Sequels propel Hollywood to record-breaking $4.4B summer


On the down side, attendance was down about 1 percent from 2010. But the good news is Hollywood scored a record summer, posting revenues of $4.39 billion.

One reason for that is because our favorite gang of wizards grew up and we all wanted to see how it ended.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" ended up as not only the top movie of the summer, but also the top grossing "Potter" film of the series. Domestically, it took in more than $370 million.

It was a big season for sequels, with six of the top 10 movies of 2011 coming from films we have seen before.

"Transformers: Dark of the Moon" earned $350 million and "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" sailed away with $240 million.

This summer, R-rated comedies also proved popular with moviegoers, led by "The Hangover 2," along with the surprise, more female-centric comedy "Bridesmaids".

Two other pleasant box office surprises that helped bolster the box office this summer were the sustained success of the bestselling novel turned film, 'The Help," and Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris," which has become the highest-grossing film of his long career.

On the family movie front, we also saw several sequels perform as well as expected, like "Cars 2" and "Kung Fu Panda 2."

But it was "The Smurfs" who surprised analysts and went on to gross more than $126 million.

And, yes. There is a sequel planned.

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