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Movie attendance hits 16-year low in 2011

December 29, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Hollywood studios were hoping for a Christmas miracle at the box office, but it didn't come to pass. Total box office revenue was down for second year in a row, with overall movie attendance hitting a 16-year low.

"With box office down every weekend from Thanksgiving through the end of the year, that's not a good place to be," said Paul Dergarabedian of Hollywood.com.

Despite plenty of big-name sequels and superstar names on the marquee, movie tickets sales for 2011 will end up about $500 million behind last year.

Of the hundreds of films that were released, only a few were able to really work their magic on moviegoers.

Fans said goodbye to the boy wizard and his friends at Hogwarts. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" was the top grossing movie this year, earning more than $381 million.

Like "Harry Potter," seven of 2011's top 10 films, were sequels. "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" landed in second place, with $352 million.

The beginning of the end of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" came in third, with $269 million. In fourth, fans toasted "The Hangover Part II."

"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" sailed into fifth place with $241 million.

"For every 'Harry Potter' and 'Twilight,' there's five movies that don't work. You can't just have big blockbusters bringing in the business and not the smaller films," Dergarabedian said.

"It's good news and bad news. We're going to be over $10 billion for the third straight year ... but attendance will be the lowest since the mid-'90s, so 2012 better deliver," he said.

According to Fandango.com, the most anticipated blockbusters of 2012 include "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," novel-turned-film "The Hunger Games" starring Jennifer Lawrence and a gaggle of familiar superheroes in "The Avengers."

Then, just like this year, there will be plenty of sequels in 2012, including "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2," the next Batman film from Christopher Nolan, "The Dark Knight Rises," "Men in Black III," and "The Bourne Legacy," with Jeremy Renner taking over for Matt Damon.