U.S. Box Office Sank to a 23 Year Low in 2017



The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) released a comprehensive report breaking down the domestic and global box office for 2017, with the North American box office (U.S. and Canada) hitting a new low. While the domestic box office finished at $11.2 billion for the year, just 2% down from last year’s record total of $11.6 billion, the number of actual tickets sold dropped 6% to 1.24 billion, the lowest admissions level since 1995. With a growing Chinese box office market, though, the global box office set a new record with $40.6 billion.

MPAA chief Charles Rivkin acknowledged the significant changes within the entertainment industry in a conference call with reporters, where he was joined by National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) head John Fithian. Fithian downplayed the decrease in ticket sales, noting that, “Admissions have been relatively constant,” while admitting that they have fluctuated throughout the years. Here’s what Rivkin had to say in a statement.

“The theatrical experience is a vital experience between audiences and creators. But beyond the box office, audiences are not limited in how they can enjoy their favorite movies. In fact, films today not only have a second screen, but a third and fourth.”

International tallies rose 7% last year to $29.5 billion, offsetting the North American decrease. While North America remains the largest worldwide box office market, foreign moviegoers represented 73% of the worldwide box office, up 71% from 2016. China remains the second largest box office market in the world, with $7.9 billion in ticket sales last year, up 21% from last year, with their total accounting for nearly four times as much as Japan, the third highest market in the world with $2 billion, with China’s tally also greater than the next four markets, the UK, India, South Korea, France and Germany, combined.

The report also revealed that 12% of the 263 million people who purchased movie tickets last year were “frequent moviegoers,” who head to the theater at least once a month. While they may represent just 12% of all ticket buyers, that group represents 49% of the total tickets sold. “Occasional moviegoers,” who represent 53% of the population, accounted for 49% of all tickets sold. The report also revealed that 24% of the United States and Canadian population didn’t go to the movies even once all of last year.

While North American ticket sales may be on the decline, home entertainment spending on both digital and disc content soared 11% last year to $47.8 billion. Digital home entertainment spending alone, at $13.7 billion, beat theatrical grosses by $2.6 billion, and rose 20% from last year, while international digital home video spending rose 41%. Since 2013, digital spending has rose 16%, while sales of physical media has plummeted 47% in that same timeframe. You can head headover to Deadline for more on the MPAA’s extensive report breaking down theatrical and home entertainment revenue for 2017.



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