`Star Wars' Projected to Lift U.S. Box Office Over $11 Billion

Iger: 'Star Wars' Could Get Even Bigger
  • Rentrak estimates U.S., Canadian ticket sales will rise 6.3%
  • `Jurassic World,' `The Force Awakens' boost Universal, Disney

The record debut this month of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” along with blockbusters like “Jurassic World” earlier in the year, have put the U.S. movie industry on track to crack $11 billion in ticket sales for the first time ever.

The North American box office, which includes U.S. and Canadian theaters, is forecast to rise 6.3 percent to $11.01 billion in 2015, Rentrak Corp. said Tuesday in an e-mailed statement. That would surpass the current record of $10.92 billion set in 2013.

While the overall number signifies health, studios with massive event movies are outperforming their rivals. Universal Pictures, which released “Jurassic World,” “Furious 7” and “Minions,” leads the industry with 23 percent of ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo. Time Warner Inc., which distributed “American Sniper” in late 2014, is in second place with 18 percent. Walt Disney Co., with only 11 films, follows with 17 percent. The company’s releases include “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Inside Out” and “The Force Awakens,” which is still in theaters.

The popularity of big films like “The Force Awakens” could give a boost to future moviegoing by getting people excited about going to cinemas, said Dave Hollis, executive vice president of distribution at Disney.

“An event film like this ends up being something that can drive the business overall, get people back in the habit,” he said on Dec. 20, after “The Force Awakens” delivered its record-breaking opening weekend.

Record Year

North American ticket sales forecast to rise 6.3%

YearTotal (billions)Change
2015 (est.)$11.01+6.3%
2014 10.36-5.2
2013 10.92+1.0
2012 10.81+6.1
2011 10.19-3.7

* Source: Rentrak Corp.

“The Force Awakens,” released officially on Dec. 18, generated a record $248 million in opening-weekend domestic receipts and $529 million globally. Through Monday, Disney estimated the movie had increased its total to $610.8 million.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE