So much for video streaming killing publishing and the Box Office. A record year for Hollywood, driven by books and comics

There’s still a week to go – and the busiest week of the year at that – and US Box Office takings are on target for $11.8 billion in 2018, compared to 2016’s previous record of $11.4 billion.

And it’s not just revenue. Attendance is up too, by between 5%-7% year on year.

So much for everyone sitting at home bingeing on Netflix.

But of course they are doing that too, and that’s the real beauty of the Global New Renaisance unfolding – that there is room for all forms and formats of entertainment. It’s not an either/or game.

We see the same thing in books despite all the doom and gloom predictions about how digital and self-publishing and video streaming would destroy mainstream publishing.

Yet Simon & Schuster just reported its best year in the history of the company –

“The most successful year in Simon & Schuster’s history.”

and across the board, amid the normal troughs and peaks of business, publishers are still here and still reporting profits, online retailers are booming, indie booksellers are doing well. And despite some management issues at Barnes & Noble, chain stores aren’t doing so badly either, as witness the UK’s Waterstones rising from imminent bankruptcy to growth and profitability despite Amazon dominating the UK book and ebook market.

And despite video streaming, music streaming, games and all the other shiny distractions that supposedly would drag readers away from books.

In fact, the boom in video streaming and Box Office attendance is fuelling the book industry.

It’s hard to find many films, at the Box Office or on the streaming services, that do not originate in the publishing sector and that do not, in turn, generate more interest in the books, comics and graphic novels that spawned them.

Black Panther, anyone? Aquaman? The Avengers: Infinity Wars? Deadpool 2?

Comics and graphic novels have certainly been a major contribution to the 2018 Box Office success, but so have “regular” books.

Try Crazy Rich Asians. Or Mary Poppins Returns. Or The Hate U Give. Or Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Or To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. Or Annihilation. Or…

Esquire last month published a list of The Best Movies Based on Books in 2018 (So Far).

There are any number of similar lists. The simple fact is, books to movies have never been so popular, and it works both ways.

Original movies invariably end up with a book or comic version or other spin-off.

Take The Incredibles, which began as a film inspired by comics in general and then the success of the film drove a series of comics books about the film characters. No doubt we’ll see the same for The Incredibles 2 soon.

Or take the 2017 Box Office hit The Greatest Showman which was quickly joined by The Greatest Showman – The Official Companion to the Hit Film: Behind the Scenes. Original Art. Exclusive Interviews.

And of course a quick look at the book charts in any given week will show books – often backlist titles – that are also movies.

Watch out for the Mary Poppins books of PL Travers, first published in 1934, to make an appearance in the charts soon.

Publishers are laughing all the way to the bank.

 

 

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