Searing temperatures in the Northeast and Midwest likely helped fuel the boom, along with Independence Day newcomer ‘The First Purge.’
There were major fireworks at the July Fourth box office this year as revenue reached its highest level in five years, including an uptick of 29 percent over 2017.
Searing temperatures in the Northeast and Midwest no doubt was one of the reasons for the stronger-than-usual showing. On Wednesday, heat advisories and heat warnings affected more than 94 million people.
Independence Day is historically a mixed bag when it comes to moviegoing, with many consumers otherwise occupied. It also helped that Universal decided to open The First Purge on Wednesday.
According to comScore, ticket sales for the day clocked in at $43.5 million, compared to $33.9 million in 2017, $40.9 million in 2016, $37.2 million in 2015 and $37.9 million in 2013. In 2013, revenue hit a record $63.1 million on July Fourth, thanks in large measure to the $24.5 million earned by Despicable Me 2.
The big earners this year were Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom ($11.5 million), Incredibles 2 ($9.6 million) and The First Purge, which posted an opening-day gross of $9.3 million.
“In the midst of a red-hot summer movie season, the air-conditioned sanctuary of the movie has an even greater degree of appeal to moviegoers looking to cool off while enjoying the latest cinematic treats that Hollywood has on offer,” says comScore’s Paul Dergarabedian. “Back in the day, the ‘air conditioned comfort’ of the movie theater was a big selling point when AC was more of a rarity in the average home.”
On July Fourth in 2017, Despicable Me 3 took in $12.7 million, but after that, there was a big drop-off. Baby Driver came in No. 2 with $4.4 million, followed by Wonder Woman with $4.1 million.
Universal and Blumhouse’s The First Purge opted to open midweek to get a jump on Ant-Man the Wasp, which begins its run Thursday night before opening everywhere on Friday.