U.S. Box Office Tops $10 Billion for 2016, Led by ‘Finding Dory’

Dave McNary
Variety

The U.S. box office has topped $10 billion this year — the fastest-ever that it’s reached the milestone, according to the National Association of Theater Owners.

Disney’s “Finding Dory” is the leading grosser of 2016 with $486.2 million, followed by Disney’s “Captain America: Civil War” with $408.1 million, Universal’s “The Secret Life of Pets” with $367.6 million, Disney’s “The Jungle Book” at $364 million and Fox’s “Deadpool” at $363.1 million.

The previous record for topping $10 billion was set in 2013, when the milestone was reached on Dec. 7. The 2012 box office reached the mark on Dec. 8, while last year’s box office did not pass the mark until Dec. 18.

However, the 2015 box office still managed to set a record with $11.12 billion — thanks largely to Disney’s “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” taking in $652 million in the last 14 days of the year.

The first Star Wars spinoff movie, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” is on pace to open to more than $130 million during the Dec. 16-18 weekend, according to pre-release tracking. Disney chief Bob Iger has said the studio is not expecting the film to do “Force Awakens”-level business because it exists outside of the main narrative of the previous seven Star Wars movies.

Felicity Jones stars in “Rogue One,” alongside Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, and Forest Whitaker. Gareth Edwards directs the film. Advance ticket sales start Monday.

If the 2016 box office is to finish ahead of 2015, it’s likely that another key contributor will be Universal-Illumination’s “Sing,” an animated comedy original about a music competition with animals with a soundtrack from such pop favorites as Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. It opens Dec. 21.

Business has been solid during the Thanksgiving break with the five-day period projected to finish in the same neighborhood as 2015’s $258 million, led by “Moana” at around $85 million.

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