When box office totals are discussed or written about, the domestic box office total is often what is referenced, as opposed to the worldwide total.

Why is that?

For example, in the image below you can see that when Rotten Tomatoes refers to the box office total for The Avengers it is only referencing the domestic total (both domestic and foreign are shown on Box Office Mojo, as well as the worldwide total). This would seem to be wildly misleading, especially for blockbuster movies.

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  • 3
    probably so movies can be compared to one another. Not all movies get a worldwide release.
    – Ben Plont
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 22:36
  • Right, but then what are they really comparing? What is the value of comparing the entire box office of a domestic only release against only part of another movie's box office total that happened to get a worldwide release? It can be especially misleading with movies that do huge foreign numbers like Pacific Rim.
    – Ryan
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 3:35
  • I think overall you're asking us to define and describe how market analysis works. Which is a bit too broad and off topic for this SE.
    – Ben Plont
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 13:33
  • 1
    @BenPlont: And some don't get an US release, I guess.
    – celtschk
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 20:46

1 Answer 1


It depends what the point of the analysis is. Rotten Tomatoes, a review site, is mostly concerned with helping US consumers pick what movies to watch. To the average US consumer, it matters more whether other Americans liked the film than whether the film appealed to foreign audiences. The same logic would apply to US news outlets, as long as they aren't specifically talking about how a film appeals to foreign audiences.

Box Office Mojo is more of a data-lover's paradise that gives you any information you might find interesting.

  • US box was traditionally considered most important as the US was the biggest film market in the world. This is changing, particularly with the rise of the Chinese movie theater market.
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 18:22

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