2018 Had the Biggest Box Office Ever. Thanks, ‘Black Panther’

Happy gnu year, and welcome back to The Monitor, WIRED’s roundup of the latest in the world of culture, from box-office tallies to casting news. In today’s installment: A final look at the money-making movie titans of 2018; Coachella announces its headliners for 2019; and a reminder that Hollywood is still an institutionally corrupt patriarchy struggling to keep up with the times!

Ticket Masters

The box office reached an all-time high in 2018, earning nearly $12 billion in revenue in the United States alone—and eclipsing a previous record set in 2016. Last year’s big winner, not surprisingly, was Disney, which released 2018’s three top-grossing filmsBlack Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Incredibles 2—as well as Ant-Man and the Wasp and, uh, Solo. Overseas, foreign box office totals were also up over the previous year, reaching nearly $30 billion, thanks in no small part to such worldwide smashes as Venom and Bohemian Rhapsody. And though an official tally for attendance isn’t available yet, it’s expected that the number of North American ticket-buyers in 2018 increased as well—which is good news for 2019. However, a different new data set is far less optimistic about the state of the industry…

Hollywood’s Gender Disparity

A new study by San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film finds that, despite increased coverage and awareness of Hollywood’s woefully out-of-whack approach to gender equality, women are still underrepresented in filmmaking. The study notes that 20 percent of 2018’s top 250 films featured women in roles characterized as “above-the-line”—an admittedly imperfect term used to describe the work of directors, writers, producers, and other key creatives. That number is up slightly from 2017, but it still amounts to “radical underrepresentation”, according to Martha Lauzen, the study’s author, who notes that, without equally radical steps to correct the issue, “we are unlikely to see meaningful change.”

Coachella Gets a Grande Lineup

Coachella released the lineup for its April festival on Thursday, and this year the multi-weekend gathering will be headlined by Childish Gambino, Ariana Grande, and Tame Impala. (There are also reports that Kanye West was going to land a top-billed spot, but that negotiations broke down when the festival’s organizers wouldn’t let him mess with the design of the desert venue’s main stage. Perhaps he wanted all of the lights on at once?) Also on the lineup: Solange Knowles, Bad Bunny, the 1975, and Kacey Musgraves, among 2,386 others. Sadly, neither One of Pig nor Smushy Twin made the cut.


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