In the golden age of streaming, few could have predicted the 2018 box office would become the new record holder for highest-grossing year. Thanks to a few massive tent-pole films, Hollywood is basking in the holiday glow of some record-breaking numbers for the year, and there seem to be no signs of profits slowing down any time soon.
The domestic record, previously held by 2016 at $11.382 billion, has already been surpassed this year. The Christmas season is historically one of the biggest earning periods for studios, which means 2018's haul, currently sitting at $11.383 billion, still has one more week to go before the final tallies are in.
2018 was an especially solid year for big releases, which saw studios like Disney, Fox and Universal enjoying the biggest successes. Films including Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Incredibles 2, Deadpool 2, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom earned massive amounts of money. Getting an audience for established properties is certainly easier than starting from scratch, but other notable box office winners contributing to the billions in revenue included new properties such as A Quiet Place, A Star is Born and Crazy Rich Asians.
Perhaps the most encouraging part of the story is that, with the week between Christmas and New Year's still ahead, studios can expect big things from their newest films, all of which are tracking well. Aquaman continues to dominate, while Bumblebee and Mary Poppins Returns are performing well.
Of course, there are other considerations to factor in when calculating how well films have performed throughout the year. Ticket prices have gone up slightly, and several of the highest-grossing movies were made available in IMAX and 3D, which nets more money at the ticket counter. Theaters are also trying to make going to the cinema a more enjoyable experience so as to woo back customers that were lost due to high costs, the proliferation of cell phone use and uncomfortable seating. Addressing some of those concerns have undoubtedly played a role in tempting people away from the comfort of their living rooms and out into the movie-going public once more, which has resulted in high yields for the movie business.
In a year that didn't feature a traditional Star Wars release, these numbers are music to studio executives' ears. Final figures are still out regarding where the global revenue will land in the record books, but it's good news for film fans, too, as 2019 will be under some pressure to deliver films that were as good as -- or better than -- this year's remarkable crop. Audience interest and box office predictions for big titles like Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man: Far From Home and others are already strong. For moviegoers and studios alike, that's a mark in the win column.