China has become the first market outside of North America to see box office revenue cross $4 billion, according to the Motion Picture Association of America’s annual report.
Revenue in China hit $4.8 billion in 2014, up a staggering 34 percent over 2013.
Overall, global box office revenue hit $36.4 billion in 2014, up only 1 percent from 2013, the lowest uptick in recent times. The insignificant growth is partially due to a downturn in moviegoing in North America, where revenue was down 5 percent ($10.4 billion).
International box office revenue hit $26 billion in 2014.
The MPAA says Asia, and China in particular, were the major reason why worldwide revenue was up at all.
But MPAA chairman-CEO Chris Dodd takes a more optimistic view of the changing global marketplace, stating, “This is not just an American story of success, but a worldwide story about the value of craft, creativity and the importance of a story well told. We tell stories that transcend borders and transform individual experiences into shared ones. 2014 was a strong year, and 2015 is starting out tremendously, with box office in the U.S./Canada up 11 percent in the first two months of this year.”
Paramount’s Transformers: Age of Extinction was the top grossing title of 2014 worldwide with $1.091 billion in ticket sales — including a record-breaking $301 million in China, where it earned more than in North America ($245 million).
The downturn in North America came even though films released by MPAA member studios increased for the first time in five years to 136 titles. Total films released by non-MPAA members increased by five percent.
The share of movie tickets sold to those between the ages of 40 and 59 hit an all-time high, while the share of tickets sold to those 60 and older (13 percent) was at its highest level since 2011.
In 2013, worldwide revenue clocked in at $35.9, up nearly four percent over 2012, which enjoyed an even bigger growth spurt with revenue up more than six percent over 2011.