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Cinema: 1946 Box Office

2 minute read

Hollywood could console itself after all those critical sneers during 1946 (TIME, Jan. 20). U.S. movies never enjoyed such a smashingly profitable year at the box office.

Variety added up the score:

In all, 19 pictures made $4 million or more, apiece. Until 1946, only 25 pictures in Hollywood history had done that well.

Ingrid Bergman, with four hit movies renting in the U.S. and Canada for a total of $21,750,000, was far & away the year’s most profitable star. Bing Crosby, whose three hits rented for $18 million, was a close second. RKO’s The Bells of St. Mary’s was the big-money movie ($8 million). Others in the “big ten” (which took in from $5,750,000 to $4,400,000): Leave Her to Heaven, Blue Skies, Road to Utopia, Spellbound, The Green Years, Adventure, Easy to Wed, Notorious, Two Years Before the Mast.

MGM, with 13 of the top 60 moneymakers, collected the most rental ($47,250,000). Next in line were Paramount (twelve pictures at $44,650,000), 20th Century-Fox (ten pictures at $35 million), RKO (eight pictures at $30 million).

Rank’s Caesar & Cleopatra ($2,250,000), the only foreign film to squeeze into the top 60, barely made it (No. 56)—below Two Guys from Milwaukee but above Canyon Passage. Henry V ($700,000 with only ten engagements) was the first real dent, Variety noted, that Shakespeare ever made on the U.S. box office. The Seventh Veil ($2 million) was the “first foreign production to honestly break into the consciousness of the average U.S. filmgoer. . . .”

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