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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 5 March, 2003, 10:39 GMT
Family films boost US box office
Spider-Man: Top at the US box office in 2002
Family blockbusters like Spider-Man and The Lord of the Rings have helped US cinema ticket sales reach their highest levels for 45 years.

A total of 1.63 billion cinema tickets were sold in 2002 - the highest level since 1957 - meaning every person in the US went to the cinema six times on average.

The top 20 films of 2002, which all broke the $100m (62m) barrier at the US box office, were all open to unaccompanied children under 17.

But the rise in attendances was matched by rises in piracy and production costs, the ShoWest convention was told.

Delegates were told that none of the top 20 films of 2002 had the adult R rating, which means children are not allowed in unaccompanied.

The Bridge on the River Kwai - $33.3m at US box office
Sayonara - $26.3m
Peyton Place - $25.6m
Spider-Man - $403m
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - $330m
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones - $310m
"Once again, we've demonstrated that family product sells and R-rated films do not," John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners (Nato) said.

The most popular films of 2002 in the US were Spider-Man, taking $400m, and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, with $330m.

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones was next with $310m, followed by Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, earning $260m.

The total value of ticket sales rose to $9.5bn, up 13% from 2001, the convention was told.

But a cautionary note came when figures revealed that production costs rose 23%, with movies now costing an average of $59m.


The outlook for film studios was "very good and not-so-good", according to Jack Valenti, heads of the Motion Picture Association of America.

He said there was an increased threat from piracy, which he described as "a menace which broods over our business".

If the industry failed to defend itself, it could find itself destroyed, he said.

"We are witnessing the slow undoing of America's greatest creative" product," he said.

Piracy 'threat' to Hollywood
19 Feb 03 |  Film

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