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There have been some massive films released in theaters this year, so it's not too big a shock that 2018 has been a good year at the box office, but things have better than simply good. The second quarter of 2018 set a record at the North American box office as the biggest quarter ever, which, combined with the uptick that Q1 saw, means that 2018 could be on its way to becoming a record year. The April through June period saw a North American box office total of $3.33 billion, up from the previous quarterly record of $3.2 billion.
It's not hard to see how the record was set. Seven of the current domestic top ten were released in the second quarter and they include the $672 million Avengers: Infinity War and the $440 million Incredibles 2 who account for about a third of the record total by themselves. Take into account that a movie like Black Panther, that opened in February, was still doing brisk ticket sales in the second quarter and it would have been shocking if the box office wasn't setting records this year. The 2018 total beats the previous record which, according to Variety, was set in the second quarter of 2015 when films like the previous Jurassic World and the previous Avengers movie, Age of Ultron was released, so it's fitting that the new record was set by the newest entry in these major franchises.
The early success of Black Panther also helped the box office to a stronger first quarter than it was used to seeing,which puts 2018 on the whole in an impressive place going into the back half of the year. The last three years have seen the box office sitting about $5.6 billion at this point, and it's currently sitting at $6.2 billion. While 2018 won't see the Star Wars boost at the end of the year that we're used to, there are still plenty of big movies to come, including Ant-Man and the Wasp this weekend and Mission: Impossible - Fallout before the summer is over, as well as Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and Aquaman at the end of the year. With that additional business, there's a good chance that 2018 will become the biggest box office year ever, exceeding the $11.3 billion that was done in 2016.
This record is set amidst a general decline in the number of tickets sold in theaters. Subscription services like MoviePass and its competition have been trying to entice people back to the theater and while, certainly, part of this record-setting number is due to increased ticket prices and general inflation, it seems that when the right movies come out people will go to the movies to see them.