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The domestic box office continues to defy expectations, with 2018 revenue hitting $11 billion on Tuesday and on its way to finishing the year with a record-shattering haul well north of the $11.4 billion collected in 2016.
With 19 days let go, 2018 revenue is running 10 percent ahead of 2017, which collected $11.1 billion all in, and more than 6 percent ahead of 2016’s record-setting bounty, according to Comscore.
Hollywood studios need that cushion, considering there is no year-end Star Wars movie for the first time in four years. Instead, they will rely on a crop of Christmas films that include Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (due out Friday), Mary Poppins Returns (Dec. 19), Aquaman and Bumblebee (Dec. 21).
In 2014 — the last time there was no Star Wars pic — revenue between Dec. 12 and Dec. 31 came in at $832 million, led by The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Box office analysts say they expect this holiday season to be on par with 2014, if not exceed it. That means revenue for the full year could clear $11.8 billion and even approach $12 billion.
Conversely, foreign box office revenue is up less than 5 percent (part of the reason is fluctuating exchange rates).
Domestic revenue hit the $11 billion mark at a record pace this year. It took until Dec. 26 in 2016, Dec. 29 in 2015 and Dec. 30 last year.
The top-earning title of 2018 in North America is Disney and Marvel’s Black Panther, which grossed $700 million domestically. Disney also takes the No. 2 and No. 3 spots with Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War ($678.8 million) and Incredibles 2 ($608.6 million), followed by Universal’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom ($416.8 million) and Fox’s Deadpool 2 ($318.5 million).
Disney, which is on the verge of acquiring 20th Century Fox, commands an unprecedented 27 percent of domestic marketshare. Put another way, Disney is more than $1 billion ahead of the next nearest studio, Universal, in North America. And its global ticket sales have already crossed $7 billion for the year, only the second time that any studio has done so (Disney was the first).
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