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Rentrak is giving Hollywood and theater owners an early Christmas present, projecting on Tuesday that domestic box-office revenue will reach a record $11 billion in 2015, the first time total ticket sales have hit that mark.
The industry leader for box-office grosses is making the call based on the formidable early performance of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which has crossed a record $300 million in its fifth day in release, and the lucrative Christmas rush yet to come.
If revenue comes in at $11 billion, that would beat the record set in 2013 with $10.9 billion. It also would put North American ticket sales up 6.3 percent over 2014 ($10.4 billion). Through Tuesday, year-to-date revenue is roughly $10.5 billion. Star Wars is expected to continue to do huge business over the holidays. A flurry of other new titles also are hitting the marquee on Christmas Day, including Daddy’s Home, Concussion and Joy. And for families, there’s Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip.
Because of increased ticket prices, record revenue doesn’t equal record attendance. And it’s been a year of dramatic highs and lows, with some Hollywood studios seeing huge misses, most notably Warner Bros.
“Even if attendance were flat or even slightly down over the past few years, the fact that we are breaking records left and right in 2015 proves that, despite a level of competition from the small screen and from myriad entertainment options that is stronger than ever before in our history, the robust nature of the movie industry today is a total win for a decidedly old-school (and arguably the most singular and impactful) way of consuming filmed entertainment,” said Rentrak’s Paul Dergarabedian.
To date, the five top-grossing 2015 movies in North America are Jurassic World ($652.3 million), Avengers: Age of Ultron ($459 million), Inside Out ($356.5 million), Furious 7 ($353 million) and Minions ($336 million). Force Awakens is already No. 6 and is climbing fast. It could come in at $325 million or higher by the end of Tuesday and reach close to $600 million by Dec. 31.
Universal and Disney — whose titles account for 40 percent of 2015 domestic box-office revenue to date at 22.3 percent and 17.3 percent, respectively — own the list. Universal is home to Jurassic World, Furious 7 and Minions, while Disney is home to Marvel’s Age of Ultron, Pixar’s Inside Out and Lucasfilm’s Force Awakens.
Said Dergarabedian, “From American Sniper to Jurassic World to Straight Outta Compton, Creed and, of course, now Star Wars and a slew of great indie fare in between, this was a year that should dispel any notion that the movie-theater experience is an outmoded or irrelevant pastime.”
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