Studio Report Cards: Disney Dominates as Amazon, STX Stumble

     December 22, 2018


As 2018 comes to an end, it’s time to look back on the movie year that was and crack open my Hollywood grade book in order to hand out Studio Report Cards. In a sense that makes me Santa Claus, making a list of which studios have been naughty and which have been nice, at least in terms of box office. Which studio executives will have a bonus waiting for them under the Christmas tree, and who will find a lump of coal waiting in their stocking? Let’s find out!

But first, some things to keep in mind. For starters, distribution terms vary among studios (Disney drives a hard bargain with theater owners), but the general rule when it comes to box office is, divide the worldwide gross in half, because you’re splitting revenues with theater owners, and keep in mind that all of the budgetary figures below are based on reported production budgets, so not only could they be inflated or under-reported, but they do not factor in major costs like marketing. Also, some films aren’t released overseas, and even if they are, international grosses can be hard to come by for films that aren’t released by major studios, which is the case with certain titles listed below.

Grades were given out largely based on box office, but there were other factors to consider, such as the variety and ambition behind a studio’s slate, and how films were received by both critics, audiences, and awards voters, though it’s still a tad early on that last front. With Netflix, we had to grade on a scale, as the company doesn’t typically release films in theaters, and even when it does, it doesn’t report grosses.

I’m sure there were some major distributors we missed this year, so my sincere apologies to those companies, but we don’t have time to cover everything and everyone. Without further ado, let’s dive in and examine the year that was…

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