It would seem that everything’s coming up roses for the Walt Disney Co.’s film production divisions.
With yet another box office winner under its belt as the success of Star Wars: The Last Jedi continues to outsell 2016’s Star Wars: Rogue One, Disney has claimed three of the top five spots for domestic gross box-office dollars in 2017.
Film and Theater Industry Leaders Fight for Bigger Slices of Smaller Pie
The Last Jedi sold an impressive $533 million in tickets in 2017, Disney’s number-two film, Beauty and the Beast, sold $504 million and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 sold $390 million.
This is an impressive feat during a time when movie attendance has dropped to a level not seen since the 1990s and domestic sales have fallen about 2.3 percent in 2017. According to The Wall Street Journal, that means only about $11.1 billion in box office sales were up for grabs in 2017. Disney’s top three films took home a total of $1.427 billion alone.
Although they were highly dependent on higher ticket prices to make up for the lack of bodies in seats last year, theater owners are optimistic going into 2018. So far, the biggest winter film releases seem to be a mixed bag. Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has had a fair showing, as has Universal’s Pitch Perfect 3 and Twentieth Century Fox’s The Greatest Showman.
The Drama Behind the Dramas
Other titles, like Sony’s All the Money in the World haven’t fared as well.
Despite, or perhaps because of, the widely publicized accusation of sexual misconduct by actor Kevin Spacey, the film simply hasn’t been able to sell tickets. Ridley Scott went as far as to reshoot all of Spacey’s scenes with Christopher Plummer, delivering the new version of the film with only days to spare, but even all this behind the scenes drama didn’t seem to be enough to drum up enthusiasm.
Many of these films have yet to be released in China, the world’s second-largest box-office market, so only time will tell how they perform overall. Hollywood is becoming increasingly dependent on the opinion of its Chinese fans, as ticket sales soar there. In 2017 alone, the people of China spent 13.5 percent more on movie tickets than in the year prior, spending about $8.5 billion total at the box office.