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US, Canada Lift Global Box Office as International Sales Flat

Actress Felicity Jones, who plays Jyn Erso, poses for photographers at the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story fan screening in London, Dec. 13, 2016. At the box office, the film was a top performer for 2016..

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's streaming service, Alphabet's YouTube, and mobile apps and video games.

In 2016, films including Walt Disney'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.