International sales accounted for 69 percent of the overall gross, according to Screen Daily, gaining 6 percent on 2011 levels to finish on an unprecedented $23.9 billion.
China was the key international driver, propelling box office to $2.7billion – a 36 percent year-on-year boom that saw it cement its position as the second largest market behind North America, according to the Motion Picture Association of America’s annual Theatrical Market Statistics Report for 2012.
The march of China relegated Japan to 3rd place on $2.4 billion, followed by the UK and France tied in 4th on $1.7 billion apiece. India ranks 5th on $1.4 billion and indeed all the BRIC countries rank in the top 10. Russia places 8th on $1.2 million and Brazil 10th on $800 million.
North American box office gained 6 percent on 2011 to finish on a record $10.8 billion. Powering the result was a 6 percent rise in theatrical admissions to 1.36 billion.
3D box office was comparable to 2011 levels at $1.8 billion despite fewer 3D film releases. Overall the average North American ticket price went up by a negligible amount from $7.93 in 2011 to $7.96.
MPAA chairman and CEO Senator Chris Dodd said the report’s findings were “a powerful reminder” of the cultural and economic impact of films. He added: “Our industry supports 2.1 million jobs in the United States and more than 120,000 of those jobs are in movie theatres.”
Turning back to the international picture, Asia Pacific was the most improved region thanks to a 15% percent surge against 2011 from $9 billion to $10.4 billion.
While Europe, Middle East & Africa still recorded the highest total on $10.7 billion, this figure marked a 1 percent drop compared to $10.8 million from the year before due to a decline in Italy and Spain. Latin America gained 6 percent from $2.6 billion to $2.8 billion.
Global screen count
Cinema screens increased 5 percent worldwide in 2012 as the total amounted to 129,866.
Digital expansion grew 41 percent to the point where more than two-thirds of global screens are digital. 2012 became the first year when international analogue screen share entered the minority.
The 3D digital proportion of total screens climbed from 29 percent in 2011 to 35 percent in 2012.
“225 million people went to cinemas at least once in 2012”
The report also highlight demographic changes in North American cinema attendance. More than two-thirds (68 percent) of the population over the age of two, in other words 225 million people, went to the cinema at least once in 2012. The typical film-goer bought six tickets, up from 5.8 in 2011.
So-called frequent film-goers who buy tickets more than once a month accounted for 13 percent of the population and purchased 57 percent of all tickets sold. The 25-39 demographic represented the largest portion of frequent film-goers at 9.9m, up from 9.7m the year before.
The biggest climb in the frequent film-goer category came from the 40-49 bracket, which surged from 3.3 million to 5.8 million. The over 60 crowd increased from 4.1 million to 4.6 million.
Caucasians remain the biggest ethnic representative of frequent film-goers on 23.2 million up from 19.5 million in 2011, however Hispanics continue to ‘oversample’ given their relatively small proportion of the overall population and climbed from 8.4 million to 10.9 million.
The female contingent has also been a popular talking point over the past several years and the report showed continued female-on-male growth among film-goers in a trend that began in 2009. In 2012 there was a 1 percent climb among females to 52 percent of overall attendees.
North American 3D viewing habits
Nearly half of all film-goers and one-third of the general population attended a 3D film in 2012. Youngsters aged 12-24 were most likely to watch a 3D film. The typical film-goer aged over 25 attended one 3D film in 2012 compared to the average under-25, who attended two.
2012 film releases
A total of 677 films were released in 2012, up 11 percent from 609 the previous year. Of these, 36 were in 3D, marking a 20 percent drop from 45 in 2011.
MPAA member films climbed 17 percent from 468 to 549, while non-member films dropped 8 percent from 37 to 34.
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