The domestic box office saw a 3.4% uptick from a year ago, reports Variety. The overall movie business finished 2006 with $9.13 billion in receipts, up from 2005’s $8.83 billion.
But last year’s totals couldn’t beat the $9.21 billion tally posted in 2004, when Shrek 2, Spider-Man 2 and The Passion of The Christ topped the charts.
Powered by The Da Vinci Code, as well as Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and Casino Royale, Sony took the market share crown with 18.59%. The studio hit $1.69 billion in ticket sales.
Disney, however, managed to land just a few percentage points behind — at 16.1% — while releasing less movies than its competition (25 compared to Sony’s 30). The studio also had the top two films, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and Cars. Disney generated $1.47 billion in domestic ticket sales.
Fox, the home of overachievers The Devil Wears Prada and “Borat,” hit $1.4 billion, or 15.3% market share. X-Men: The Last Stand was its biggest earner, at $234.4 million, followed by Ice Age: The Meltdown at $195.3 million.
Warner Bros. wound up No. 4 in market share, generating $1.06 billion. Happy Feet was the cornerstone of that finish: The film ended the year with $175.9 million after a November rollout and will easily surpass the box office take of Superman Returns, Warners’ top film of the year at $200 million.
Handling distribution on DreamWorks movies, Paramount also was a beneficiary of animation. The studio’s biggest film was DreamWorks Animation’s Over the Hedge ($155 million), which helped the studio hit $961.3 million in ticket sales and take 10.5% of the market.
Like Paramount, Universal, in a transition year under new leadership, wasn’t able to crack $1 billion. The studio was sixth, with The Break-Up its biggest film at $118.7 million.
New Line was eighth, finishing behind indie brand Lionsgate, which led all stand-alones or studio specialty divisions.
Lionsgate took in more than $331 million, led by its horror franchise hit Saw III.
The Weinstein Company ($223.6 million) and Focus Features ($180.6 million) also finished among the year’s top 10 distributors.
Fox Searchlight Pictures, which had the Sundance hit Little Miss Sunshine on its slate, grabbed $161.5 million, ahead of Sony Pictures Classics’ $60.1 million, Paramount Vantage’s $46.5 million and Miramax’s $46.1 million.
MGM saw some year-end life with Rocky Balboa but was ranked 11th in market share as the studio gears up under Harry Sloan.