LOS ANGELES: The film industry has never been more successful than it was in 2018, when it earned US$96.8 billion - including over US$40 billion in cinema ticket sales, according to figures published Thursday (Mar 21) by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).
Online video streaming services such as Amazon Prime and Netflix in particular saw impressive growth, with subscriptions surpassing those of cable TV for the first time.
The MPAA, whose membership includes Hollywood's six largest studios - and most recently, Netflix - said that more than half (52 per cent) of Americans' screen time is spent on digital platforms.
"In today's dynamic marketplace, stories come to life for audiences in theaters, at home, and on the go," said MPAA CEO Charles Rivkin. "Our companies continue to deliver content where, when and how audiences want it - and the numbers released today speak volumes."
According to the report, the global film market - both in theaters and at home - grew by 9 per cent compared to 2017, driven by Disney smash hits such as "Black Panther" and "Avengers: Infinity War."
Spending on home viewing alone rose 16 per cent on the previous year, reaching US$55.7 billion.
"Since 2014, digital spending has increased 170 per cent globally," the report added.
In terms of subscriptions, sign-ups to online video services grew by 27 per cent to 613.3 million, while cable subscriptions dropped 2 per cent to 556 million.
But cable remains the biggest money-maker, pulling in US$118 billion in 2018 according to the report.
And while cinema ticket sales role in the US and Canada - up 7 per cent to US$11.9 billion - they dropped 1 per cent in the rest of the world to US$29.2 billion. However, that did not stop the opening of new cinemas, with the worldwide theater population rising 7 per cent to nearly 190,000.
Outside North America, seven countries saw box office totals over US$1 billion: China (US$9 billion) and Japan (US$2 billion) along with Britain, France, India and Germany.