It's official: Warners led way to record '08 b.o.

Studio's 25 pics boast $1.79 bil in domestic tally

Superhero pics powered Warner Bros., Paramount and Sony to 1-2-3 finishes in distributor market share and helped shape a record 2008 domestic boxoffice of $9.79 billion, according to final Nielsen EDI data released Monday.

Batman sequel "The Dark Knight" helped Warners set an industry record for 12-month theatrical coin, with 25 films contributing $1.79 billion in domestic receipts for an 18.3% share. "Iron Man" distributor Paramount rung up $1.6 billion on just 14 releases for a 16.4% share, and "Hancock" beneficiary Sony registered $1.28 billion from 20 pics to notch a 13.0% share.

Universal was fourth in studio market share with $1.13 billion (20 films; 11.5% share), Fox finished fifth with $1.05 billion (20 films; 10.7%) and Disney landed sixth with $1.03 million (13 films; 10.6%).

Lionsgate topped industry mini-majors and other independent distributors with $441.6 million (19 films; 4.5%).

Hollywood's historic domestic tally failed to translate into a new admissions record as ticket-price boosts accounted for all of its annual gains and then some. Industry estimates put the average U.S. ticket price at $7.20 in 2008, or 4.7% higher than in the previous year, while boxoffice jumped only 1.6% in '08.

A total of 25 pics exceeded $100 million in boxoffice last year, three fewer than in 2007.
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