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December 27, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

End-of-the-year domestic box-office estimates released on Wednesday gave studios and theater owners cause for celebration. Not only was total revenue up 6 percent over 2011 — it has risen nearly every year as exhibitors nudge ticket prices upwards — but for the first time in three years the number of actual tickets sold (“admissions,” as the industry calls them) rose as well. According to’s box-office tracker Paul Dergarabedian, total admissions for the year are expected to rise to 1.36 billion, up 5.6 percent from last year’s 1.29 billion (their lowest level since 1995). That figure is appreciably below the modern record of 1.6 billion set in 2002, but no one’s complaining — especially not with revenue projected to rise to $10.8 billion, slightly above the record $10.6 billion recorded in 2009 and significantly above last year’s $10.2 billion. What the latest figures demonstrate, Paramount distribution chief Don Harris told the Associated Press, is that “if we deliver the product as an industry that people want, they will want to get out there. Even though you can sit at home and watch something on your large screen in high-def, people want to get out.” Added Dan Fellman, Harris’s opposite number at Warner Bros; “Every home has a kitchen, but you can’t get into a good restaurant on Saturday night.” Moviegoers got out in especially high numbers for two superhero blockbusters in 2012, Dergarabedian noted — Disney/Marvel’s The Avengers, which amassed $623 million domestically, and Warner Bros.’ The Dark Knight Rises, which grossed $448 million. Together those two films alone accounted for 10 percent of the entire U.S. box office for the year. even more impressive is that the two films also spearheaded a huge increase in overseas ticket sales. The Avengers brought in $1.5 billion worldwide, while Dark Knight brought in $1.1 billion.