A summer of mammoth blockbusters helped 2015 to become the biggest year on record at the global box office as cinema takings topped $38 billion for the first time ever.
Analysis firm Rentrak reported that the global box office had been bolstered by a series of mega hits, including Universal’s Jurassic World and Marvel’s latest superhero behemoth Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak, said that this new global box office record proved that going to the multiplex remains an important leisure activity even in the world of streaming services and online piracy.
“The importance of the international marketplace to the overall success of the motion picture studios, the exhibition business and the movies themselves cannot be overstated, with key territories across the globe plus North America providing the collective horsepower to push us near the $40 billion mark for the first time ever. Following hot on the heels of a record-breaking first-time ever $11 billion-plus year at the box office in North America, this global record proves that going to the movies is a beloved pastime that is enjoyed throughout the world, with moviegoers from a wide array of backgrounds and cultures all coming together for the shared in-theater experience.”
Four of the seven highest-grossing films of all time were released in 2015, with the top five films of the year – Jurassic World, Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Minions – crossing the coveted $1 billion milestone to bolster the year’s global box office haul.
The total global box office figures are even more remarkable given that one of the year’s biggest hitters, in the shape of Star Wars, was only entering its third week of release when the figures were calculated. Many prognosticators are suggesting that the film could top Avatar to become the biggest global box office hit ever.
China was a big part of 2015’s global box office success, as well. The country’s annual box office rose to $6.8 billion, according to Variety, which was a near 50 percent increase from 2014. This is despite China’s well-publicized quota system, which minimizes the number of foreign films that can be shown in the country in order to preserve the nation’s industry.
It’s not all plain sailing in the world of cinema, though. A year as good as 2015 at the global box office inevitably presents the subsequent 12 months with a tough act to follow. Although 2016 promises such major films as Captain America: Civil War and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, there are few movies on the slate likely to hit the heights of Star Wars.
CinemaBlend, reacting to a doom-filled report from investment firm Morgan Stanley, agreed that 2016 might spell disappointment when the global box office figures are revealed.
“After a quick scan of 2016’s current list of up and coming titles, we’d have to agree with the folks at Morgan Stanley, as there’s very few titles we’re truly amped over. Surely Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Captain America: Civil War are big ticket titles that’ll bring the thunder, and the new Ghostbusters reboot is going to at least draw enough of a crowd to spark an all out flame war on the internet. But besides those titles, what does the future look like for Hollywood’s cash cow?”
Whatever lies ahead for the movie industry, 2015 was a hugely successful year at the global box office. Superhero movies and animated comedies are still raking in the dollars from moviegoing audiences and the lure of the big screen is holding firm in the face of online threats.
The global box office is certainly going to keep surging whilst Star Wars is still around.
[Photo via Universal]