Box Office: 'Captain America: Civil War' Leads 2016 With $1.15B

5:30 AM 1/5/2017

by Pamela McClintock

'Finding Dory' comes in a close second with a worldwide total of $1.028 billion as THR ranks the highest-grossing films of the past year.

Warner Bros; Universal Pictures (3); Disney; Marvel; Pixar; Twentieth Century Fox Films

Universal's summer comedy Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping cost $20 million and grossed just $9.5 million. Warren Beatty's Rules Don't Apply flamed out with $3.7 million. And Sony's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk topped out at a scant $1.7 million domestically despite director Ang Lee's previous film, Life of Pi, having grossed $600 million worldwide.

Those unusually weak performances for studio wide releases epitomize the alarming widening of the gap between films that work and those that don't, even as North American revenue hit another record high with $11.36 billion between Jan. 1, 2016, and Dec. 31, a 2.1 percent uptick from 2015's historic $11.14 billion. (Attendance was flat at 1.3 billion.) "2016 was about higher highs and lower lows," says Imax Entertainment CEO Greg Foster. "We're finding that if midlevel movies, as well as certain blockbusters, can't show the goods, they can get clobbered in a weekend to the point of being obsolete and gone by Monday. There used to be a threshold a movie could maintain even if it didn't work."

Case in point: Only 26 titles in 2016 crossed $100 million domestically, the fewest in a decade. A slew of massive bombs — including Ben-Hur, Gods of Egypt, Allied and The Finest Hours — lost more than $1 billion. At the same time, China's growth slowed from 48 percent in 2015 to a scary 3.7 percent. There were "periods of booming business, followed by crushing slowdowns, sequelitis and the increasing influence of social media," says analyst Paul Dergarabedian of comScore.

Disney commanded an unprecedented 26.4 percent of North American market share thanks to Zootopia, Captain America: Civil War, The Jungle Book, Finding Dory, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Moana. Warner Bros. rebounded, and Sony and Paramount continued to fare poorly. Never before has the disparity in market share been so great. "In this first year that all five of our major film brands [Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar, Disney live action and Disney Animation Studios] delivered a film, we saw a focus on quality storytelling with global appeal," says Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis. "Our seven big films averaged 92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and each had CinemaScores in the A range."

Indeed, with social media dictating word-of-mouth and moviegoers becoming savvier to review aggregators, critics have found renewed relevance. "The why does seem to come down mostly to reviews," says Howard Cohen of Roadside Attractions. "Now movies need rave reviews, and there is less margin for error."

This story first appeared in the Jan. 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

(Source: Box Office Mojo)

(Source: Box Office Mojo)

  1. 20

    The Legend of Tarzan

    Warner Bros. (July 1)

    Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

    Rotten Tomatoes %: 35%
    Domestic gross: $126.6M
    International gross: $230.1M
    International % of total: 64.5%
    Worldwide gross: $356.7M

  2. 19

    Independence Day: Resurgence

    Fox (June 24)

    Claudette Barius/Twentieth Century Fox

    Rotten Tomatoes %: 31%
    Domestic gross: $103.1M
    International gross: $286.5M
    International % of total: 73.5%
    Worldwide gross: $389.7M

  3. 18


    Disney Animation (Nov. 23)

    Courtesy of Disney

    Rotten Tomatoes %: 95%
    Domestic gross: $214.3M
    International gross: $189.1M
    International % of total: 47%
    Worldwide gross: $403.4M

  4. 17

    Ice Age: Collision Course

    Fox/Blue Sky (July 22)

    Courtesy of Photofest

    Rotten Tomatoes %: 13%
    Domestic gross: $64.1M
    International gross: $343.7M
    International % of total: 84.3%
    Worldwide gross: $407.7M

  5. 16

    Jason Bourne

    Universal (July 29)

    Universal Pictures

    Rotten Tomatoes %: 56%
    Domestic gross: $162.2M
    International gross: $253.1M
    International % of total: 60.9%
    Worldwide gross: $415.2M

  6. 15


    Universal/Legendary (June 10)

    Courtesy of Universal Pictures

    Rotten Tomatoes %: 28%
    Domestic gross: $47.2M
    International gross: $386.3M
    International % of total: 89.1%
    Worldwide gross: $433.5M

  7. 14

    Kung Fu Panda 3

    Fox/DWA (Jan. 29)

    Courtesy of DreamWorks Animation

    Rotten Tomatoes %: 87%
    Domestic gross: $143.5M
    International gross: $377.6M
    International % of total: 72.5%
    Worldwide gross: $521.2M

  8. 13

    X-Men: Apocalypse

    Fox (May 27)

    Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

    Rotten Tomatoes %: 48%
    Domestic gross: $155.4M
    International gross: $388.5M
    International % of total: 71.4%
    Worldwide gross: $543.9M

  9. 12

    The Mermaid (Mei ren yu)

    China Film Group/Sony (Feb. 19)

    Courtesy of Sony Pictures

    Rotten Tomatoes %: 93%
    Domestic gross: $3.2M
    International gross: $550.6M
    International % of total: 99.4%
    Worldwide gross: $553.8M

    The comedy fantasy is the top-grossing title in China with $526M.

  10. 11

    Doctor Strange

    Disney/Marvel (Nov. 4)

    Courtesy of Marvel

    Rotten Tomatoes %: 90%
    Domestic gross: $230.3M
    International gross: $427.5M
    International % of total: 65%
    Worldwide gross: $657.8M

  11. 10

    Suicide Squad

    Warner Bros. (Aug. 5)


    Rotten Tomatoes %: 26%
    Domestic gross: $325.1M
    International gross: $420.5M
    International % of total: 56.4%
    Worldwide gross: $745.6M

  12. 9

    Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

    Warner Bros. (Nov. 18)

    Warner Brothers

    Rotten Tomatoes %: 73%
    Domestic gross: $225.6M
    International gross: $551.4M
    International % of total: 71%
    Worldwide gross: $777M

  13. 8


    Fox (Feb. 12)


    Rotten Tomatoes %: 84%
    Domestic gross: $363.1M
    International gross: $420M
    International % of total: 53.6%
    Worldwide gross: $783.1M

  14. 7

    Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    Disney/Lucasfilm (Dec. 16)

    Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm

    Rotten Tomatoes %: 85%
    Domestic gross: $440.9M
    International gross: $361M
    International % of total: 45%
    Worldwide gross: $801.9M

    The stand-alone will eclipse Finding Dory's $486.3M domestic mark and likely will become Disney's fourth billion-dollar grosser of 2016.

  15. 6

    Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

    Warner Bros. (March 25)

    Courtesy of Warner Bros.

    Rotten Tomatoes %: 28%
    Domestic gross: $330.4M
    International gross: $542.9M
    International % of total: 62.2%
    Worldwide gross: $873.3M

    Most (including Warners insiders) believe the film would have hit $1B if it weren't for dismal reviews.

  16. 5

    The Secret Life of Pets

    Universal/Illumination (July 8)

    Courtesy of Universal Pictures

    Rotten Tomatoes %: 75%
    Domestic gross: $368.4M
    International gross: $507.1M
    International % of total: 57.9%
    Worldwide gross: $875.5M

  17. 4

    The Jungle Book

    Disney (April 15)

    Courtesy of Disney

    Rotten Tomatoes %: 94%
    Domestic gross: $364M
    International gross: $602.5M
    International % of total: 62.3%
    Worldwide gross: $966.6M

  18. 3


    Disney Animation (March 4)


    Rotten Tomatoes %: 98%
    Domestic gross: $341.3M
    International gross: $682.5M
    International % of total: 66.7%
    Worldwide gross: $1.024B

  19. 2

    Finding Dory

    Disney/Pixar (June 17)

    Courtesy of Pixar

    Rotten Tomatoes %: 94%
    Domestic gross: $486.3M
    International gross: $541.5M
    International % of total: 52.7%
    Worldwide gross: $1.028B

  20. 1

    Captain America: Civil War

    Disney/Marvel (May 6)


    Rotten Tomatoes %: 90%
    Domestic gross: $408.1M
    International gross: $745.2M
    International % of total: 64.6%
    Worldwide gross: $1.153B