It is time to declare the '08-'09 recession over, at least at the motion picture box office. Historically, people have convened in the dark at theaters during tough times, and these times are as tough as we've seen since Fred and Ginger set worried hearts aflutter and tired feet to tapping in the midst of the Great Depression.

With 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon' and 'The Blind Side' kicking the doors off at multiplexes around the country during the last three weeks, setting weekend, week-long and November records, theater operators and film distributors have prospered like Walmart on Black Friday. For the year, ticket sales are up about 8 percent; nearly 50,000 more butts have settled into theater seats. When you consider the cheaper entertainment options -- TV, DVDs, light-eating Chihuahuas -- the current boom is genuine movie magic.