This is the time of year when motion picture industry pundits weigh in on two important issues: The best films (and actors and directors and etc.) of the year and the year-end box office results. The former is a gauge of popularity and art; the later a gauge of popularity and business.
Anne Thompson, of Moviefone sister site indieWIRE, has just posted her take on the 2010 box office, and she paints a mixed picture for Hollywood. According to Thompson, while there was a whole flotilla of sinking "uber-flops ... thanks to holdover 'Avatar' and premium 3-D ticket prices, (the studios) enjoyed their second-best year at the domestic box office with $10.46 billion, off less than 2 percent from 2009's all-time haul of $10.6 billion." Much of that take was due to higher ticker prices: the average price went from $7.46 in 2009 to $7.85 in the third quarter, thanks mostly to premium 3-D pricing. On the other hand, admissions fell 6 percent from 1.42 billion in 2009 to 1.33 billion in 2010. That's a lot fewer butts in seats, Thompson notes.