Films generate income from several revenue streams, including theatrical exhibition, home video, television broadcast rights, and merchandising. However, theatrical box office earnings are the primary metric for trade publications in assessing the success of a film, mostly because of the availability of the data compared to sales figures for home video and broadcast rights, but also because of historical practice.
James Cameron’s Avatar and Titanic remain the highest-grossing films of all time, worldwide. The Harry Potter franchise also remains in the top 100. 85% are from the franchises of Star Wars, The Twilight Saga, Harry Potter, and Disney. Only 15% are original pictures. Jurassic World: Lost Kingdom has earned more than $400 million since its release globally and is expected to be a massive hit in the box office in America. Avengers: Infinity War is the fourth highest-grossing film and is still running in the theatres.
Traditionally, war films, musicals, and historical dramas have been the most popular genres. According to Nathan Blake, an associate professor in the Northeastern University’s Media and Screen Studies program quoted that the success of these films is bolstered by the power of the franchise. Hollywood has become more comfortable with investing in franchise films with global appeal and broad marketing opportunities. Franchises also have large fan communities who invest time and money in these series and who often see these films multiple times.
Grosses are not limited to original theatrical runs either, with many older films often being re-released periodically so the figures represent all the business a film has done since its original release; a film’s first-run gross is included in brackets after the total if known.