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Tickets for the world of celluloid are selling just fine, with the U.S. movie industry celebrating its first $4 billion summer.
Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Media By Numbers, estimates movie ticket sales will have grossed about $4.15 billion by the time people put away their whites on Labor Day, which equates to about an 8 percent increase from last year.
The Top 12 movies made up $90.2 million of the total gross, a 7 percent increase compared to the same weekend last year when Mark Wahlberg’s "Invincible" story of football dreams opened at No. 1 with $17 million.
"Whether it be sequels, originals, comedies, action movies or whatever, this particular mix of films brought audiences in a record-breaking way," Dergarabedian said. "We still have to temper that with the fact that the number of tickets sold is nowhere near a record."
While this year’s profits may have beat out the sales record set in 2004 of $3.95 billion, actual ticket sales lag behind 2002’s 653.4 million tickets sold, the best summer in recent times. Media By Numbers estimates 2007 will rank the sixth-best in ticket sales for modern Hollywood at 606 million movie tickets, after taking into consideration higher admission prices.
Sony started off the summer with "Spider-Man 3," which had a record-breaking debut weekend in May of $151.1 million. Sony is finishing off the season with another geek-fest success with "Superbad," and is one company that’s bringing the balloons and party hats to the theater.
"It just goes to show you, you make them laugh, and they’ll come," said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony. "To start the summer with ‘Spider-Man’ and end it like this is an absolute blast."
As of press time, "Superbad" was the No.1 movie for a second straight weekend and looked to be on its way to earning $100 million, despite not having any big-name stars.