Each year, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) examines the state of the theatrical entertainment industry, which includes compiling data from various third party sources, analyzing box office numbers from approximately 100 countries, and conducting a survey of moviegoers.

Much of the data from 2017, as published in a recent MPAA THEME (theatrical and home entertainment market environment) report, should have much interest for Home Theater Forum members, as the gloom that is sometimes predicted by entertainment industry pundits is clearly contested by the information here. Although focusing on the key findings of the report, we may examine some of the individual sets of data in more depth in forthcoming articles.

Before mentioning some of 2017’s industry highlights, MPAA has stressed that several criteria for measuring data have been modified with what the organization describes as ‘an expanded scope’. For example, for the first time, MPAA has conducted research into status of the home entertainment market, having previously only concentrated on theatrical. All moviegoer surveys were conducted online, rather than by phone, as not surprisingly respondents are less easy to reach on the blower.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that although US/Canada box office figures decreased slightly when compared to 2016’s record high, they still matched the previous high from 2015. This is because US/Canada is a mature market with more than 263 million moviegoers, a high ratio of screens to population, but is still the largest box office globally. Developing or under-screened international markets will obviously therefore illustrate more compelling growth figures, as in Asia Pacific’s double-digit rate (+16% over 2016).

The global box office in 2017 reached a new record high of $40.6 billion, up 5% on 2016, with international figures alone showing a 7% hike to $29.5 billion, due largely to growth in China, and cinema screen counts globally are up by 8%.

As already stated, while US/Canada domestic box office did not reach 2016’s record high of $11.4 billion, it did match 2015’s previous high of $11.1 billion, and there are trends looking forward that suggest that there are many reasons to be ‘optimistic’, according to MPAA. For example, in 2017, more than three-quarters of the US/Canada population went to the movies at least once, while gender composition of the audience was divided equally among men and women. Audiences between the ages of 12 and 17 attended movies 4.9 over the year, closely followed by 18 – 24 year olds, while per capita attendance was highest among Latino and Asian audiences.

Meanwhile, in 2018, domestic box office showed a record-high for February, led by Black Panther, now the highest grossing superhero movie ever.

Over on the domestic front, global home entertainment consumer spending increased by 11 percent to $47.8 billion in 2017, while in the US, the HE market increased by 5% over 2016 to $20.5 billion. Other promising figures show that the number of subscriptions to online video services around the world increased to 446.8 million in 2017, a 33% increase compared to 2016. Online video content viewing continued to increase in 2017, with 167.5 billion views and transactions, a 41% increase over 2016. Americans alone now spend 49% of their media time on a digital platform.

Some of these figures might take readers by surprise with impressive showings of year-on-year trends, indicating little diminishing appetite for theatrical or residential media consumption. Let us know your thoughts, anecdotes or perceptions of the marketplace with your comments below.


Published by

Martin Dew


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Dave Upton

May 16, 2012
Houston, TX
Real Name
Dave Upton
I'm glad to hear that there is good news, it's been a lot of doom and gloom for the past few years, but this is a good sign IMO.