UK box office hits record high in 2016

Disney enjoys the biggest-ever year for any distributor of all time with $370.3m (£300.7m).

UK box office hits record high in 2016

Scroll down for top ten films/distributors

The UK box office broke its all-time record for the second consecutive year in 2016.

According to figures from comScore for date from January 1, 2016 to January 5, 2017, the total gross across the UK & Ireland was £1.329bn, up 1.45% on 2015’s £1.310bn. Due to the drop in the strength of the pound, the dollar amount for last year is significantly down on 2015.

While last year was propelled by the mighty double-bill of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Spectre, this year was led by a broader range of titles. In 2015, the top five films accounted for 26% of ticket sales, whereas last year, they contributed 18.5% and 12 films grossed over £30m, compared to eight in 2015. Overall, 899 films and events were released in cinemas at an average of 17 per week.

“Appealing to a wide range of audience sectors rather than relying on a small number of record-breaking titles was the factor that made 2016 a success,” commented Lucy Jones, executive director at comScore.

“Many people who hadn’t been to the cinema for a while made their first trip in 2015 to see Star Wars or Bond, and that reminded them how enjoyable cinema can be. New innovations in cinemas - such as bigger screens, VIP seating and boutique experiences in ambience and food & drinks - complemented the wide range of films released this year, and brought people back again.”

comScore anticipates there will be more than 900 releases in 2017, including around 100 event cinema shows.

December admissions for 2016 have yet to be confirmed and, as of the end of November, 2016 was 0.3% down on 2015 at 153m. Last year ended with 171.93m admissions.

Top ten films

In terms of the top ten films of 2016, Universal’s The Secret Life Of Pets was the only original title. Seven of the top ten were sequels, prequels or spin-offs, with one other based on a comic book (Fox’s Deadpool) and one a reboot (Disney’s The Jungle Book).

Disney’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ended the year as the biggest film of 2016 with $69.4m (£56.4m) as of January 5 and is still on release. It could cross the £60m mark this coming weekend.

Four other films took over £40m: Warner Bros’ Fantastic Beasts ($64.2m/£52.1m); Universal’s Bridget Jones’s Baby ($59.2m/£48.1m); Disney’s The Jungle Book ($56.9m/£46.2m); and Disney’s Finding Dory ($52.8m/£42.9m).

Disney leads the market

Universal’s all-time record only lasted one year as Disney achieved the biggest-ever year for any distributor with a whopping $370.3m (£300.7m) in 2016, topping Universal’s $344.8m (£280m) from 2015.

That accounted for 22.62% of the overall market, up on Disney’s 20.73% in 2015. Despite only releasing 11 films in 2016, they had a remarkable five films in the top ten, including the $44.2m (£35.9m) taken by Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2016.

Led by the huge success of 15-rated superhero outing Deadpool ($46.5m/£37.8m), Fox took second in 2016 with a total haul of $261.7m (£212.5m) for a 15.98% share of the market, up on 2015’s 15.37%.

Last year’s champion Universal fell to fourth with a total gross of $225.8m (£183.4m) and a market share of 13.79%, down on 2015’s 21.08%, despite the bumper success of Bridget Jones’s Baby with $59.2m (£48.1m).

Warner Bros took third place narrowly behind Fox with a total haul of $248.7m (£201.9m) for a market share of 15.19%, almost double its 2015 share of 8.18%. Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts was its biggest hit of the year with $64.2m (£52.1m) to date.

eOne UK top indie

As revealed earlier this week, Entertainment One (eOne) regained its title as the UK’s leading independent distributor in 2016 with a $135.3m (£109.9m) total gross - a market share of 8.27% (up on 2015’s 3.76%).

The result means that eOne UK has crossed the £100m mark twice in the past decade and marks their biggest-ever year. Its leading title was Steven Spielberg’s The BFG which marched to $37.9m (£30.76m), providing 27.99% of the distributor’s overall 2016 haul.

Last year’s leading indie Studiocanal fell behind Lionsgate with a total haul of $26.3m (£21.4m) and a market share of 1.61%, as Lionsgate grossed $66.8m (£54.2m) for a market share of 4.08%, up on 2015’s 3.84%.

Top ten market share

RankingDistributorGrossMarket share
1Disney$370.3m (£300.7m)22.62%
2Fox$261.7m (£212.5m)15.98%
3Warner Bros$248.7m (£201.9m)15.19%
4Universal$225.8m (£183.4m)13.79%
5eOne UK$135.3m (£109.9m)8.27%
6Sony$107.5m (£87.3m)6.56%
7Paramount$85.7m (£69.6m)5.24%
8Lionsgate$66.8m (£54.2m)4.08%
9Studiocanal$26.3m (£21.4m)1.61%
10Entertainment$23.7m (£19.2m)1.45%

Top 10 films in UK & Ireland in 2016 *

RankingFilmDistributorGross
1Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryDisney$69.4m (£56.4m)**
2Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find ThemWarner Bros$64.2m (£52.1m)**
3Bridget Jones’s BabyUniversal$59.2m (£48.1m)
4The Jungle BookDisney$56.9m (£46.2m)
5Finding DoryDisney$52.8m (£42.9m)
6DeadpoolFox$46.5m (£37.8m)
7Captain America: Civil WarDisney$45.4m (£36.9m)
8Batman v Superman: Dawn Of JusticeWarner Bros$45.1m (£36.6m)
9The Secret Life Of PetsUniversal$44.7m (£36.3m)
10Star Wars: The Force AwakensDisney$44.2m (£35.9m)

Top 10 British films in UK & Ireland in 2016 *

RankingFilmDistributorGross
1Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find ThemWarner Bros$64.2m (£52.1m)**
2Bridget Jones’s BabyUniversal$59.2m (£48.1m)
3The Jungle BookDisney$56.9m (£46.2m)
4The BFGeOne$37.9m (£30.76m)
5Absolutely Fabulous: The MovieFox$19.7m (£16m)
6London Has FallenLionsgate$13.5m (£11m)
7Alice Through The Looking GlassDisney$12.2m (£9.9m)
8Me Before YouWarner Bros$11.8m (£9.6m)
9The Legend Of TarzanWarner Bros$11.3m (£9.2m)
10Eddie The EagleLionsgate$10.6m (£8.6m)

* comScore figures to Jan 5, 2017
** Still on release, gross as of Jan 5, 2017

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