CinemaCon: Global Box Office Hits Record $35.9 Billion in 2013 Thanks to China

Chris Dodd - P 2014
AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Chris Dodd - P 2014

UPDATED: China becomes the first market in history besides North America to cross the $3 billion mark in box office revenue.

LAS VEGAS -- Global box office hit a new record of $35.9 billion in 2013, fueled in large part by explosive growth in China.

At the same time, year-over-year growth wasn't as strong as in 2012.

Worldwide, box office revenue was up 4 percent over 2013, compared to a 6 percent jump from 2011 to 2012 (34.7 billion).

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MPAA chairman-CEO Chris Dodd revealed the final tallies during his state-of-the-industry address at CinemaCon, the annual gathering of theater owners in Las Vegas.

Domestic box office revenues cleared $10.92 billion in 2013, a 1 percent gain over 2012, which enjoyed a 6 percent jump over 2012.

International box office revenue reached $25 billion, a 4.6 percent increase. That compared to a 6.7 percent jump in 2012. The downturn is largely due to declining moviegoing in Europe.

China remained the biggest headline, becoming the first international market in history to cross the $3 billion in ticket sales. Revenue reached $3.6 billion, a 27.5 percent gain over 2012. "And with 13 new screens being built every day, far more growth is coming," Dodd said.

"Let me say congratulations for a fantastic, incredible 2013," Dodd told the packed audience.

In his remarks, National Association of Theater Owners John Fithian said Hollywood did a better of offering a more diverse slate of films, including movies targeting African-Americans and minorities. He also said there were more family films, noting that four of the top-grossing films in 2013 were animated movies, compared to two in 2012.

However, he said Hollywood can still do a better job at programming year-round. 

"Last year I talked about the need to distribute movies in all twelve months. And in some respects, that has begun to happen. Warner Bros., for example, gave us the award winning spectacle Gravity in October, and Sony gave us another successful family title in September," he said.

 Yet we could still use a bit more calendar diversity.  We had virtually nothing for families in the first quarter of 2013, which resulted in a 12 percent drop in that period. And then we had too many family movies packed into summer time, with some cannibalization. Fortunately, that has changed in 2014 as four family movies this first quarter have helped drive 7 percent growth year over year," he continued.