Reports on the death of movie theaters have, again, been greatly exaggerated.
Last month was the biggest February in domestic box office history, generating over $996.4 million. That tops the previous February record of $818.2 million set in 2012 while falling just shy of the $1 billion threshold. It also rang in 27 percent higher than February 2017’s $782.5 million haul.
The month past is estimated to be the most attended* February on record with an estimated 110 million tickets sold, topping February 2004 and February 1997’s near-equal estimates of 107 million admissions. Year over year, attendance was up an estimated 24 percent from February 2017.
Black Panther was, of course, the anchor to this incredible month with a staggering $428.8 million haul earned over the course of just 14 days, representing 43 percent of the month’s entire market gross. The Marvel film currently stands as the 17th highest grossing film of all-time domestically after having already crushed the Presidents Day weekend and February opening weekend records formerly held (in its own impressive fashion) by Deadpool.
The latest Marvel phenomenon is on course for a third weekend atop the box office with $65 million or more, aiming to cross the $500 million domestic threshold by Sunday’s end. That would land it in the top ten films of all-time in a mere 17 days of release. Last Sunday, Black Panther tied Jurassic World as the second fastest films to cross $400 million — doing so in ten days, trailing only the eight-day record of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
At its current pace, Panther should easily soar past the $600 million domestic mark theatrically. It may even have a shot at $650-700 million when all is said and done.
Last month boasted other key players via the likes of Fifty Shades Freed ($91.7 million), Peter Rabbit ($73.5 million), and the continued holdover power of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ($47.6 million) and The Greatest Showman ($32.7 million). Game Night made its mark in a short window with $21.6 million since opening last Friday.
Oscar Nominees at the Box Office
The Post ($18.05 million), The Shape of Water ($16.1 million), and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri ($12.2 million) were the month’s top three earners among this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Picture.
Darkest Hour ($8.6 million), Phantom Thread ($7.7 million), Lady Bird ($5.3 million), and Call Me By Your Name ($4 million) rounded out the prestige titles, while Get Out and Dunkirk only had limited screenings since their runs effectively ended last year.
Although not a Best Picture nominee, I, Tonya earned a solid $8.4 million thanks to buzz around its own nominations.
2018 now stands at $1.96 billion — which is up 12.6 percent from where 2017 stood at the same point in time with $1.74 billion — and 6.8 percent ahead of 2016’s $1.835 billion record total through the end of February.
* attendance figures derived from dividing box office gross by NATO’s average ticket price relevant to each calendar period