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Global Power shift

Published on : January 16, 2011
Global Power shift

Having already reached astronomical heights the year before, international box office continued to raise the bar in 2010.


Last year marked the first time overseas ticket sales reached $20 billion, thanks largely to a trio of 3D tentpoles: holdover "Avatar," "Toy Story 3" and "Alice in Wonderland."


But the biggest growth spurt came from what economists call the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), which became some of the top B.O. territories in 2010, courtesy of a growing middle-class with more disposable income, rising ticket prices, an increased number of quality multiplexes (most of them now 3D-equipped) and improved methods of counting box office.


Also helping to push the global needle were traditionally strong markets like France, which kept pace with its record-setting 2009, and Japan, scoring an all-time high of $2.65 billion vs. its previous $2.54 billion benchmark set in 2004.


Italy and the U.K. -- mainstays in the international marketplace -- tracked consistently with previous years, if not slightly ahead. There was even notable growth in smaller Asian markets such as Thailand and Hong Kong, both of which saw sizable hikes.


Add in the continued outlook for growth in developing economies, plus a preference for major studio blockbusters regardless of 2D or 3D format, and Hollywood is forecasting continued highs in 2011.


Last year, Chinese totals soared 64% over 2009, with boffo local players like "Aftershock" and "Let the Bullets Fly"; in Russia, Hollywood 3D toons helped lift regional grosses by 56%. Brazil was up an overall 30% in 2010 -- the country's largest upswing since the introduction of the new real currency in 1994 -- while year-end projections for India could mean significant growth if studios' $2 billion estimates hold true through March, when final figures are available.


Read the full article by Andrew Stewart here

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