The year at the box office: audiences go with what they know

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The Independent Culture

US box office takings for 2009 have already surpassed previous years' records despite fewer numbers in releases. Of the top ten highest grossing films of the year so far, seven are sequels or remakes and the trend is set to continue in 2010.


With just under three weeks to go before the end of the year, US box office takings have hit $9.677 billion, eclipsing last year's total of $9.63 billion; and at least two major releases are expected to tip the scales even further. investigated how it is that 20 percent less films screening at cinemas this year, along with a global financial crisis, has combined to set new studio revenue records.

Thewrap spoke with Executive VP of Distribution for Fox, Chris Aronson Thursday, who noted that "sequels and reboots performed exceptionally well this year." Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, the new-look Star Trek, Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Night of the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian all feature in this year's ten top blockbusters, indicating that audiences want to stick with what they know.

Conversely, James Cameron's Avatar is expected to adjust the year's box-office takings ever so slightly in favor of originality. At Thursday's press conference following the Avatar world premiere however, Cameron announced that he already has the stories worked out for a second and third Avatar installment.

The sequel/remake phenomenon is one that has gained particular support by film-goers over the last decade with every top-grossing film since 2001 belonging to the category.

The 20 most anticipated films of 2010 according to won't break with recent tradition either. The list features four sequels ( The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Iron Man 2); three films based on TV programs ( The A-Team, Arrested Development and The Three Stooges) and three movie remakes ( Robin Hood, RoboCop and Alice in Wonderland).