Was it a banner or bust year?
As of December 28, 2016 here are the top ten movies at the box office (worldwide) for movies that were released in 2016:
#1 – Captain America: Civil War with $1,153 billion in box office
#2 – Finding Dory with $1.027 billion in box office
#3 – Zootopia with $1.023 billion in box office
#4 – The Jungle Book with $966.6 million in box office
#5 – The Secret Life of Pets with $875.4 million in box office
#6 – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with $873.3 million in box office
#7 –Rogue One with $789.7 million in box office
#8 – Deadpool with $783.1 million in box office
#9 – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them with $747.5 million in box office
#10 – Suicide Squad with $745.6 million in box office
The domestic totals have some slight movement within the top ten. Rogue One moves all the way up to #2 even though it opened on December 16, 2016. Finding Dory finished at #1 domestically while Captain America: Civil War dropped to #3. Doctor Strange moved into the top ten at #10, knocking Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them out of that top ten.
Disney and Warner Brothers are the only studios with anything to cheer about regarding the box office numbers for this year. Disney had five of the top ten movies at the worldwide box office and six of the top ten films at the domestic box office. If you add the nearly $800 million in worldwide box office earned in 2016 by Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Disney’s 2016 was especially bright.
Warner Brothers did score with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Suicide Squad. The only top ten film for Fox was Deadpool and Universal’s Secret Life of Pets was their sole entry among the big winners.
The news is not all good for the studios in general. While domestic grosses increased a bit, attendance figures were almost unchanged, up a very narrow one-half of one percent. Considering that domestic attendance peaked at 1.6 billion in 2002 and hasn’t come close to that total since (2016 will be right around 1.3 billion), it is increases in ticket prices that is driving the slight growth in box office totals. The worldwide numbers will come out in January but projections are that the total worldwide box office gross will be down in 2016 compared to 2015.
2016 was filled with sequels that did not perform up to expectations. The list includes the latest Star Trek, Bourne and Ice Age releases. X-Men: Apocalypse had a production budget of close to $180 million and did only $544 million worldwide. Passengers was the first big budget “flop” for Jennifer Lawrence but that had more to do with the movie than the box office power of its star.
There are a number of big-budget films coming out in 2017. How will they do? We shall see.