Hollywood has another huge year thanks to ‘Star Wars’
The “Star Wars” force is on track to hoist North American box office receipts above $11 billion for the third year in a row.
That’s if the final six days of 2017 come close to matching the $408 million in ticket sales generated over the same period last year, according to comScore.
The total gross of $11.1 billion forecast by comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian would make 2017 Hollywood’s third-best year ever — 2.5 percent below 2016’s record $11.38 billion and 0.3 percent behind 2015’s $11.13 billion.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” contributed $408 million to the 2016 total after its Dec. 16 opening, while “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” jolted Hollywood’s 2015 take by $652 million after a Dec. 18 release.
This year’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which opened on Dec. 15, has already added $400 million alone to exhibitor coffers and is expected to deliver $100 million more.
The strong finish will save the industry from a disastrous summer, when receipts fell below $4 billion for the first time in 11 years.
Experts blamed the summer doldrums on franchise fatigue, noting that Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” and Paramount’s “Transformers: The Last Knight” were in their fifth iterations.
Hollywood was pleasantly surprised by an 11 percent uptick in the fall’s box office. “It” from Warners Bros. led the turnaround by generating a worldwide gross of $700 million on a budget of $35 million.
This holiday season, which Box Office Mojo defines as the first Friday in November through New Year’s weekend, already boasts five $100 million-plus openers — “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Justice League,” “Coco” and “Wonder,” in addition to “The Last Jedi.”
Two more are almost certain to join this exalted club: “Daddy’s Home 2” and “Murder on the Orient Express,” each with receipts in excess of $99 million and counting.