Global markets saving films from US movie malaise

Movie lovers around the world bailed out Hollywood last year.

While movie ticket sales dipped 2 percent in the US/Canada market in 2017, they were up 5 percent globally — led by strong growth in China and Latin America.

Global growth in ticket sales pushed worldwide ticket sales in 2017 past the $40 billion mark for the first time — to $40.6 billion, according the annual report released Wednesday by the Motion Picture Association of America.

“Beyond the box office, audiences are not limited in how they can enjoy their favorite movies,” Charles Rivkin, the chairman of the MPAA wrote. “Films today not only have a second screen, but a third and fourth.”

China, with a box-office pop of 21 percent, took in $7.9 billion in movie receipts — making it the No. 2 movie market behind the US.

Japan is ranked No. 3, with ticket sales of $2.0 billion.

Latin America produced the largest relative increase — up 22 percent over 2016 — pushing the value of tickets sold to $3.4 billion.

In the US/Canada market, the box office shrank to $11.1 billion, slightly below the record high of $11.4 billion achieved in 2016.

Even more disturbing was a 6 percent decline in North American movie admissions, which reduced the number of tickets sold last year to a 22-year low of 1.24 billion.

More than three-quarters of the US and Canadian population went to movie theaters at least once in 2017, Rivkin wrote in the annual report.

Rivkin also noted the market’s filmgoing audience was split 50-50 by gender, while youngsters in particular remain keen on movies.

The 12-to-17 set attended 4.9 movies over the year — more than any other age group — although 18-to-24-year-olds weren’t far behind, according to MPAA data.

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