Hollywood Doing Fine

Americans may be lining up for gas, cutting back on groceries and postponing their next SUV purchase, but one thing’s certain: They still love movies.

Sluggish economies have been historical boons for Hollywood and 2008 has been no exception. The movie business is expected to set a summer revenue record of about $4.2 billion from the first weekend in May through Labor Day, according to box office-tracker Media By Numbers.

“Let’s face it. It is truly one of the least-expensive ways to entertain yourself for a few hours,” said Rory Bruer, head of distribution at Sony, whose summer releases included Will Smith’s latest $200 million hit, “Hancock.”

“The Dark Knight” certainly helped the bottom line. It has hauled in $500 million so far and ranks just behind “Titanic” as the second all-time domestic revenue generator. “Star Wars” is now in third place. The Batman sequel amounted to nearly one-eighth of overall Hollywood revenues for the summer.

Other hits included “The Incredible Hulk,” “Hellboy II: The Golden Army,” “Iron Man,” “Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” “WALL-E,” “Sex And The City” and “Mamma Mia!”

Eddie Murphy’s sci-fi comedy “Meet Dave” was a resounding bomb, as were Mike Myers’ “The Love Guru,” “Speed Racer” and “The X-Files: I Want to Believe.”

Unlike most summers, it was popcorn blockbusters “The Dark Knight” and “Iron Man” that garnered some of the best reviews.