Box office high, but piracy casts shadow

Figures released by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) show that global box office receipts for all films released around the world reached an all time high of $31.8 billion, an increase of eight per cent over 2009. The US/Canada market repeated its peak performance from last year, but remained flat at $10.6 billion. International box office increased by 13 per cent, with the largest growth in Asia Pacific, which grew by 21 per cent. More than 40 per cent of the Asia Pacific box office growth occurred in China. However, China remains a highly restrictive market for foreign film distribution, according to the MPAA.

The 3D market was a key driver at the US/Canada box office making up 21 per cent, or $2.2 billion of the total, doubling last year’s performance, and compared to just two per cent of the box office in 2008. One in three people in the US and Canada saw a 3D movie in 2010. Younger moviegoers are avid consumers of the 3D experience; 64 per cent of moviegoers ages 2 to17 viewed at least one 3D movie in 2010.

“It was a strong year at the movies in 2010. Despite a weak economy, shifting business models, and the ongoing impact of digital theft, we had another record year at the global box office driven by growth outside the US and Canada. In the US and Canada, 3D was the driving force,” said Bob Pisano, President and Interim CEO of the MPAA. “Higher value entertainment continues to make a significant contribution to box office revenues,” he observed.

“Though innovation and technology continue to be a positive force for the theatrical business, driving moviegoers towards higher value 3D entertainment, the continued theft of movies online will have a sustained adverse impact on movie attendance in the coming years. It’s impossible to compete with free,” said Pisano. “We will continue to work with our industry partners to fight for common sense ways, through legislative, enforcement and legal avenues, to vigilantly protect the creativity at the heart of our industry from theft.”

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