Domestic Box Office Scores Record $4.4 Bil Summer

9:31 AM PST 09/07/2011 by Pamela McClintock
Warner Bros.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

North American grosses were 1% ahead of summer 2009, the previous record-holder; the big headline is overseas, where summer grosses were up a massive 41% to $8.2 Bil.

Summer revenues at the domestic box office set a new record of $4.4 billion, narrowly besting the $4.33 billion earned in 2009 by 1%.

Admissions likewise were up 1% from May 6 through Labor Day.

“In the mist of 9% unemployment and a continuing weak economy, it is striking that the movie theater industry can continue to grow revenues and admissions,” National Association of Theater Owners president-CEO John Fithian said.

PHOTOS: Summer Movie Guide

Fithian also noted it’s the fifth consecutive summer that domestic grosses have reached $4 billion.

A strong spring and summer line-up of movies has helped to stabilize a dramatic downturn at the box office during the first quarter of the year, when revenues fell 21% behind the previous year. However, revenues year-to-date are still down 4.3%.

Box Office Update: Hollywood Scores a Record Summer Worldwide

The biggest headline of summer 2011 is the international box office, where revenues came in at roughly $8.2 billion—a massive 41% uptick over the $5.8 billion collected in summer 2010.

The growth is being fueled by emerging markets including China, Russia and Brazil, where 3D titles in particular do big business (in North America, the technology is losing some of its charm).

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