Worldwide box office gets major boost from 3D films in 2009


MUMBAI: Global box office receipts reached an all time high of $29.9 billion in 2009, an increase of 7.6% over 2008 and almost 30% from 2005.

According to The Motion Picture Association of America’s annual Theatrical Market Statistics Report for 2009, the US/Canada box office market reached $10.6 billion, an increase of more than 10%, and international receipts increased 6.3% to $19.3 billion in 2009.

The 3D market gave the US/Canada box office a boost accounting for 11% of the total compared to just 2% in 2008. With 20 films released in 3D compared to just eight in 2008, higher value entertainment contributed significantly to box office revenues.

"While the motion picture industry continues to face tremendous challenges elsewhere in our business, we’re reminded again this year that the cinema is the heart and soul of our industry and it is thriving," said MPAA president and interim CEO Bob Pisano.

Ticket sales in the US and Canada rose more than 5.5% from 2008, the first admissions increase in two years. Per capita ticket purchases in the US and Canada also increased 4.6% to 4.3 tickets per person, the first significant increase since 2002. Sales were fueled by repeated visits to the cinema by frequent moviegoers – those who go to the movies once a month or more and who make up only 10% of the population – who bought half of all tickets sold in 2009.

"Four straight years of box office growth– the last three each setting a new record – show the enormous appetite audiences continue to have for great and entertaining movies in the best way to enjoy them – on a big screen with a big crowd," said National Association of Theatre Owners president and CEO John Fithian.

At the end of 2009 there were more than 16,000 digital cinema screens worldwide, up 86% from the end of 2008, a net gain of more than 7,000 screens. The fastest growing sector of digital screens is 3D. The number of digital 3D screens worldwide more than tripled in 2009, reaching 8,989, or about 6% of screens in the world.

"Digital technology is the foundation on which 3D has been built. Together, digital presentation and 3D hold the promise of a dramatic game change in moviemaking and movie-going. The global film audience is voting with its feet, and those feet are planted firmly in the direction of local cinemas that have the latest technology," said Pisano.

While box office revenues and admissions surged, films produced by U.S. production companies declined over the past three years. In 2009, the number of U.S. produced films released in domestic theaters decreased 12%, the first decline since 2003. The decline is attributable in significant part to labor issues affecting the industry in 2007-08, the recession and the challenges to investment recovery due to rampant content theft, and the decline in DVD sales.