Folk etymology is that this derives from Elizabethan theatre, where theater admission was collected in a box attached to a long stick, passed around the audience. However, first attestation is over a century later (theaters were closed in 1642), making this highly unlikely.
- (countable, film, theater) A place where tickets are sold in a theatre/theater or cinema.
- (uncountable, by extension, film) the total amount of money paid by people worldwide to watch a movie at cinemas/movie theaters.
- “box office” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).
- William and Mary Morris, Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins, HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988
- Robert Hendrickson, Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, Facts on File, New York, 1997