Third place went to that breaker of comic-book movie glass ceilings, “Wonder Woman,” which lassoed $412.6 million in domestic ticket sales ($409.3 million overseas) for Warner Bros., minting two new A-list stars in the process — the actress Gal Gadot and the director Patty Jenkins.
Overall, the year was a mixed one for studios and theater owners. Domestic ticket sales totaled about $11.12 billion, a 2.3 percent decline from last year and on par with results for 2015. Horror movies, which do not quite play to the same effect on Netflix and other streaming services, were a particular bright spot for theaters, with films like “It” and “Get Out” becoming cultural sensations.
Marvel superheroes also did some heavy lifting. Led by Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” was the fourth biggest movie of the year, while “Spider-Man: Homecoming” rounded out the top five. “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Logan” made the top 10.
Credit Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures
Underneath those positive results, however, was a grim reality: Ticket sales were propped up by higher prices. Attendance declined by roughly 4 percent, to 1.26 billion, according to analysts, the lowest total in about two decades, as a string of big-budget films stumbled.
Disappointments included “Justice League,” with Ben Affleck as Batman; “The Mummy,” starring Tom Cruise; “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” starring Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow; “Baywatch,” led by Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron; and “Alien: Covenant,” directed by Ridley Scott.
Mr. Scott also had a tough time over the weekend with “All the Money in the World” (Sony), a crime drama about the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III and his grandfather’s refusal to pay a $17 million ransom. The film, which cost Imperative Entertainment more than $50 million to make, collected about $5.5 million, for a domestic total since arriving on Monday of $12.6 million.
It was a miracle that “All the Money in the World” arrived at all: To the astonishment of Hollywood, Mr. Scott — only six weeks before the film’s release — expunged the disgraced Kevin Spacey, replacing him with Christopher Plummer and refilming extensive sequences. Reviews for the retooled movie were mostly positive. Ticket buyers gave “All the Money in the World” a B grade in CinemaScore exit polls.
Also of note for the year in moviegoing: Only one animated movie, “Despicable Me 3,” ranked among the top 10 ticket sellers. Last year, four films made the cut (“Finding Dory,” “The Secret Life of Pets,” “Zootopia” and “Sing”). The pullback may involve blurring boundaries — chunks of superhero movies are essentially animated — and sequelitis: “Cars 3” underperformed for Pixar.