Revenue at the North American box office clocked in at $11.36 billion in 2016, setting a new high-water mark and up 2.1 percent from last year’s record $11.14 billion, according to comScore estimates.
An official tally will be released Tuesday morning once studios report final numbers for the long New Year’s weekend, although since the year ended on Saturday, comScore is already giving its estimate.
The boom was made possible even as a bad case of sequelitis struck Hollywood, leading to a string of high-profile disappointments and flops. And the relative balance between the major studios grew ever more lopsided, while many mid-range films struggled.
Disney was the year’s big winner and growth driver, capped by Disney and Lucasfilm’s Christmas tentpole Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which will finish New Year’s weekend with nearly $430 million in domestic ticket sales, the second-best showing of 2016 behind fellow Disney release, Pixar’s Finding Dory ($486.3 million).
Disney and Marvel also claim the No. 3 film on the 2016 chart of top earners with Captain America: Civil War ($408.1 million).
Animated family films showed unusual strength in 2016, whether from Disney or other studios. Illumination and Universal’s The Secret Life of Pets is the No. 4 title ($364 million). Illumination and Universal also are seeing huge returns for Christmas entry Sing, which will wind up New Year’s weekend with a total $178 million domestically.
Disney’s live-action family title The Jungle Book rounds out the 2016 top five chart with $364 million.
Fox’s irreverent, R-rated Ryan Reynolds starrer Deadpool will end up being the top-grossing superhero title behind only Captain America: Civil War with $363.1 million to take the No. 6 spot.
Deadpool is followed by Disney Animation Studios’ Zootopia ($341.3 million), Warner Bros.’ Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice ($330.4 million), Warners’ Suicide Squad ($325.1 million) and Dec. 2015 release Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which earned $284.7 million in 2016.
Disney commanded an unprecdented percentage of market share (more than 26 percent), while Warners enjoyed a major rebound.