Before seeing the tremendous debut of Avengers: Endgame (earning over $350 million domestically in ticket sales on opening weekend), many wondered if we were in the endgame for movie theatres. Now some are wondering how it was even possible to take in that much, and where the extra capacity came from.
Fun trivia about how the records were broken in the US:
90% of all movie ticket sales that weekend were for Avengers: Endgame, with some theatres showing only that movie, on all their screens, for 96 hours straight!
Box Office Mojo has calculated the worldwide ticket sales of the movies in the Marvel cinematic universe to be almost 20 billion dollars since the release of Ironman in 2008 just 11 years ago. Click here for a breakdown of each movie.
Given how sharply the Marvel movie broke through revenue records, the public appetite to see movies in theatres looks strong. But a single success or string of successes may not represent the larger trend of how entertainment dollars are being spent.
Earlier this year, Netflix made the surprising statement that they compete with and lose to a video game, Fortnite, more than they compete with HBO, which most would consider their direct competition.
Why would a TV and movie streaming service suggest that a video game is its competition?
Perhaps because Fortnite took in $2.4 billion globally in revenue in 2018, more than the highest grossing movie of 2018 (Black Panther, another Marvel movie, which took in over $1.3 billion worldwide).
Let’s compare the industry numbers from 2008-2018 in the US:
Movie ticket box office receipts: $9.75 billion
Video game industry: $11.7 billion
Movie ticket box office receipts: $11.9 billion
Video game industry: $43 billion
In fact, though movie theatre receipts are up from 2008 to 2018, actual ticket sales have fallen from approximated 1,358 million to 1,312 million according to the-numbers.com.
Read a detailed report on the 2018 figures from the Hollywood reporter here.
Casual mobile gaming has added to video games’ share of entertainment dollars. Creators of movies and streaming content are meeting this trend as well – as we can see with Disney recently partnering with FoxNetGames to utilize the Marvel universe for the video game Marvel Strike Heroes which generated over 150 million in revenue in it’s first year. Apple announced a new gaming subscription service to launch alongside their new streaming platform later this year.
It’s often said that “the movie was good, but it wasn’t as good as the book” because the movie is an abridged version, as there is a very limited time to work with. Netflix’s mini-series and binge-watching approach has increased that timeframe. On the other hand, some of these videogames have over 100 hours of unique storytelling and others having a near-limitless universe of continuously added free user created content. Perhaps we will start hearing people say: “the movie was good, but you really need to play the game to get the full experience.”
The frenzy to see the final Avengers on the silver screen indicates a desire to keep this medium alive and in place, but one must also ask – Once Disney launches it’s new subscription streaming service how will it handle it’s blockbuster releases?Will they be available immediately at the same time that they are available in theatres in order to reward subscribers or promote their service? Perhaps instead they might offer discounted tickets to their movies on the silver screen for subscribers.
Since 2012, Disney has had the highest grossing movie by ticket sales every single year, but it’s possible they would gain more from a family in subscription fees in a year than via movie theatre revenue. The Avengers: Endgame, may end up being the endgame for Disney’s movie theater opening weekends, once their new subscription is launched, but it may just be the beginning. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.