If you went to the movies in 2018, then you can give yourself a pat on the back for helping restore a previously struggling industry: movie theaters. A new report published by the L.A. Times states that 2018 box office earnings have reached a record high in the U.S. and Canada, besting 2016's ticket sales earning by 6%. The L.A. Times used a projection from the data firm Comscore, which reports that ticket sales from 2018 amounted to $11.8 billion, while 2016's record came out to $11.4 billion in box office sales.
If you think back to the past year's biggest box office releases, a few major movie titles will probably come to mind as major ticket sellers. Box office reports state that 2018's highest-selling movies domestically include Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Incredibles 2. The highest-earning movie on its own, Black Panther, raked in over $676 million in U.S. box office sales, according to Forbes.
It's worth noting that 2018's movie sales weren't the highest ever, as the most recent peak in domestic attendance occurred in 2002 when 1.6 billion tickets were sold. The L.A. Times reveals the projection from the National Association of Theatre Owners that 2018 saw 1.29 billion tickets were sold.
Naturally, you might be wondering about how much of an impact MoviePass had in all of these ticket sales, and it very well could have made a difference in 2018's numbers. As The New York Times reports, MoviePass gained a million subscribers between August and December 2017, and until summer of 2018, tons of those subscribers were flocking to movie theaters to take advantage of the app's $9.95 a month cost for almost unlimited movie theater tickets. Then, last summer, MoviePass's too-good-to-be-true business model proved, well, too good to be true, but Deadline reports that MoviePass helped inspire another movie theater subscription service, Cinemark's Movie Club. As the L.A. Times points out, AMC's Stubs A-List has turned out to be a huge success, even if MoviePass failed.
The discounted subscription-based deals for seeing movies in theaters like MoviePass might not be completely responsible for causing 2018's record-breaking movie sales. The L.A. Times' report places great value on the quality of films that came out in 2018 for causing an uptick in movie earnings. If you saw Black Panther, you might agree with that assessment.
The new record high in movie theater ticket sales definitely proves that despite the availability and ease of Netflix, people want to go see movies in theaters — that's right, even millennials. And if Hollywood hopes to continue to see a resurgence in theatergoers, it might want to make even more movies starring women. That's because a new C.A.A. study found that movies starring women earned more than movies with male leads over 2014 to 2017, according to the New York Times.
The recent C.A.A., or Creative Artists Agency, study reinforces another report from the same agency from 2017 which stated that "diversity pays," according to the L.A. Times. With two recent C.A.A. studies finding that movies featuring women and people of color perform better at the box office, it seems like Hollywood's job is made easier than ever before. 2019 has the potential to break even more box office records, as long as movies continue to feature more and more women and people of color in starring roles. More back-pats to come.