Disney's domination at the 2019 box office may have made a record-breaking year seem inevitable, but 2018 will maintain its crown.
Variety notes the total is "disappointing" since the year was stacked with massive event films from Disney. Avengers: Endgame, for one, shattered the record for biggest domestic opening weekend ever and became the second highest-grossing film of all time domestically. Disney's event blockbusters like The Lion King, Toy Story 4, Captain Marvel, Frozen 2, Aladdin, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker also shined, giving the studio its best year at the domestic box office ever.
But tons of major films from other studios, which could have helped take the domestic total over the finish line, crashed and burned this year, including Men in Black: International, Terminator: Dark Fate, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Charlie's Angels, and Doctor Sleep, to name a few. Analysts widely expect 2020 to see another decline in ticket sales, seeing as the year isn't as crowded with event blockbusters; Disney's slate was unusually busy in anticipation of the launch of its streaming service, Disney+.
Still, even though The Hollywood Reporter notes 2019 will see the biggest year-over-year box office decline since 2014, the $11.4 billion finish is nothing to sneeze at. Variety points out that when the final numbers come in, 2019 will end up being either the second or third biggest domestic year ever. And Deadline observes that in a year with the unprecedented success of Endgame, which opened about $100 million higher domestically than any other film in history, "there's no way one can say theatrical is dead."
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