Alice in Wonderland
By : Erik Gruenwedel | Posted: 10 Mar 2010
As expected the record box office tally in 2009 was largely due to the burgeoning renaissance among moviegoers in the once-gimmicky 3D format.
Theatrical ticket sales in North America (including Canada) topped $10.6 billion, up 10% from 2008, driven by an 11% surge in higher-margin 3D revenue from 20 major studio releases in the format, according to new data from the Motion Picture Association of America.
The year ended with 16,000 digital screens globally, including nearly 9,000 3D screens, three times the number of 3D screens in 2008 and representing 6% of total screens worldwide.
Still, the number of U.S. movies released domestically decreased 12%, the first decline since 2003 due to recessionary pressures on movie investments and declines in DVD sales.
The decline underscores ongoing efforts by studios to establish a retail window for DVD and Blu-ray Disc — heretofore the principle margin/profit driver for most theatrical releases.
Indeed, The Walt Disney Co. cut by four weeks the U.K. theatrical window for Alice in Wonderland, the biggest office hit (with 50% revenue driven by 3D) thus far in 2010. The irony is not lost on Bob Pisano, president and interim CEO of the MPAA.
“While the motion picture industry continues to face tremendous challenges elsewhere in our business, we’re reminded again this year the cinema is the heart and soul of our industry and it is thriving,” Pisano said in a statement.