Two studios completely dominated the US box office this year

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2015 is shaping up to be a massive year at the US box office, possibly even the biggest ever thanks to some gigantic blockbusters already released and two of the potentially biggest releases ever (Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Spectre) still to come. In short: there are a whole lot of people counting a whole lot of money over in Hollywood this year, and nobody has more money to count than Universal and Disney.

If the likes of Warner Bros., Fox, Paramount, Sony and Lionsgate have stacks of cash arriving at their respective doorsteps, then Universal and Disney have mountains of dollars so big that some Hobbits probably will want to drop a ring in it. According to Rentrak Forecasting (via The Wrap) the two studios completely obliterated the competition, accounting for a combined 61% of all US ticket sales thus far.

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They achieved this completely dominant position by being responsible for 7 of the top 10 earners for the year, with Universal boasting the top spot with Jurassic World‘s $638 domestic total. That figure combined with Furious 7‘s third spot domestic take of $351 million has helped Universal to already notch up $2.04 billion at the domestic market, setting new records for the fastest any studio has ever reached both the $1 billion and $2 billion domestic mark.

The studio’s unprecedented success has also carried over to the international market where Jurassic World‘s $1.562 billion and Furious 7‘s $1.515 billion global tally has pushed the studio to total global earnings of $5.53 billion, the most that any studio has ever earned in a year in history! Disney is of course no slouch with The Avengers: Age of Ultron bringing in $1.4 billion globally on its own, Pixar’s Inside Out adding another $690 million to that. And of course it still has Star Wars: The Force Awakens in its pocket, which is about as certain to crack a billion dollars globally as any movie has ever been, with many predicting it could actually hit the $2 billion mark – something only two other movies has ever achieved.

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That type of financial performance has essentially only left the proverbial table scraps for the other studios to fight over. Warner Bros is the third biggest domestic earner of the year with just 14% of the market share, equating to about $1.2 billion. Although The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies and American Sniper certainly helped to buoy their profits with respective $255 million and $350 million domestic tallies, movies like Mad Max: Fury Road, Magic Mike XXL and San Andreas ended up being only moderate hits instead of the big earners the studio had hoped for, while Guy Ritchie’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is looking to be a bomb in the US with just $27 million to its name thus far.

And speaking of bombs, the hugely messy one of Fantastic Four has probably helped in Fox going from the biggest studio in 2014 to not even getting a medal with its fourth place effort of just 7% or about $755 million of the market share. It’s estimated that Fantastic Four could end up costing the studio a $60 million write-off, with nothing else scheduled for the year that could help recoup those losses.

As for the rest of the studios, they barely warrant a mention in this discussion, appearing as nothing more than blips on the radar when compared to Universal and Disney. Essentially, this is what the current domestic box office landscape looks like in picture form.

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Last Updated: August 27, 2015

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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