box office

the office of a theater, stadium, or the like, at which tickets are sold.
receipts from a play or other entertainment.
entertainment popular enough to attract paying audiences and make a profit: This show will be good box office.

1780–90 Unabridged


[boks-aw-fis, -of-is]
of or pertaining to the box office or to the business and commercial aspects of the theater: a box-office window; box-office receipts; a box-office attraction.

1805–15; adj. use of box office Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
box office
1.  an office at a theatre, cinema, etc, where tickets are sold
2.  the receipts from a play, film, etc
3.  a.  the public appeal of an actor or production: the musical was bad box office
 b.  (as modifier): a box-office success

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

box office

  1. The office where seats for a play, concert, or other form of entertainment may be purchased, as in Tickets are available at the box office. It is so called because originally (17th century) it was the place for hiring a box, a special compartment of theater seats set aside for ladies. [Second half of 1700s]

  2. The financial receipts from a performance; also, a show's relative success in attracting a paying audience. For example, You may not consider it great art, but this play is good box office. [c. 1900]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
It is on its way to making hundreds of millions of pounds in box office
Nor does their education level correlate with their box office earnings.
But many of the outsiders' films have disappointed at the box office, leaving
  them with poor returns.
Tellingly, the film's first-weekend box office take was well below expectations.
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