The Year in Box Office

2019

note:  There were some things I meant to put in the post that I forgot.  They are added at the end.

As may be obvious, I have become greatly interested in box office results lately, noting in the last several Adapted Screenplay posts the highest grossing adapted films I haven’t seen for the year.  I have also put a lot of Box Office Mojo’s information into spreadsheets, which is doubly good, since, first, they became a bunch of dicks and put a lot of stuff behind a paywall (fuck you Bezos) and second, because I make a lot more use of it than they did anyway.

One of the bizarre things they have done now is that all of their yearly results initially list the calendar year.  Who has ever wanted that?  Who wants to look at 2015 and see that Force Awakens grossed just short of what Jurassic World grossed simply because of how late in the year it was released?  It’s a stupid default setting.  I don’t deal with that shit.  These are all based off the release date, not the calendar year of when grosses were accumulated.

It seems safe now to run this list now that COVID-19 has pretty much decimated the movie theater industry and brought box office to a virtual standstill, which means I can be pretty confident that nothing on this list will change much, if at all.

Top 10 Domestic Grosses – 2019

Rk Release Gross Opening % Open Distributor
1 Avengers: Endgame $858,373,000 $357,115,007 41.60% 04/26/19 Disney
2 The Lion King $543,638,043 $191,770,759 35.28% 07/19/19 Disney
3 Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker $515,201,960 $177,383,864 34.43% 12/20/19 Disney
4 Frozen II $477,373,461 $130,263,358 27.29% 11/22/19 Disney
5 Toy Story 4 $434,038,008 $120,908,065 27.86% 06/21/19 Disney
6 Captain Marvel $426,829,839 $153,433,423 35.95% 03/08/19 Disney
7 Spider-Man: Far from Home $390,532,085 $92,579,212 23.71% 07/02/19 Columbia
8 Aladdin $355,559,216 $91,500,929 25.73% 05/24/19 Disney
9 Joker $335,451,311 $96,202,337 28.68% 10/04/19 WB
10 Jumanji: The Next Level $316,830,472 $59,251,543 18.70% 12/13/19 Columbia

notes on the Top 10

  • These 10 blow away the previous record for the Top 10 in a year.  These 10 made a combined $4.65 billion, over $600 million than any previous Top 10.
  • I saw nine of these in the theater a combined 13 times.  The nine ties my personal high.  I also saw the Top 8, the best I’ve done since 1991.  In fact, this is the first year since 2005 that I’ve seen the Top 5.
  • The average for these Top 10 are, obviously, $465 million.  Just ten years ago, $465 million would have been the third highest grossing film of all-time.
  • Only one film leaps into the Top 10 all-time which is fewer than the three from the year before.  But four films leapt into the Top 20.  The last time that happened was 1974.
  • All 10 films land in the Top 100 all-time but that’s not actually that odd.  Indeed, in 1989, 1990, 1998 and 1999 12 films managed to do that.
  • However, the #100 took a bigger jump this year than ever before.  The record before this year was $13 million (the new #100 over the previous) and for the last several years that jump had been in the high single digits.  However, because of the relatively few films all-time that grossed in the $270-289 range (just nine), #100 went from $267 million last year to $290 million this year.
  • From 1975 to 2015 no studio repeated with the #1 film (in 1973 and 1974 Warners did – The Exorcist and Blazing Saddles).  Avengers makes the fifth Disney film in a row to be #1.
  • The difference between Avengers and Lion King is 36.67%.  In 1994, Lion King was the #2 film with the closest #2 finish in several years.  This year, it’s #2 and it’s the largest percentage difference in a decade.
  • Jumanji‘s continued box office success (it stayed in the Top 10 for a long time) made this the first year ever with 10 $300 million films.
  • Continuing the 1994-2019 comparison, 1994 was the first year in which the #11 film made $105 million.  This year, the #11 film (It: Chapter Two) made $105 million less than the #10 film.
  • The Top 10 combined for 40.72% of the total box office, the highest figure since 1982 and the fifth highest figure since the BOM charts begin in 1977.
  • The #1 film was higher than 2018, the Top 10 was significantly higher than 2018 and the Top 100 was a little bit higher than 2018 but the total box office for films released in 2019 was slightly down from 2018 ($11.42 billion as opposed to $11.60) meaning that the top films accounted for significantly higher percentages of the total box office.
  • The Top 10 films averaged an 83.3 from me, but I very much liked Disney’s output this year, much more so than the general critical reaction.

Progression of # of $300 Million Films Through the Years

  • 1 – 1977
  • 2 – 1994
  • 3 – 2002
  • 4 – 2007
  • 5 – 2012
  • 6 – 2015
  • 7 – 2015
  • 8 – 2015
  • 9 – 2015
  • 10 – 2019

All-Time Rank per Year Finish

  1. Avengers  (#2) – behind Force Awakens
  2. The Lion King  (#3) – behind Infinity War and Jurassic World
  3. Star Wars  (#2) – behind Incredibles 2
  4. Frozen  (#1) – by $60 mil over JW: Fallen Kingdom
  5. Toy Story  (#1)  –  by $45 mil over GotG 2
  6. Captain Marvel  (#1)  –  by $57 mil over Deadpool
  7. Spider-Man  (#1)  –  by $49 mil over Zootopia
  8. Aladdin  (#1)  –  by $25 mil over Batman v Superman
  9. Joker  (#1)  –  by $10 mil over Suicide Squad
  10. Jumanji  (#1)  –  by $46 mil over Sing

Top 10 Worldwide Grosses

Release Group Worldwide Domestic % Foreign %
1 Avengers: Endgame $2,797,800,564 $858,373,000 30.7% $1,939,427,564 69.3%
2 The Lion King $1,656,943,394 $543,638,043 32.8% $1,113,305,351 67.2%
3 Frozen II $1,450,026,933 $477,373,578 32.9% $972,653,355 67.1%
4 Spider-Man: Far from Home $1,131,927,996 $390,532,085 34.5% $741,395,911 65.5%
5 Captain Marvel $1,128,274,794 $426,829,839 37.8% $701,444,955 62.2%
6 Joker $1,074,251,311 $335,451,311 31.2% $738,800,000 68.8%
7 Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker $1,074,144,248 $515,202,542 48% $558,941,706 52%
8 Toy Story 4 $1,073,394,593 $434,038,008 40.4% $639,356,585 59.6%
9 Aladdin $1,050,693,953 $355,559,216 33.8% $695,134,737 66.2%
10 Jumanji: The Next Level $796,032,954 $316,831,246 39.8% $479,201,708 60.2%

notes on the Top 10

  • Avengers, of course, broke the all-time Worldwide record.
  • Even though it earns the second highest domestic gross of all-time, it’s also got the lowest percentage of domestic gross to worldwide gross for a worldwide #1 since 2014 and the fifth lowest ever for a worldwide #1.
  • The Top 10 matches the domestic list, which is pretty rare (though some films move up and down).
  • However, the #11 worldwide (Hobbs and Shaw) was #13 domestic and the #12 and 13 worldwide (Ne Zha, The Wandering Earth) were #158 and #135 domestically.
  • This is also a rare year in that all of the Top 10 made over 30% and less than 50% of their gross domestically.

Top 10 Opening Weekends

Rk Release Gross Opening % Open Distributor
1 Avengers: Endgame $858,373,000 $357,115,007 41.60% 04/26/19 Disney
2 The Lion King $543,638,043 $191,770,759 35.28% 07/19/19 Disney
3 Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker $515,201,960 $177,383,864 34.43% 12/20/19 Disney
4 Captain Marvel $426,829,839 $153,433,423 35.95% 03/08/19 Disney
5 Frozen II $477,373,461 $130,263,358 27.29% 11/22/19 Disney
6 Toy Story 4 $434,038,008 $120,908,065 27.86% 06/21/19 Disney
7 Joker $335,451,311 $96,202,337 28.68% 10/04/19 WB
8 Spider-Man: Far from Home $390,532,085 $92,579,212 23.71% 07/02/19 Columbia
9 Aladdin $355,559,216 $91,500,929 25.73% 05/24/19 Disney
10 It Chapter Two $211,593,228 $91,062,152 43.04% 09/06/19 WB

notes on opening weekends

  • For the record, I saw seven of these films on the opening weekend.  I saw It on the Monday after the weekend (I had Mondays off at the time) and we saw Frozen on the day before Thanksgiving.  I didn’t see Joker in the theater at all.
  • My second showings of Avengers and Star Wars were opening week but not opening weekend.
  • Avengers, of course, crushed the all-time opening weekend record, breaking the previous Avengers‘ record by $100 million.  Also worth noting that it’s the #8 film of the year just with its opening weekend.
  • Lion King was #8 all-time and Star Wars was #12.
  • The Lion King set a new record with the largest opening ever (4802 theaters).

Statistics About the Year in Box Office
(with relevant comparisons)

  • Top 10 Total:  $4,653,827,395
    • # 1 all-time by over $600 million over 2015
  • Top 100 Total:  $10,682,813,404
    • #1 all-time by $45 million over 2018
  • Total Box Office:  $11,427,493,981
    • #2 all-time, $180 million behind 2018
  • Percentage of Top 10 earned by #1 film:  18.44%
    • #18  (out of 43)
    • #1 is Star Wars in 1977 – 33.89%
  • Percentage of Top 100 earned by #1 film:  8.04%
    • #9  (out of 40)
    • #1 is E.T. in 1982  –  12.72%
    • 1977 through 1979 didn’t have 100 films
  • Percentage of Top 100 earned by Top 10:  43.56%
    • #2  (out of 40)
    • #1 is 1982  –  44.53%
  • Percentage of Total Box Office earned by #1 film:  7.51%
    • #9  (out of 43)
    • #1 is Star Wars in 1977 – 22.38%
  • Percentage of Total Box Office earned by Top 10:  40.72%
    • #5  (out of 43)
    • #1 is 1977  –  66.03%
  • Percentage of Total Box Office earned by Top 100:  93.48%
    • #8  (out of 40)
    • highest since 1992 even though this year has the most listed films ever (790)

Top 10 Domestic Films – Foreign Language Films

  1. Parasite  –  $53,369,749
  2. Dragon Ball Super: Broly  –  $30,712,119
  3. The Farewell  –  $17,695,781
  4. No Manches Frida 2  –  $9,270,920
  5. The Wandering Earth  –  $5,875,487
  6. Menteur  –  $4,697,364
  7. War  –  $4,654,000
  8. Pain and Glory  –  $4,567,069
  9. Uri: The Surgical Strike  –  $4,186,168
  10. Ip Man 4: The Finale  –  $3,956,031

note:  It’s possible (indeed, probable) that Portrait of a Lady on Fire would have made the Top 10 (it was less than $200,000 behind) if not for COVID-19.

Top 10 Box Office Multiplier

note:  This divides the total gross by the opening weekend gross.  This list is entirely made up of things that had limited openings and then later went wide, thus the following list.

  1. Rush: Cinema Strangiato 2019  –  372.12
  2. Just Mercy  –  330.29
  3. 1917  –  276.33
  4. Fantastic Fungi  –  189.86
  5. Okko’s Inn  –  176.65
  6. Fighting with My Family  –  165.43
  7. Grateful Dead Meet-Up 2019  –  141.88
  8. Parasite  –  135.73
  9. Hotel Mumbai  –  109.60
  10. Dark Waters  –  108.53

Top 10 Box Office Multiplier, Wide Openings

  1. Little Women  –  6.45
  2. Knives Out  –  6.18
  3. Jumanji: The Next Level  –  5.35
  4. The Upside  –  5.32
  5. Spies in Disguise  –  5.00
  6. Richard Jewell  –  4.75
  7. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood  –  4.66
  8. Yesterday  –  4.31
  9. Overcomer  –  4.27
  10. Spider-Man: Far From Home  –  4.22

note:  In a bit of irony, Little Women was also #1 in this spot in 1994 but with a 20.77.
note:  Not a single one of these films would have made the Top 10 in 1994.  That’s because of how box office has changed to frontloading.
note:  I’m part of half of these.  I saw five of these in the theater and technically didn’t see any of them on their opening weekends.  I saw Little Women, Jumanji and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood all after their opening weekends.  I saw Spider-Man when it opened on Tuesday, which isn’t included in opening weekend numbers (which is primarily why it’s on this list) and I saw Knives Out a full week before it opened at a special screening.

Bottom 10 Box Office Multiplier, Wide Openings

  1. Dark Phoenix  –  2.01
  2. Arctic Dogs  –  2.00
  3. The Goldfinch  –  1.99
  4. The Beach Bum  –  1.99
  5. The Sun is Also a Star  –  1.97
  6. Serenity  –  1.94
  7. Captive State  –  1.90
  8. Hellboy  –  1.82
  9. Replicas  –  1.70
  10. Playmobil: The Movie  –  1.70

note:  Dark Phoenix is not surprising.  We saw it on the Monday after it opened (which technically is part of the multiplier) and we were the only people in the theater.

Top Gross by Release Month

  • January –  Glass  ($111.04 mil)
  • February  –  How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World  ($160.79 mil)
  • March  –  Captain Marvel  ($426.82 mil)
  • April  –  Avengers: Endgame  ($858.37 mil)
  • May  –  Aladdin  ($355.55 mil)
  • June  –  Toy Story 4  ($434.03 mil)
  • July  –  The Lion King  ($543.63 mil)
  • August  –  Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw  ($173.95 mil)
  • September  –  It: Chapter Two  ($211.59 mil)
  • October  –  Joker  ($335.45 mil)
  • November  –  Frozen II  ($477.37 mil)
  • December  –  Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker  ($515.20 mil)

note:  I wonder how often this has happened – that the same studio had the highest grossing release of the month for five months in a row, never mind that they all grossed over $350 million.

Top Gross By Genre

  • Action  –  Avengers: Endgame  ($858.37 mil)
  • Adventure  –  Arctic  ($2.41 mil)
  • Comedy  –  Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood  ($142.50 mil)
  • Crime  –  Hustlers  ($104.96 mil)
  • Documentary  –  Apollo 11  ($9.03 mil)
  • Drama  –  Joker  ($335.45 mil)
  • Fantasy  –  Aladdin  ($355.55 mil)
  • Horror  –  It: Chapter Two  ($211.59 mil)
  • Kids  –  The Lion King  ($543.63 mil)
  • Musical  –  Rocketman  ($96.36 mil)
  • Mystery  –  Knives Out  ($165.36 mil)
  • Sci-Fi  –  Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker  ($515.20 mil)
  • Suspense  –  Escape Room  ($57.00 mil)
  • War  –  1917  ($159.22 mil)
  • Western  –  n/a

Top Gross by Studio

  • 20th Century Fox  –  Ford v Ferrari  ($117.62 mil)
  • A24  –  Midsommer  ($27.42 mil)
  • Buena Vista (Disney)  –  The Lion King  ($312.85 mil)
  • Columbia  –  Spider-Man: Far From Home  ($390.53 mil)
  • Disney  –  Avengers: Endgame  ($858.37 mil)
  • Focus  –  Downton Abbey  ($96.85 mil)
  • Fox Searchlight  –  Jojo Rabbit  ($33.37 mil)
  • Lionsgate  –  Knives Out  ($171.01 mil)
  • MGM  –  Fighting with My Family  ($22.95 mil)  *
  • Neon  –  Parasite  ($53.36 mil)
  • Orion  –  The Prodigy  ($14.85 mil)  *
  • Paramount  –  Rocketman  ($96.36 mil)
  • Roadside Attractions  –  Judy  ($24.31 mil)
  • Screen Gems  –  The Intruder  ($35.41 mil)
  • Sony Pictures Classics  –  Pain and Glory  ($4.56 mil)
  • STX Entertainment  –  The Upside  ($108.25 mil)
  • TriStar  –  A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood  ($61.70 mil)  *
  • United Artists  –  The Addams Family  ($100.04 mil)
  • Universal  –  Us  ($175.08 mil)
  • Warner Bros  –  Joker  ($335.45 mil)

note:  The three starred films were the only releases for those studios.

Studios Ranked by Total Gross

note:  For purposes of this list, subsidiary studios are listed as part of the total for the main studio.  This means Fox Searchlight (Fox), Focus (Universal) with Screen Gems, TriStar and Columbia all listed together as Sony.  Even though the Disney purchase of Fox went through in mid-year, I list them separately since Disney didn’t start changing the branding of Fox films until 2020.

  1. Disney  –  $3,847 mil
  2. Universal  –  $1,592 mil
  3. Sony  –  $1,421 mil
  4. Warners  –  $1,404 mil
  5. Lionsgate  –  $827 mil
  6. Fox  –  $562 mil
  7. Paramount  –  $505 mil
  8. STX  –  $312 mil
  9. UA  –  $213 mil
  10. Neon  –  $79 mil
  11. A24  –  $70 mil
  12. Roadside Attractions  –  $53 mil
  13. Sony Pictures Classics  –  $15 mil

Studios Ranked by Average Gross

  1. Disney  –  $384.74 mil
  2. Columbia  –  $85.69 mil
  3. Universal  –  $82.96 mil
  4. Sony  –  $74.83 mil
  5. Warners  –  $66.65 mil
  6. Universal (tot.)  –  $63.68 mil
  7. Paramount  –  $56.18 mil
  8. 20th Century Fox  –  $54.17 mil
  9. Lionsgate  –  $51.68 mil
  10. Fox  –  $37.51 mil
  11. UA  –  $35.53 mil
  12. STX  –  $34.73 mil
  13. Screen Gems  –  $24.92 mil
  14. Focus  –  $22.72 mil
  15. Fox Searchlight  –  $11.71 mil
  16. Neon  –  $7.22 mil
  17. Roadside  –  $5.96 mil
  18. A24  –  $5.91 mil
  19. Sony Pictures Classics  –  $1.30 mil

note:  That Disney average includes Penguins.  Excluding Penguins, the Disney average is $426 million.

Five Highest Grossing Films I Didn’t See in the Theater

  1. Joker  –  $335.45 mil
  2. Us  –  $175.08 mil
  3. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw  –  $173.95 mil
  4. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum  –  $171.01 mil
  5. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World  –  $160.79 mil

note:  Joker might seem high for that spot for me but it’s actually the lowest grossing film in that spot since 2010 and it’s the lowest ranked film in the spot (#9 for the year) since 1991.

Five Lowest Grossing Films I Did See in the Theater

  1. Jojo Rabbit  –  $33.37 mil
  2. Doctor Sleep  –  $31.58 mil
  3. Cats  –  $27.16 mil
  4. The Wizard of Oz (80th anniversary)  –  $2.07 mil
  5. The Man Who Killed don Quixote  –  $391,963

note:  At #320, Quixote is the lowest ranked film for a year that I’ve ever seen in the theater (bearing in mind that it took until the late 90’s before BOM even has years with 320 films on the complete list).  It’s the lowest grossing film I’ve seen in the theater since Trekkies.

Five Highest Grossing Films I Don’t Intend to See

  1. Overcomer  –  $34.47 mil
  2. Unplanned  –  $19.00 mil
  3. The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith  –  $1.80 mil
  4. Pilgrim’s Progress  –  $1.29 mil
  5. Jesus is King  –  $973,000

note:  I could have listed the five highest grossing films I haven’t yet seen (Spies in Disguise, Terminator: Dark Fate, Midway, Uncut Gems, Playing with Fire), but those are all on hold at my library if it ever opens again – I just haven’t seen them yet.  These five films actually listed I have no intention of ever seeing.

Academy Awards

  • Highest Grossing Film With no Oscar Nominations:  Captain Marvel
    • At $426 million it’s the highest grossing film in three years and fourth highest grossing film ever, behind The Dark Knight Rises, Jurassic World and Finding Dory to fail to earn an Oscar nomination.
    • However, at #6 for the year, it’s the lowest ranked film in this position since 2005 (Wedding Crashers) and there hasn’t been a lower one since 1999.
  • Best Picture Winner:  Parasite
    • At #54, lower on the list than the last two winners but better than the four before that.  Of the 43 Best Picture winners in BOM’s data, it ranks 37th in year rank.
    • However, at $52 million, it’s only #33 among the winners in gross and higher than four other winners this decade.  COVID probably didn’t damage it here as it had slowed down enough it was unlikely to earn the $2 million it needed to catch Crash and Ordinary People.
    • At $52 million it is below the average for winners this decade ($68 million).
    • Of the 32 films however, for which BOM has worldwide grosses, Parasite ranks at 11th in international box office.  Its international gross is higher than Rain Man‘s even though Rain Man was the #1 film at the international box office in 1988.
    • The worldwide gross of $245.90 million ranked at 17th among the 32 films.
  • Best Picture Ranks:
    • Domestic:  #54
    • International:  #30
      • Lower than Greek Book but better than the seven films before that and usually significantly better.
    • Worldwide:  #34
      • A few spots below Green Book but again, better than the previous seven including Argo which well over doubled Parasite’s domestic gross.
      • It is significant to note that prior to 2004, no Best Picture winner ranked below #13 worldwide.  From 2004 to the present, no film has ranked higher than #12 and only three (The Departed, Slumdog, King’s Speech) have ranked in the Top 20.
    • Domestic Percentage:  21.48%
      • Not surprisingly since it was a Foreign film, Parasite had a lower percentage of its worldwide gross in the U.S. than any other Best Picture winner.  The only other films below 30% are Green Book (25.83%) and Schindler’s List (29.90%).
  • Highest Grossing Best Picture Nominee:  Joker
    • This position has been very odd this century.  Five times, the highest grossing film of the year was nominated.  But nine times no film in the Top 10 was nominated.  That makes Joker one of just six films this century (only three post 2002) to be in the Top 10 but not #1 in this position.  Joker grossed much less than Black Panther last year but much higher than the previous three films in this position and six of the previous seven.
  • Best Picture Nominee Total:  $894.82 mil
    • This total (seven films – doesn’t include the Netflix films) is the sixth highest in history though significantly less than last year.  It’s behind five other years in the expanded era as well as 1997.
  • Best Picture Nominee Average:  $127.84 mil
    • The ninth best total, way below last year (which was the second highest ever) but far above every year from 2011 to 2017.
  • Difference Between Average Nominee and Winner:  – $75.02 mil
    • This is actually better than last year which had the second highest deficit ever because the average nominee was so much higher.  It is, however, the fourth worst ever, behind only 2009, 2018 and 1982.