Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World propel Hollywood in its best year ever

It’s official: 2015 was the biggest year ever for Hollywood.

North American box-office sales crossed the US$11 billion mark, said the media research group Rentrak.

Propelled by the blockbusters Jurassic World and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, US and Canadian ticket sales surpassed the high of $10.9bn set in 2013. Revenue is up 7.2 per cent this year.

Sequels to already popular films and revivals of older hits, such as Avengers: Age of Ultron and Furious 7, were largely responsible for the record. Walt Disney and Comcast’s Universal Pictures were the main beneficiaries, sharing almost half of the year’s spoils. Universal had the biggest share, with sales of $2.55bn, according to the revenue research site Box Office Mojo. Rentrak expects $11.1bn in total sales by year-end.

“You are getting a great momentum heading into 2016,” Eric Wold, an industry analyst at B Riley & Co, said in an interview. While this year’s totals were slightly below his initial predictions, the fourth quarter is expected to exceed his forecasts.

Revenue from Star Wars will feed into next year, delivering a possible 4 per cent increase and alleviating concerns about the year’s film slate, Mr Wold said.

A diverse film mix contributed to the industry’s success, said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst at Rentrak, in the statement.

With US films so popular internationally, the record North American take also signals a new high mark for the global box office, which has been rising steadily in recent years mainly due to rapid growth in China.

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