March 22, 2017 / 9:53 PM / in 6 months

U.S., Canada lift global box office as international sales flat

LOS ANGELES, March 22 (Reuters) - Worldwide movie ticket sales increased by 1 percent to a record $38.6 billion in 2016 as theaters in the United States and Canada rung up higher sales and overseas returns were flat, according to industry statistics released on Wednesday.

Movie theaters have been competing with an explosion of digital entertainment options such Netflix Inc’s streaming service, Alphabet Inc’s YouTube, and mobile apps and video games.

In 2016, films including Walt Disney Co’s “Finding Dory” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” helped lift box office revenue at U.S. and Canadian theaters by 2 percent to $11.4 billion, the Motion Picture Association of America said.

In international markets, ticket sales finished the year nearly unchanged from 2015 at $27.2 billion. After years of booming growth in China, box office revenue in that country dropped 1 percent in U.S. dollars.

China is the world’s second-largest film market behind the United States and Canada. In the United States, the average movie ticket price increased by 3 percent in 2016 to $8.65. (Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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