In the United States, box office attendance hit its lowest point in more than two decades in 2017, but around the world audiences spent $40 billion on movie tickets, a new record. One of the reasons: The United Kingdom and its love of Disney releases.
According to Variety, three of the top five films released in the UK last year were distributed by the House of Mouse. Star Wars: The Last Jedi landed on top with a gross of £73.1 million (it's still in release, so that number will grow), while the live-action Beauty and the Beast took second place with £72.4 million. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, another Disney release, placed fifth, behind Warner Bros.' Dunkirk and Universal's Despicable Me 3. Marvel Studios' Thor: Ragnarok and Sony's Spider-Man: Homecoming (a co-production with Marvel Studios) also made it into the top ten. The Last Jedi is apparently doing so well that it will ultimately crack the top five highest grossing films in the country's history.
All of this adds up to the highest-grossing movie year in British history. According to ComScore, the total for 2017 in the UK is £1.3 billion, which is nearly a 4 percent increase from 2016.
The biggest question, as it always is after a calendar year ends, is where things go from here. The global box office is huge, but the American box office is actually declining. To make things more complicated, Disney is now buying out much of 21st Century Fox's film assets, creating more consolidation in a world now fueled by tentpoles, and driven by viewers who'd like to watch things from the comfort of their own homes in the streaming and on-demand age. Where do we go from here? Well, we'll find out, because Disney is dropping three Marvel films and a Star Wars movie this year.