will have on Paramount's bottom line, but not eve the wildly successful Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation could lift their spirits. The same goes with Lionsgate's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2. Its $265.9m earnings through December 28 represent the lowest for the series; combined with The Divergent Series: Insurgent's disappointing $130.2m, it's clear the YA genre is in big trouble going forward.

Lessons Learned
And yet with all of these massive numbers, Hollywood was dealt several difficult (and potentially shattering) lessons. CLICK THIS LINK to see what steps we think Hollywood can immediately take to guarantee an even bigger 2016.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.

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