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2016 Was The Biggest Year Ever For Hollywood

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North Americans spent $11.3 billion on movies in 2016 (and an untold more in parking and popcorn costs), making the year the top grossing of all time. 2016 also clocked in 724 feature releases - another record.

According to Box Office Mojo, "Finding Dory" was the top domestic earner of 2016, pulling in $486 million.

"Captain America: Civil War" had the year’s biggest opening weekend (and the fifth biggest of all time) with $179 million for the three days following its May 6 release. It also ranked as the biggest world-wide earner, with over $1.1 billion in global ticket sales.

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“Forgetful fish, super-heroes, household pets and space travelers led the charge in a year that was marked by an incredibly-diverse selection of films form every genre, and of every size and scope from all the studios,” Paul Degarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore, said, notes City News Service.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the industry’s record comes despite a string of flops (did you see "Rules Don’t Apply"? Yeah, neither did I) and empty franchise films ("Assassin’s Creed", anyone?).

“I’ve talked to people at these companies, and they all seem to think the problem is they are putting out bad movies, as opposed to the consumers are demanding change," Doug Cruetz, an analyst for the Wall Street firm Cowen Group, said.

He continued:

I think they are in denial about what’s going. I don’t know what they can do other than shut down a studio or two. …Just days after "Lights Out" or a "Secret Life of Pets" opens, a sequel is announced. They greenlight these movies without a script and say we need this movie in two or three years. It’s bad for the creative process. I don’t know that they have any other good options. In the old days, studios would have bad times and go bankrupt. Now they are owned by big conglomerates. They can lose money as far as they eye can see, but they are not going to go away.
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But Disney chairman Alan Horn does not expect the studios’ strategy to change anytime soon. "It’s tough out there," Horn began. "I don’t think the competition for people’s time and attention has ever been more intense, and, simultaneously, as an industry we have a lot of films looking for a slice of the pie over the course of the summer. So whether it’s a franchise film or a brand-new concept, it is absolutely essential that we create compelling content that gets people to stop everything else they’re doing and go to the theater.”

According to Variety, Megan Colligan, marketing and distribution chief for Paramount, agrees that franchise films are still the most worth-while investment.

“You have to do a lot of work to convince people of why you made another movie and why they need to see it.”