Box Office Profits, Attendance Drop in 2010

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) — While the economy as a whole is showing signs of improvement now that the recession is over, the movie industry seems to be taking a slight turn for the worse.

Box office revenues for this year are expected to hit $10.556 billion, just shy of the record $10.6 billion Hollywood made in 2009 from new releases, according to a new report from Hollywood.com, which tracks box office data. This is the first year-over-year decline in profits since 2008.

Perhaps more notable though is the fact that movie theater attendance declined by 5.36% in 2010 from the year before, the largest decline since 2005. In fact, Hollywood.com reports that this year is expected to have the second lowest overall attendance of the decade, aside from 2008, when the recession was in full swing.

Indeed, it seems the only reason profits remain as high as they are is because of rising ticket prices.

“With the summer of 2010 being the lowest attended in over a decade and the current holiday season experiencing seven consecutive ‘down’ weekends versus last year, and a 20% attendance deficit, it is not surprising that even with higher average ticket prices that full year revenues and attendance have fallen short of 2009,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com’s Box Office section, in a blog post.

Still, several movies did have blockbuster sales. Toy Story 3 made $414 million in theatres in the U.S., making it the highest grossing film of the year, followed by Alice in Wonderland and Iron Man 2, both of which made more than $300 million in domestic sales.

Many of the movies that ranked among the 20 highest grossing films were shown in 3-D, including Toy Story 3, Despicable Me and The Last Airbender. But don’t take that to mean that 3-D movies are in especially high demand among consumers. It seems more likely that their profits are inflated by the fact that ticket prices for 3-D movies can be 30% more expensive than normal movies.

Here are the 10 highest grossing movies of 2010, as of mid-November, according to Hollywood.com’s data. Which ones have you seen?

1. Toy Story 3 - $414 million

2. Alice in Wonderland - $334 million

3. Iron Man 2 - $312 million

4. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse - $300 million

5. Inception - $291 million

6. Despicable Me - $248 million

7. Shrek Forever After - $238 million

8. How to Train Your Dragon - $217 million

9. The Karate Kid - $176 million

10. Clash of the Titans - $163 million

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