The end of the box office "slump of '05" and an overall increase in domestic gross over last year should make some U.S. theatre owners happy. However, the studios are more likely to be smiling because of the international grosses. 2006 was a record year for exported movies from Hollywood, and this will probably result in more franchises, sequels and other mainstream fare.

These tentpoles keep Hollywood alive these days, and the studios depend on and cater to worldwide audiences rather than Americans. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that for the sake of the profit, we'll be seeing more movies like Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and The Da Vinci Code, both of which performed incredibly at home and overseas despite critical pans. Quoted in Variety, Buena Vista International's Anthony Marcoly confirmed this by saying the current strategy is to produce big movies with wide appeal that will over-perform in the international markets.

Okay, so what else is new, right? Well, there are a few noteworthy things to point out, such as the rising market share for smaller distributors. Focus Features and Lionsgate had spectacular years thanks to Brokeback Mountain and Saw II and III, respectively. The former proves the international box office isn't completely epics and other big-budget entertainments. On a sad note, though, Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties also did very well.