Toronto Star

Guardians, Hobbit save the box office


While 2014 couldn’t compete with 2013’s record box office, some unexpected heroes kept it from being a disaster.

Buoyed by a late boost from Peter Jackson’s final Hobbit film, the movie industry will finish the year with about $10.5 billion (all figures U.S.) in ticket sales, according to estimates from Rentrak. That’s down 5 per cent, well short of last year’s impressive $10.9-billion domestic haul.

The year “was confoundin­g at best and frustratin­g at worst,” Rentrak analyst Paul Dergarabed­ian says.

It could have been worse: in early summer, ticket sales were down as much as 20 per cent.

Guardians of the Galaxy — this year’s overall domestic box office champ with a $332.7 million take — and a rebooted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles turned the tide in August.

“Right when we needed it, Guardians came along and blew away everybody’s expectatio­ns,” Dergarabed­ian says. “That was a movie where you’d think it should be released in May, June or July, but they went in August and that created a real momentum. It created a new wave of movie-going.” USA Today

JLaw top-grossing star of the year

Jennifer Lawrence has had a bountiful 2014.

Forbes says the 24-year-old star earned the title of top-grossing actor for the year. Between The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 and X-Men: Days of Future Past, Lawrence’s movies have grossed $1.4 billion (all figures U.S.) at the box office worldwide this year.

Forbes notes that number will climb higher because Mockingjay is still in theatres. And Part 2 of Mockingjay is due in 2015.

Taking the No. 2 spot on the list was Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt. His work in the hit Lego Movie helped boost his payday. And No. 3? Scarlett Johansson with $1.18 billion. Most of Johansson’s take comes from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which grossed $714 million worldwide. USA Today

A holiday treat for Broadway producers

Theatregoe­rs were generous to Broadway producers this holiday season, with 19 of the current 36 shows breaking the $1-million mark (all figures U.S.) for the week and almost 30,000 more people in seats than last Christmast­ime.

The Broadway League says shows pulled in $40,993,950 for the week ending Sunday, better than the same week last year when 30 shows attracted $38,783,854. Attendance also

went from 290,386 in 2013 to 318,721 this year, with crowds taking advantage of mild New York weather and Christmas falling on a Thursday.

Several shows broke house records,

including A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder with $1,062,740 over eight shows; The Illusionis­ts: Witness the Impossible by grossing $1,811,228 over 10 shows; and It’s Only a Play, with Nathan Lane, with an eight-show record of $1,432,273.

But despite having Hugh Jackman in The River, Bradley Cooper in The Elephant Man and Sting in The Last Ship, an old favourite was once again the king of Broadway in 2014.

Disney’s The Lion King will remain Broadway’s highest grossing show of the year for the second time in a row, despite six other shows having higher average ticket prices.

 ?? ARTHUR MOLA/INVISION/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO ?? Jennifer Lawrence is the top-grossing actor of 2014, with more to come from Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1.
ARTHUR MOLA/INVISION/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO Jennifer Lawrence is the top-grossing actor of 2014, with more to come from Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1.

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