CinemaCon: Global Box Office Hit New Heights in 2015

Adam Driver Star Wars The Force Awakens
A scene from box office blockbuster ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’.

How well did movies perform in theaters in 2015? The question was answered at 2016’s CinemaCon when National Association of Theatre Owners President John Fithian and MPAA Chairman Chris Dowd presented the numbers to the convention during the State of the Industry Address. 2015’s box office revenue totaled a record $38.3 billion, increasing by more than 6% over 2014’s numbers.

Dodd made a point of stressing those numbers are a reflection of the strength and importance of the international box office. Only $11.1 billion of the total came from North American box offices and Dodd predicted China will soon be bigger than the North American market.

Crediting diverse moviegoing audiences, Fithian confirmed teenagers are helping to drive the market. Although teens turn to their iPads and other mobile devices to watch videos, they’re still turning out to movies in healthy numbers. “Teenagers remain the strongest segment of moviegoers,” said Fithian. “Last year per capita ticket sales for Americans aged 12 to 17 was 7.3, with the highest growth rate of any age demographic.”

Fithian also said that teenagers tend to spend more in theaters and will pay the premium price for watching films in 3D and IMAX more than any other demographic does. However, according to Fithian teens just aren’t that interested in television.

Speaking to the diversity issue, with international cinema selling tickets in record numbers, Dodd said, “One issue that our country continues to face is the need to do a better job reflecting and cultivating diversity.” He does believe the film industry is working toward being more diverse and is taking “productive steps” in that direction.