Despite the deepening recession, Hollywood is bucking the trend and actually breaking records on the upside.
This January the domestic box office topped $1 Billion for the first time ever, up 19 percent from last January’s $867.2 million.
And while higher ticket prices did help boost the box office, the real boost came from more attendance: ticket sales grew 16 percent this January over last year.
January is traditionally a weak time at the box office as kids head back to school, but this year Americans are looking for an escape and the films delivered. Clint Eastwood‘s “Gran Torino” from Warner Bros. rolled out slowly, bringing in a total of $110 million. Sony/Columbia’s comedy “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” was a surprise hit, bringing in $83 million. And this past weekend Fox’s
kidnapping drama “Taken” brought in nearly $25 million, the second-best movie opening Super Bowl weekend ever.
Movies seem to be benefiting from the downturn, offering an affordable escape from the bad news. Yes, people complain about over-priced popcorn and increasingly expensive tickets, but movies are far more affordable than concerts or sporting events.