Box-office tracker Hollywood.com released figures on Thursday for 2012 that showed movie studios nationwide took in a record $10.8 billion.
According to experts, the biggest boost was in the number of movie tickets sold. The industry saw a 5 percent increase from 1.29 billion tickets sold in 2011 to 1.36 billion tickets sold in 2012.
That's still well below the modern peak of 1.6 billion tickets sold in 2002, but in an age of cozy home theater setups and endless entertainment gadgets, studio executives consider it a triumph that they were able to put more butts in cinema seats this year than last.
"It is a victory, ultimately," said Don Harris, head of distribution at Paramount Pictures. "If we deliver the product as an industry that people want, they will want to get out there. Even though you can sit at home and watch something on your large screen in high-def, people want to get out."
"The Avengers" led the upswing with $385 million in tickets, followed by "Batman: The Dark Knight Rises" with $277 million.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.