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Star Wars, Frozen 2 fail to rescue UK box office in 2019

The total United Kingdom and Ireland box office in 2019 fell 1.9% year over year to £1.35 billion despite the release of big-hitters "Frozen 2" and "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" in the latter half of the year.

Admissions in 2019 are also expected to be down overall, to between 190 million and 192 million, compared to 192.7 million in 2018, according to data collected by media analytics company Comscore. The final numbers are still awaiting release.

After peaking in 2017, the average price for a cinema ticket has fallen for the second year in a row to £7.08, down from £7.14 in 2018.

With roughly 36% of the total market, The Walt Disney Co. was the top distributor for the fourth year in a row, raking in £489.7 million across its 17 releases in 2019 to smash its own 2018 record of £312.6 million.

Disney released seven of the 10 top-grossing films of the year, including the top three movies "Avengers: Endgame" (£88.6 million in total gross), "The Lion King" (£75.9 million) and "Toy Story 4" (£66.1 million).

After a poor start to 2019 that saw a 24% year-over-year drop in total box office in the first quarter, theaters received a boost from Disney hits "Frozen 2" and "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker." Both films are still playing and have earned £48.4 million and £46.8 million respectively. As a result, the final six weeks of 2019 delivered 23% more revenue than the equivalent 2018 period.

Though homegrown fare performed well overall, "Downton Abbey" was the only British film to feature in the top-earners list, at number 10 with £28.1 million. It beat other U.K. hits "Rocketman" (£23.4 million) and festive rom-com "Last Christmas" (£17.8 million).

Trade body the National Association of Theater Owners is predicting a more competitive landscape in 2020, featuring major releases from a wider range of distributors.

Highlights include Warner Bros. female-led comic book films "Birds of Prey" and "Wonder Woman 1984," Paramount's horror sequel "A Quiet Place Part II," Universal's animated film "Minions: The Rise Of Gru," and Disney's Marvel films "Black Widow" and "The Eternals."