Thursday, March 24, 2016

Biggest cinema markets ranked by box office. UK in top 5

These will vary over time, but the UK and France are Europe's biggest markets, with Japan and China key Asian markets. China is expected to eventually exceed the US box office (perhaps towards the end of 2017?), but India's massive population is less likely to follow suit with ticket prices so much lower in the countryside.

The UK is dwarfed by the US and China, but it, France and Japan are closely matched and are ranked differently depending on the survey/year but is the 3rd, 4th or 5th biggest cinema market in the world, a definite top 5 market. Note how low its share from nationally produced films is - US films account for 4 times the box office of UK-produced films. No figure is given for the US but this would be in the high 90%+ range.

Table from Wiki. Note that China's figures are more recent than the rest, significant as they are growing every year.

Table from Statista. Note how the Chinese figure has shot up! Most other markets are relatively stable.

This is already having a massive impact:

  • narratives are being simplified and dumbed down (the Transformers Pirates of the Caribbean and Fast and the Furious franchises are typical),
  • the tentpole strategy is being reinforced across the big six
  • both of these points link to the hegemony of CGI/SFX spectaculars,
  • casting is changing to include non-Caucasian actors with star appeal in major foreign markets ...
  • with a similar impact on locations - scenes shot in key markets are common;
  • we've even seen tentpole movies that flopped in the US rescued because of high foreign box office: there will only be another Terminator movie because of the exceptional Chinese box office take!
  • the US box office share of a typical major hit is down to 30% - only a decade ago that was 50% - and still falling!
One of the most useful articles you'll ever read on cinema!

Tom Brooks provides the best analysis of this revolution in global cinema that I've come across, with lots of very specific examples to illustrate and back up his analysis: How the global box office is changing Hollywood.

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