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Domestic Box Office Poised for Record Breaking Year

Variety logo Variety 12/26/2016 Brent Lang
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Sequels and spin-offs to “Finding Nemo,” “Captain America,” and “Star Wars” powered the 2016 box office to a new domestic record.

Ticket sales have crossed the $11 billion mark for the second consecutive year, according to ComScore. The data analysis company projects that the stateside box office will hit $11.3 billion this year, passing 2015’s record-setting $11.1 billion. Through Monday, stateside revenues were up more than 2%, and this week is expected to be a busy one for moviegoing. Many Americans are taking the seven days between Christmas and New Year’s off for vacation.

It’s a high-water mark that few thought would be eclipsed in 2016. There were fewer blockbusters like “Jurassic World” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” this year. Moreover, many analysts felt that ticket sales would suffer from the absence of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which injected more than $900 million into the stateside box office.

Even without hits on that scale, 2016 delivered with many major successes. “Rogue One” has dominated the Christmas box office. “Deadpool,” an R-rated comic book adaptation, was a surprise breakout last February, racking up $363.1 million. And though trade papers (including this one!) fretted about “sequelitis,” a phantom virus that had audiences rejecting franchises,  follow-ups such as “Captain America: Civil War” and “Finding Dory” delivered at the multiplexes.

The box office also got a hand from superhero films such as “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and animated fare such as “The Secret Life of Pets” and “Moana.”

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