2014 Box Office: Admissions Lowest Since 1995; How The Studios Rank

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Despite a fantastic Christmas at the box office, 81 million people didn’t buy movie tickets this year. Not only were this year’s domestic admissions of 1.259 billion off 6% from 2013’s 1.34B, but the number of tickets sold hit their lowest level since 1995 when 1.211B people went to the cinema.  
Calculations are based on this year’s 3Q ticket price average of $8.12 from the National Association of Theater Owners, just a penny off from 2013’s $8.13. The upside is that thanks to Christmas, 2014 crossed $10 billion with a current estimated running cume for January 1-December 28 of $10.22B per Rentrak Theatrical. Some of the major studios are still on holiday with final figures set to be released on January 5.  Here at Deadline we’re weighing 2014 according to the fiscal year of January 1-December 31, and we’ll be providing updates about the year along the way (studios tend to include the first weekend of January in their previous year’s hauls). Through Sunday, six studios have made in excess of $1B – Fox, Disney, Warner Bros., Sony, Paramount and Universal – a scenario not unlike 2013. Here we give a rundown of the majors and the mini-majors this year.

Fifty Shades of Grey posterInsiders attribute the down year to lackluster product and the lack of even bigger tentpoles versus ticket prices, which remained level. And that’s not a line: According to Rentrak, 25 major studio titles moved off this year’s release schedule including Universal’s Furious 7  (previously dated July 11), Disney/Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur (May 30), Focus Features’ Fifty Shades Of Grey (August 1), Disney’s George Clooney starrer Tomorrowland (December 12), the Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending (July 18) and Universal’s Minions (December 19) – titles which collectively could have pushed 2014 over last year.  Even Open Road/Worldview Entertainment’s horror film Green Inferno from cult director Eli Roth was pulled from the slow post Labor Day frame (leaving zero new wide titles) — a period when a horror title could have easily generated some green from bored teens.
Nonetheless, distrib chiefs aren’t fretting that they’ve lost moviegoers, particularly the prime young male 18-24 demo to such distractions as videogames and viral videos. More goods news: 2014 is the sixth year in a row to surpass $10B, and this year is running 3% higher than 2011. When broaching the subject about the off year with distribution chiefs, they’d rather take a 5% dip at the domestic B.O. any time. Says Universal distrib chief Nikki Rocco, “You’re gonna have good years and you’re gonna have bad years.”

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