International box office revenues soared in 2012, MPAA reports

Chris Hemsworth portrays Thor, left, and Chris Evans portrays Capt. America in a scene from "The Avengers," one of the hit films of 2012.
(Zade Rosenthal / Associated Press)

Hollywood remains a hot global commodity, according to a new industry report.

Global movie ticket sales soared to new heights last year, climbing 6% to $34.7 billion, fueled mainly by growth in international box office revenue, according to a report by the Motion Picture Assn. of America, the chief lobbying arm for the major studios.

International ticket sales reached $23.9 billion, up 6% compared to 2011 and up 32% over five years ago, driven by growth in Russia, Brazil, and China, which last year surpassed Japan as the world’s largest international box office market for movies, the MPAA said in its annual survey of the industry.

China had $2.7 billion in movie ticket sales last year, while Japan had $2.4 billion. The U.K., the third-largest international market, sold $1.7 billion in tickets.


In the U.S. and Canada, 2012 box office revenue was $10.8 billion, up 6% from 2011 and 12% from five years ago, as theaters profited from such hits as “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises.”

The increase was driven largely by an increase in admissions to 2-D films. Revenue from higher-priced 3-D films was flat and average ticket prices remained virtually unchanged.

Theaters sold 1.36 billion tickets in 2012, up 6% from 2011 and reversing two years of declines. Nonetheless, admissions were down from 1.52 billion in 2003, underscoring the long-term challenges exhibitors face to grow their business as consumers get increasingly more entertainment options in the home.

For 2013, box office sales have slowed considerably. Ticket sales are down 12%, a result of several misfires, including Warner Bros.’ comedy “Jack the Giant Slayer.”


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