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2019 was a massive year at the box office. Disney alone had six movies that made a billion dollars, and has a seventh film that will get there in early 2020. Two non-Disney films also broke the billion dollar mark and five others did half that much or more. Still, despite the fact that the top box office movie of the year was also the top box office movie of all-time, 2019 was a down year at the box office compared to 2018.
Of course, there is a silver lining, as 2018 was the biggest box office year ever, and 2019 is still the second highest box office year on record.
While the final numbers are still being tallied up, estimates are that the 2019 global box office will come in at somewhere just under $11.4 billion. 2018's total finished up at $11.9 billion.
While the difference between 2018 and 2019 box office isn't all that much when we're dealing with the tens of billions of dollars, it's not too tough to see just why, even with the massive hits that we saw, 2019 wasn't able to set a new record. In 2018, there were five movies that crossed the billion dollar mark, and one, Avengers: Infinity War, that made it to two billion. However, the top 18 movies of the year made it to $500 million or more.
In 2019, while the top 8 movies crossed the billion dollar mark, and Avengers: Endgame made it to $2.7 billion, only the top 14 movies crossed the $500 million mark. That trend continues down the list. While the top movies made more money in 2019 than 2018, the movies in the middle of the pack were more successful last year than this year and those numbers add up.
It's been a trend for several years now that we're seeing more and more focus on massive hits and now the gulf is widening even more. While the bigger hits are nearly able to make up for the revenue lost by the movies that don't hit it quite as big, that's going to become even more difficult a task as time goes on.
There's another reason 2018 was such a big year at the movies, and it's potentially good news for 2020. As CNBC reports, nearly a billion dollars of 2018's global box office revenue came from movies released in late 2017 that continued to succeed well into the new year. With movies like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Frozen II, and Little Women currently performing well, this year could see that added boost as well, giving 2020 a solid head start.
It will be interesting to see just where 2020 ends up when the box office numbers are all added up. Disney doesn't have nearly the slate of films coming this year that it had in 2019, though, to be sure, there are still plenty of potential crowd pleasers. But that studio made up so much of 2019's total business that a smaller showing from Disney this year could have a real impact on the entire box office if other studios don't step up and fill the void.