Box Office 2019: What Went Right & Wrong In An $11.4 Billion Year & How 2020 Is Shaping Up

Editors be aware: The 2019 home field workplace figures are for the interval of January 1-December 29. We’ll replace additional on January 2.

With the entire 2019 home field workplace anticipated to ring up near $11.Four billion based on Comscore, down 4% from final 12 months’s banner $11.88B, and the forecast that 2020 will probably be down additional resulting from fewer franchises on the schedule, varied enterprise publications will scream the headline that the theatrical enterprise is in the bathroom within the booming streaming age of Netflix, Apple TV+ and Disney+, and HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock on the horizon.

However, man, is that declaration so improper.

Avengers: Endgame


What 2019 continued to underscore on the field workplace is the previous adage of how product-driven the theatrical enterprise is. In a 12 months when exhibition was fueled on all cylinders to ship the astronomical, largest opening of all time stateside with Disney’s Avengers: Endgame ($357.1M) — which bested the earlier file set by 2018’s Avengers: Infinity Struggle by 39% — there’s no manner one can say theatrical is useless. Regardless that Disney is boss, and continues to show that its branded IP is the bread and butter of your complete theatrical enterprise, no, theatrical isn’t within the hospital. Different studios additionally proved the vibrancy of theatrical with huge swings, i.e., the R-rated comedian guide villain gamble that paid homage to Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer and Taxi Driver — we’re speaking Warner Bros./Village Roadshow/Bron’s Joker — which unexpectedly grew to become the highest-grossing R-rated film of all-time with a worldwide take of $1.063B.

Song Kang-ho in 'Parasite'

And whereas the argument could be made that streaming is encroaching on low- to mid-budget fare and that the indie field workplace is endangered, we’ve seen such explosions from unique motion pictures like Common’s Us ($175M), Sony’s As soon as Upon a Time in Hollywood ($141M), STX’s Hustlers ($105M), Lionsgate’s Knives Out ($110.3M) and Fox’s Ford v. Ferrari ($106M). On the specialty aspect, hits inlcude Neon’s Parasite, the highest-grossing South Korean film of all time with $22.3M, and Fox Searchlight’s Nazi comedy satire Jojo Rabbit ($21M).

Non-Disney studios are trying ahead to a real showdown on the home field workplace. Disney was all the time anticipated to crush it in 2019 with its franchise-built slate, a rampway to Disney+. Critics complain there’s not sufficient unique fare. Nicely, 2020 will make good on that promise. If streaming has finished the theatrical enterprise any favors, it’s forcing main studio improvement execs assume tougher: The bar has risen with regard to what precisely works nationwide in cinemas, and the easy recipes of expertise, filmmaker and IP (assume Paramount/Skydance/Fox’s bomb Terminator Darkish Destiny) aren’t all the time the answer.

Many have already predicted that within the face of the key studio congloms, such mini-majors as MGM, Lionsgate and STX are challenged and merger buzz abounds. However whereas the business might merge, what is not going to change is audiences’ appetites for unique and distinctive fare, particularly these from nice auteurs like Quentin Tarantino, Bong Joon-Ho, Rian Johnson and even Sam Mendes (search for his one steady shot WWI pic 1917 to ring in 2020 with a $20M huge opening on January 10).


Additionally, whereas chatter abounded in 2019 that Netflix practically closed the wide-release theatrical window to 30 or 60 days with its theatrical launch of Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, such haggling will probably be tougher to tug off (and in that case, arguably by Disney, because it did when it decreased the span from 4 months to a few months with 2010’s Alice in Wonderland) now that Mookie Greidinger’s Cineworld has taken management of Canada’s Cineplex Odeon, changing into North America’s largest film circuit with Regal Cinemas already beneath its area. As Disney beefed up its energy with the acquisition of 20th Century Fox and Searchlight, so does exhibition by consolidating its energy to haggle again.

Right here’s a rundown of what went proper and improper and 2019, with an outlook for 2020. Box workplace calculations are a mixture of Comscore and Deadline figures.

No. 1 Disney ($3.7 billion, +21% vs. 2018)


What Went Right: Every little thing, actually. It’s the third time it handed $Three billion, beating its personal business file set final 12 months with $3.09B. Pushed by Pixar/Disney Animation, Marvel, Lucasfilm and the live-action diversifications of its personal Disney animated toons, 9 pics surpassed $100M; seven of them made $300M, and 5 $400M+. Let’s not neglect that two handed a half-billion stateside, with Endgame being the second-highest-grossing film of all time in U.S./Canada with $858.3M. Seven Disney pics opened to $100M+, plus they scored the perfect opening of all time each worldwide ($1.22B) and stateside with Endgame.

What Went Wrong: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker stays a glass half full amongst Disney’s franchises. On one hand the finale generated a wealth for exhibition on the tail finish of the 12 months with $363M+, however the studio made the error of not placing the final three Skywalker Saga pics solely within the palms of 1 visionary, like they did Avengers with the Russo brothers. It could have helped if Final Jedi had a cliffhanger on par with Infinity Struggle, which might have actually goosed ticket gross sales for Skywalker. Whereas Disney is successful over Star Wars followers on Disney+ with The Mandalorian, Disney must be careful that they don’t sideline the franchise strictly to streaming. Like Marvel, they should entrust the franchise’s cinema future to these filmmakers with cred amongst followers (Howdy! Mandalorian‘s Jon Favreau or Dave Filinoi to direct spinoff movies?), not those who spark division. Rogue One was an excellent spinoff and followers worldwide gave their thumbs up, shelling out $1.05 billion worldwide. That success can’t be ignored, and may solely present confidence for Princess Leia or different origin motion pictures. Critically, Disney, it’s time to recover from the shell-shock of Solo: A Star Wars Story. Reality of the matter is that these motion pictures simply want extra time to bake in contrast with Marvel.

Florence Pugh in “Black Widow”

2020 Outlook: Subsequent 12 months, rivals are foaming on the mouth over the actual fact there’s a extra unique slate in place for Disney, with seven of their 9 pics being contemporary IP. Following the uber-success of Avengers, it’s a reset 12 months for Marvel with cosmic gods film The Eternals opening on November 6. The model alone might want to carry Black Widow to lofty grosses as we’ve seen this Scarlett Johansson murderer film earlier than (it was referred to as Lucy).

Additionally, Disney states that beginning subsequent 12 months it is going to embody all Fox titles of their B.O. tabulation. Mixed for this 12 months, Disney-Fox counts $4.28 billion — 37% of the annual U.S./Canada marketshare. As a studio that instructions a 65% theatrical rental from exhibition with 4 weeks quantity of play on its huge tentpoles, they have to be cautious about antitrust points.

Warner Bros Logo

No. 2 Warner Bros. ($1.558 billion, -19% vs. 2018)

What Went Right: Taking the R-rated comedian guide movie to a gritty, good stage and reaping an unlimited quantity of field workplace on the identical time with Joker at $333.5M stateside, $1.06B worldwide. It’s a majority of these auteur-driven bets for which the studio has a status, and that may all the time distinguish it inside a Disney-laden IP market. It Chapter Two was a self-fulfilling prophesy coming off the nice success of the primary movie with $211.6M home, $472M WW. And the studio constructed out its DC model with the thrifty priced Shazam! at $140.3M home, $364.5M WW. Legendary’s Pokemon Detective Pikachu was a pleasant shock due to Ryan Reynolds’ voice at $144.1M stateside, $431.7M WW.

What Went Wrong: Why did you flood the autumn This fall with six grownup (largely drama) titles (The Goldfinch, Motherless Brooklyn, Good Liar, Physician Sleep, Richard Jewell and Simply Mercy)? We get that it’s awards season, however all of them tanked. Drama is difficult, however then drama has all the time been onerous for Warner Bros on the B.O. with such notable award-winning fare as Michael Clayton and The Assassination of Jesse James by no means actually breaking out commercially. A couple of notes on these pics that tanked: A studio won’t ever throw good cash after unhealthy, and sometimes testing signifies how a lot they need to spend money on P&A. That mentioned, many of the P&A for Warners went to Joker and It Chapter Two in This fall. Different studios like Sony, Common, Lionsgate, Fox Searchlight, Focus Options and even STX have demonstrated that grownup fare works on the field workplace; a majority of these motion pictures aren’t meant to be sidelined to a streaming service, and Warners must cease utilizing that excuse each time an grownup drama fails. When it glows in its heightened package deal, with glossy storytelling, due to an incredible director’s imaginative and prescient — i.e., final 12 months’s Oscar-winning A Star Is Born ($434.9M WW, $36M and $178M revenue) or Loopy Wealthy Asians, Sully, The Mule, or Argo — then the film positive as hell shouldn’t be punished to streaming.

Doctor Sleep

Warner Bros.

The one misfire I’ll rap Warners knuckles about is Physician Sleep (77% licensed contemporary, B+ CinemaScore, $31.4M). As a studio that has had nice success with horror and was accountable for the latest Stephen King renaissance with It, I nonetheless imagine it by no means eventized this Shining sequel with style followers like they did with It Chapter Two at San Diego Comedian-Con. Physician Sleep was good and entertaining, with wonderful performances by Ewan McGregor and Rebecca Ferguson, and it was a missed alternative.

Warner Bros Footage

2020 Outlook: They’ve a very thrilling 12 months, arguably extra so than Disney’s slate, with branded fare together with DC’s Birds of Prey and Marvel Girl 1984; Scoob; plus intriguing counterprogramming just like the Lin-Manuel Miranda-Jon Chu team-up In the Heights, the function adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway present, in addition to Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. 

However like all non-Disney studios right here, Warners wants stronger branded occasion pics as a result of Lego Film 2 and Godzilla: King of the Monsters didn’t reduce it. Beware tapping out The Conjuring franchise (half 3 The Satan Made Me Do It arrives on September 11). Dune needs to be wonderful visually within the palms of Denis Villeneuve, however let’s hope it does greater than Blade Runner 2049‘s quantity of enterprise.


No. Three Common ($1.51B, -16% vs. 2018)

What Went Right: The studio thrives on a various, auteur-driven slate and consistency beneath Filmed Leisure Group chairman Donna Langley, hitting $1B-plus stateside for a ninth 12 months in a row. It excelled in 2019 by sidestepping Disney on the calendar with M. Evening Shyamalan’s Glass over MLK ($111M home) and Jordan Peele’s Us in late March ($175M). As Quick and Livid gears down, Uni has proven that it might pivot and adapt by constructing out that franchise with spinoff Hobbs & Shaw ($173.8M). That proved to be a promising begin for a frosh franchise, holding No. 1 for 4 weekends on the worldwide field workplace on the way in which to a closing tally of $758.9M.

Whereas Uni doesn’t have the IP of Disney or the DC and Harry Potter pics like Warners, its stuffed the slate with unique motion pictures from distinctive storytellers. What was as soon as programmed out of necessity is now a calling card for contemporary filmmaking voices: Peele’s Monkeypaw label signed an unique five-year cope with the studio; one of many remaining huge free brokers, Lord & Miller, additionally inked a first-look, and Shyamalan introduced his subsequent two unique motion pictures with the studio.



Uni additionally rebounded R-rated comedies to the perfect of any studio’s potential within the style’s present theatrical drought with Good Boys ($21.4M opening, $83M) regardless of a dangerous idea starring largely beneath 12-year-old contemporary faces. In sum, Abominable, Us, and Boys are the one unique motion pictures to open to No. 1 on the home B.O. this previous 12 months. DreamWorks Animation’s bread-and-butter comeback How to Prepare Your Dragon: The Hidden World was additionally a vibrant spot at $160.8M home, $520.2M WW.

Uni’s 12 months additionally consists of the general $208M stellar outcomes from Focus Options, which stored the autumn field workplace going with the Downton Abbey function movie ($96.85M) and Harriet, which counts $42.2M; they’re proof that upscale grownup pics actually work within the fall, and don’t have to be designated to streaming.

What Went Wrong: Really counter-programming. Not all of it turned to gold, i.e., Black Christmas, Final Christmas, and WTF occurred with DWA’s Abominable on the finish of the day with $176.3M WW? Additionally, sadly, the studio didn’t see the viewers and the critics from the bushes when it got here to the $90M musical Cats tanking with what the business estimates to be a $71M+ loss. Essentially the most intriguing film on their schedule, the Purple State vs. Blue State film The Hunt, moved off within the wake of mass shootings. Will it come again?

Common Footage

2020 Outlook: It’s off to an incredible begin with the huge launch of Sam Mendes’ 1917 on January 10. DWA’s Trolls World Tour (April 17) and Illumination’s Minions: Rise of Gru on July Three will do their jobs for the plenty, along with Quick & Livid 9 on Could 22. Halloween Kills on October 16 ought to do killer enterprise, and the Peele-produced and co-written Candyman on June 12 sounds intriguing. Dolittle at a $175M price ticket arrives with baggage and a low projection of $25M-$30M.

Sony Pictures

No. Four Sony ($1.32 billion, +3% vs. 2018)

What Went Right: Whereas Warner Bros and Common noticed annual declines within the face of Disney’s slate, Sony realized a small uptick due to its mixture of sequels to rebooted franchises like Spider-Man: Far From Residence ($1.1B WW) and Jumanji The Subsequent Degree ($450M WW up to now), plus turning Quentin Tarantino’s unique function As soon as Upon a Time in Hollywood into an occasion; its the director’s fourth to cross $300M WW, and general his second highest-grossing film of all time with $372M. Whereas Disney-Marvel’s Kevin Feige is the key sauce to the Avengers-integrated Spider-man, Sony agreed to maintain the collection alive for a threequel with Disney taking a 25% co-finance fairness stake and having Spidey cross over in one other Disney-Marvel film. Good transfer. Additionally, the studio’s awards-season fare of A Stunning Day within the Neighborhood and Little Ladies did a lot better than final 12 months’s 4Q canines, i.e., White Boy Rick, The Entrance Runner and 2017 carryover All of the Cash within the World. However general, the upside with the Tom Rothman administration is that when it swings, it does so at an environment friendly price, and minimizes threat even when it means taking up co-fi companions. A worthwhile 12 months is what many exterior finance sources maintain telling us.

What Went Wrong: Regardless of discovering success within the rejuvenation of dormant franchise Jumanji, the plan to reboot growing older Sony cinema IP didn’t actually pan out: Elizabeth Banks’ horrendous Charlie’s Angels and Males in Black Worldwide, although besieged by manufacturing issues, didn’t create pleasure for moviegoers regardless of Thor: Ragnarok stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson). Zombieland: Double Faucet did barely lower than its first chapter 10 years in the past stateside, $72.8M versus $75.6M; although barely higher WW with $121M versus $102.3M. A part of the issue right here entailed Sony dashing these initiatives into improvement with a purpose to construct a 2019 pipeline. Additionally, sorry, however regardless of low budgets, Display screen Gems motion pictures aren’t the money cows they use to be with Brightburn, The Intruder and Black and Blue all posting low ticket gross sales.

Vin Diesel in “Bloodshot”
Columbia Footage

2020 Outlook: Hopefully Dangerous Boys For Life and The Grudge jump-start the 12 months and enhance on the studio’s rebooted IP plan. Exterior of that, like Disney, there’s brisker fare on Sony’s schedule because it seeks to begin new franchises in Vin Diesel’s Bloodshot (February 21), Marvel vampire Morbius (July 31) starring Jared Leto and Blumhouse’s big-screen tackle 1970s-’80s TV collection Fantasy Island (February 14). Additionally, the Culver Metropolis lot is taking one other stab at Ghostbusters with Afterlife (July 10) beneath Jason Reitman, who inherits the property from his father Ivan Reitman.

No. 5 Lionsgate ($768.5M, +98% vs. 2018)

What Went Right: The mini-major thrived in a Disney-dominated market due to a marquee R-rated model in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum ($171M home), Rian Johnson’s unique whodunit Knives Out ($110M-plus), and the ultimate Tyler Perry film beneath their umbrella, A Madea Household Funeral ($73.2M).

What Went Wrong: Lionsgate used to win over millennials, and nonetheless lacks that uber-franchise like Twilight, Starvation Video games, or Divergent. Again in June, Lionsgate mentioned it was in talks to deliver Suzanne Collins’ Starvation Video games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, to the display in some unspecified time in the future sooner or later; the guide goes on sale Could 19. There’s additionally a giant gap in shedding Perry to Viacom. Whereas some middle-grossing pics financially labored of their favor, i.e., Angel Has Fallen ($69M), there was rather a lot that didn’t work, i.e., the Seth Rogen-Charlize Theron screwball comedy Lengthy Shot ($30.3M), Millennium’s Hellboy ($21.9M) and EuropaCorp’s Anna ($7.7M).


2020 Outlook: Principally unique, thrifty fare, which leaves a giant query mark as as to if it is going to rally. Some highlights embody the Christian-faith pic (a worthwhile sector for Lionsgate) I Nonetheless Consider, about singer Jeremy Camp starring Riverdale‘s Okay.J. Apa; the Janelle Monae distinctive horror film Antebellum on April 24; and one other try at comedy with Kristen Wiig-Annie Mumolo’s Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. Amongst IP, there’s an entire Noticed reboot with Samuel L. Jackson and Chris Rock on Could 15. Until it fills pics in its schedule, based on Comscore, the Deon Taylor thriller Fatale reps the final film dated on Lionsgate’s schedule for 2020 on October 9. The continued buzz round city is that Lionsgate will merge in some unspecified time in the future with one other studio.

Paramount Footage

No. 6 Paramount ($563.4M, -26% vs. 2018)

What Went Right: Not a lot, apart from mid-sized and low-budget motion pictures that Viacom sees as worthwhile, i.e., Elton John musical Rocketman ($96.3M home, $195.1M WW), alligator horror film Crawl ($39M, $91.5M WW, and the Walden Media-co-financed Dora and the Misplaced Metropolis of Gold ($60.4M, $119.6M WW).

What Went Wrong: After seeing a surge final 12 months due to Mission: Not possible – Fallout, the highest-grossing title within the Tom Cruise franchise, and the explosion of A Quiet Place, two linchpin motion pictures failed: the refurbished James Cameron-produced, Linda Hamilton-starring Terminator: Darkish Destiny didn’t have sufficient Shellac to impress the plenty ($62.2M home, $261.1M), and the Ang Lee-directed Will Smith motion movie Gemini Man ($48.5M), a long-gestating challenge about warring clones. Each had been Skydance co-productions and neither grossed in extra of $100M on the home B.O. With duds just like the $90M-plus Marvel Park ($45.2M home) on the schedule, the Melrose lot remained in transition mode, nonetheless affected by the sins of its earlier exec administration.

“A Quiet Place 2”
Jonny Cournoyer

2020 Outlook: A extra promising 12 months with long-awaited sequels (Prime Gun Maverick, SpongeBob Film: Sponge on the Run, A Quiet Place 2), the branching out of the studio’s Tom Clancy franchise with the Michael B. Jordan motion pic With out Regret, and the beginning of one thing nice and new with sci-fi motion pictures like Antoine Fuqua’s Infinite with Mark Wahlberg and Chris Pratt and Chris McKay’s The Tomorrow Struggle.

20th Century Fox

No. 7 20th Century Fox ($554.75M, -49% vs. 2018)

What Went Right: Racing automotive drama Ford v. Ferrari was the one film to work stateside, with $106M from huge Fox ($200M+ WW), and that was beneath the brand new Disney regime with the pic taking off proper out of Telluride and Toronto with nice vital and viewers response. Fox Searchlight had a vibrant spot with style pic Prepared or Not ($57.6M WW), and Toronto Movie Pageant winner Jojo Rabbit ($24M WW up to now), which counts two SAG and two Golden Globe noms. The label’s year-to-date grosses additionally embody $79.3M WW ($95.9M lifetime) from 2018’s Oscar-, Globe- and BAFTA-winning The Favorite. Searchlight stays an necessary label for Disney, as boss Bob Iger sees its product as being culturally related making waves at world festivals and inside awards season. Searchlight can sit up for a destiny on the large display, whereas huge Fox will cut up its improvement between streaming and theatrical.

What Went Wrong: General, with Disney taking on Fox simply previous to CinemaCon in April, the studio’s distribution and advertising and marketing arms had been enormously pressured. There was an try right here to place high quality big-budget fare in theaters, but it surely all went improper, i.e., Robert Rodriguez’s costly Alita: Battle Angel, the overpriced Regency astronaut artwork house-toned function Advert Astra, and the implosion of their X-Males franchise with Darkish Phoenix. Even low-budget motion pictures like motion comedy Stuber didn’t click on. Regardless that Disney took over advertising and marketing of those pics after the merger, the argument that the movies had been orphaned just isn’t a stable one as the flicks arrived to the Burbank lot with their very own baggage.

20th Century Fox

2020 Outlook: Regardless of the stale leftovers from previous Fox which have been rumored to have issues, i.e. the long-in-the-works The New Mutants on April Three and The Ladies within the Window on Could 15, Disney’s intention with huge Fox is to cowl its bases with grownup counter-programming. Such hope resides within the Ryan Reynolds motion comedy/online game satire Free Man on July 3, Kenneth Branagh’s Dying on the Nile on October 9, and Steven Spielberg’s West Facet Story remake on December 18.

The Mini-Majors


STX added two $100M-plus-grossing pics to its library with the January hit The Upside ($108.2M) and the autumn shock Jennifer Lopez crime pic Hustlers ($105M), changing into its second- and third-highest-grossing movies behind Dangerous Mothers ($113.2M). Hustlers repped STX’s largest opening on the home B.O. with $33.1M. Each pics took STX to $327.2M for 2019, +21% from 2018. As rumors swirled across the firm about its finance issues within the wake of UglyDolls tanking ($32.4M WW), Hustlers got here as an incredible Band-aid and a reminder of the potential of what this distributor can do on the field workplace when it has the appropriate pic, on the proper worth, priming the appropriate demos. In Hustlers’ case it was numerous females. I’m frequently advised that STX has sufficient capital to maintain itself alive, however has been searching for extra capital to develop. No matter it’s, its destiny will turn into extra clear in 2020. On the horizon is Miramax’s Man Ritchie motion pic The Gentleman on January 24, Brahms The Boy II on February 24, and the Dave Bautista household comedy My Spy on March 13.


MGM and Annapurna shaped a distribution and advertising and marketing three way partnership this 12 months in United Artists Releasing. Collectively, the labels made $280M on the home field workplace, +45% from their mixed 2018 complete. MGM discovered a brand new franchise in its close to $200M WW-grossing animated pic The Addams Household. Search for MGM to have an enormous 2020 with the brand new 007 film No Time to Die (April 10), Invoice and Ted Face the Music (Augusty 21), the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect (October 9) and Legally Blonde 3. 

About the author

James Ashley

James Ashley is a 2006 graduate of De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines. After working over a decade as an additional writer at USA News, he decided to start his own news publication. He mainly focuses on technology, sports articles and editorials. He likes to listen to music and play chess in his free time.

Email: [email protected]