Box office territory

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

A box office territory,[nb 1] in context of the film industry, ranges from a single country to a grouping of countries for reporting box office gross ticket sales.[1] This is distinct from dependent territories, though such territories under a country's administrative control may confuse box office revenue and reporting due to data variously including or excluding them.[2]



In box office parlance, "North America" is a territory that comprises the United States and Canada,[3] despite there being 23 countries within the geographical definition of North America. In context of the box office, North America is traditionally considered the territory with the largest gross. (It was overtaken by China in 2020.) Kelly Crabb wrote in her 2005 book The Movie Business that North America has traditionally represented the largest "source of revenues" and also has had "the world's most important" film distribution companies located in it.[4]

In 2020, China became the largest box office territory, overtaking North America in gross total. The transition, long anticipated by analysts, was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.[5]

Japan was originally the second-largest box office territory before it was surpassed by China in 2011.[6] In 2019, the next three largest territories were the South Korea, United Kingdom, and France.[7] The box office territory of the United Kingdom comprises the UK and Ireland.[8] Malta's box office is added to the UK and Ireland total by at least one data provider.[9] The countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, together known as Benelux, are sometimes treated as a single box office territory, although the data is also reported separately for each country by some data providers.[10][11]

Mexico, whose box office gross is reported separately from the "North American" data,[12] is the top box office territory in Latin America.[13]

North America and China[edit]

From 2011 to 2019,[6] China was the second largest territory, and The Hollywood Reporter said in 2016 that it was expected to surpass North America in the near future.[14] In September 2017, China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television predicted that China would surpass North America in 2020 as the number-one box office territory.[15] In the following October, The Observer reported, "Double-digit growth puts China back on pace to overtake North America as the No. 1 box office territory in the world within the next few years."[16] In April 2018, Variety reported, "It has frequently been predicted that the film business in China would overtake North America's. But many forecasters got their timing wrong when more than a decade of unbroken Chinese growth stalled between mid-2016 and mid-2017."[17] After China's box office grew 9% in 2018 compared to 13.5% the year before, Variety reported of China surpassing North America, "The uneven growth of recent years has undone numerous past forecasts of when that might happen."[18] Reuters reported that despite the second ranking, "[China] already has more total movie screens [than North America] after years of rapid expansion in theater networks."[19]

In 2020, China overtook North America as the world's largest box office market for the first time.[20] This has been largely attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic having a greater negative impact in North America than in China.[21] China was again the world's highest-grossing market in 2021.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Synonymous terms include box office market, movie territory, and cinema territory.


  1. ^ "comScore Announces Official Worldwide Box Office Results for Weekend of August 7, 2016". comScore. August 7, 2016. Archived from the original on December 25, 2016. Retrieved December 14, 2016. Territory is a movie studio term for regions of the world consisting of various countries.
  2. ^ Kroon 2014, p. 706: "In distribution contracts, these [territories and possessions] may be included as non-contiguous areas when licensing their parent company and may be excluded or licensed on their own or in other combinations. This confuses box office and revenue reporting since the data may include or exclude a country's [territories and possessions] depending on the data source, distribution channel, or media being reported, the time period, and the particular country, territory, or possession."
  3. ^ "Latest weekend domestic box office". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  4. ^ Crabb, Kelly (2005). The Movie Business: The Definitive Guide to the Legal and Financial Secrets of Getting Your Movie Made. Simon and Schuster. p. 333.
  5. ^ Brzeski, Patrick (October 18, 2020). "It's Official: China Overtakes North America as World's Biggest Box Office in 2020". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Pulver, Andrew (March 22, 2013). "China confirmed as world's largest film market outside US". The Guardian. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  7. ^ "MPA: 2019 Global Box Office and Home Entertainment". Motion Picture Association. 2020.
  8. ^ Gant, Charles (October 25, 2016). "I, Daniel Blake scores impressive result at UK box office as Trolls takes top spot". The Guardian. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  9. ^ Cox, David (January 23, 2013). "UK cinemas defy the recession and the Olympics with a bumper year". The Guardian. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  10. ^ Kroon 2014: "Benelux n. A common sales and distribution territory consisting of Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourgh. In many instances, data for these individual countries are combined into a single figure, somewhat analogous to the policy of reporting the combined U.S. and Canadian theatrical box office as a single figure."
  11. ^ Marich, Robert (2005). Marketing to Moviegoers: A Handbook of Strategies Used by Major Studios and Independents. Taylor & Francis. p. 200. ISBN 978-0-240-80687-7. However, such country combination designations exist elsewhere in the film business, such as the Benelux region in Europe (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg), without suggestion of undermining sovereignty.
  12. ^ Cain, Rob (February 12, 2016). "China's Roaring February Box Office Is Double North America's". Forbes. Retrieved December 14, 2016. Secondly, the U.S. is not actually the relevant territory for comparison, since film distributors count the U.S. and Canada together as a single united territory, North America (never mind that Mexico and the Caribbean are also parts of North America; for the purposes of box office calculations they're counted separately).
  13. ^ Castano, Ivan (August 5, 2016). "'Suicide Squad' Dropped by Mexico Movie Chain Amid Distributor Dispute". Variety. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  14. ^ Brzeski, Patrick (July 20, 2016). "What's Behind China's Sudden Box-Office Slump?". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  15. ^ Brzeski, Patrick (September 1, 2017). "China's Summer Box Office Soars 24 Percent as North America Sinks". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 15, 2018.
  16. ^ Katz, Brandon (October 20, 2017). "China's Box Office Surge Threatens US Business". The Observer. Retrieved January 15, 2018.
  17. ^ Frater, Patrick (April 2, 2018). "China Box Office Overtakes North America in First Quarter of 2018". Variety. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  18. ^ Davis, Becky (January 2, 2019). "China Box Office Growth Slows to 9% in 2018, Hits $8.9 Billion". Variety. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  19. ^ Staff (December 31, 2018). "China 2018 movie box office revenue growth slows". Reuters. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  20. ^ McClintock, Pamela (1 January 2021). "It's Official: 2020 Domestic Box Office Fell 80 Percent to $2.3B Behind China's $2.7B". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  21. ^ "China overtakes US as world's biggest movie box office in 2020". Sky News. Sky Group. 19 October 2020. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  22. ^ Brzeski, Patrick (January 3, 2022). "China Retains Global Box Office Crown With $7.3B in 2021, Down 26 Percent From 2019". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 4, 2022.