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Global Box Office Hits Record High

Moviegoers around the world pushed global box office revenues to a record $26.7 billion in 2007, but rising ticket prices and a weakening dollar accounted for much of the increase, the Motion Picture Association of America said Wednesday.

The group's annual report said box office revenue outside North America climbed 4.9 percent to $17.1 billion, representing nearly two-thirds of all ticket sales.

Revenues in the United States and Canada increased 5.4 percent to a record $9.6 billion, with admissions unchanged at 1.4 billion tickets sold, and ticket prices 5 percent higher at an average $6.88.

Photos: Celebrity Circuit
Dan Glickman, chief executive of the association, said the report was good news but acknowledged major studios got a big bump from a weak dollar.

"There's no question that a significant portion of that increase is due to the currency situation," he told reporters during a conference call.

The organization did not break out the effect of the currency. But the U.S. dollar fell 6.1 percent against the Canadian dollar and 5.9 percent against the euro from the first week of July 2006 to the first week of July 2007. That boosts U.S. dollar revenues even if ticket prices abroad remain the same.

Total global ticket sales reached $25.5 billion in 2006.

The association, which includes the six major Hollywood studios and their affiliates, also pointed out the increasing impact of high-tech goods on theater attendance.

North American moviegoers averaged 7.9 theater trips in 2007. Those who owned or subscribed to five or more high-tech services or devices involving videos saw 11.4 movies during the year.

"We see consumers very open to the idea of the digital home and their beloved movie house, both having a bright, bright future," Glickman said.

Some 73 percent of moviegoers researched their picks online before going to the theater, and more than half of those viewed ads or trailers online, the association said.

The report also noted the cost of moviemaking rose.

Major studios such as Paramount, Sony and Walt Disney spent an average of $106.6 million producing and marketing each film, up 6.3 percent from a year earlier. Their subsidiaries, such as Miramax and New Line, saw costs surge 54 percent to an average of $74.8 million per film.

Neither figure factored in the influence of outside investors who have increasingly financed portions of major releases.

The biggest blockbusters of 2007 in North America were Sony Pictures' "Spider-Man 3," Paramount's "Shrek the Third" and "Transformers," and Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End." All made more than $300 million.

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