USA: The bedrock of global cinema growth Often our industry seems so driven by the pursuit of novelty, emerging territories, new audiences and golden opportunities that it’s easy to overlook established markets — none moreso than the US. David Hancock scrutinises the Domestic box office.
Words: David Hancock/IHS Markit
HILE THE CINEMA WORLD’S focus is
two-thirds of the revenues earned in cinemas every year.
on emerging markets and driving
There are more than 7,000 films produced globally every
new growth for rights holders and
year and yet the world’s cinemas rely on a handful of US
exhibitors alike, it is, nevertheless,
films to draw in visitors and make money. Most domestic-
worth remembering that one market
produced films do not cross cultures like American films.
has been the global underpinning of
In the USA, tentpole movies often make close to as much
the cinema business for decades: the USA. The US market
in their home territory as they do worldwide.
may have diminished in its overall contribution to the
The number of films released in US cinemas is growing
global box office, but that doesn’t make it less important to
steadily every year (777 in 2017 compared to 638 in 2008)
the health of the sector and the viability of the investment
and yet the studios which are shrinking down their output
that is happening in new technologies, new infrastructure
to focus on these bigger films with greater marketing
and other service-related elements by cinemas.
budgets are also increasing their market share. They are all
The data sources often address the North American
operating within larger media entities, and while their
market (USA plus Canada), but I have separated them out
output is significant in driving revenues across these
later where possible. North America registered a gross box
groups, they themselves are relatively small parts of them.
office of $11.1bn in 2017, down slightly on 2017 but similar
The studios are also faced with larger, consolidated
to 2015 and higher than any previous years before that.
exhibitors. Although the media and
Growth is relatively limited as befits a mature market and
consumption landscape is changing
box office movement is usually driven by the performance
around them, they have proved to be
of the films at the top of the market. Having said that, the
relatively successful at adapting to a
market is mature and stable, total box office revenue in
‘Netflix and mobile’ world so far —
North America reached $6.18bn in H1 2018, a 9.6% increase
certainly within the cinema space,
on the same total in 2017. The first six months is the largest
bringing their market share back up
on record (in revenue terms) and the first time box office
to above 80% consistently.
for the first half of the year has exceeded $6 billion. In fact,
in revenue terms, total takings for the first six months of 2018 actually exceeded total annual box office generated some 20 years previously ($5.8bn in 1997).
Hollywood — still home to the stars North America represented 28% of global box office in
“Though the media landscape is changing around them, studios are relatively successful at adapting”
North America had 28% of global box office share in 2017
2017. This is down from 44% back at the beginning of this century. However, the USA remains the single largest box office market and is home to the studios, the entities that made the US the home of the film industry. As an industry, we must not forget or take for granted that it is US films that drive the global box office, earning 2 6
0 9 / 1 8
films were released in US cinemas in 2017 compared to 638 in 2008
12-17 year olds will see around 3.8 3D movies a year