As the World Turns in 2012
Global box office saved Hollywood last year; now the troubled euro, 3D, the Summer Olympics and European soccer loom large.
The year ahead will be a crucial test for the foreign box office, perhaps the last (and vast) growth area left for Hollywood. Observers worry about the brewing economic crisis in Europe as well as the impact of the European Football Championship (June 8 to July 1) and Summer Olympics (July 27 to Aug. 12). There's also concern that 3D attendance will begin to slip, as it has in North America, as the price of those tickets clash with economic reality (though the growth rate of 3D screens remained staggering, up more than 70 percent in 2010 to 22,000). The 2011 foreign results were heady for the big six studios -- a record-breaking $13.5 million, up 7 percent from 2010 (conversely, domestic revenue slipped 3.4 percent as attendance fell to a 16-year low), with Brazil, Russia India and China surging. Can success be repeated? Hollywood's 2012 slate, which includes The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man, will look to beat the success of last year's Harry Potter, Transformers and Pirates franchises. "There's a lot to be optimistic about," says former Paramount International president Andrew Cripps, who helped lead the studio to a record year before exiting in December. "But I do think moviegoing is being impacted around the world by the economy."
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