Page last updated at 16:18 GMT, Monday, 14 December 2009

Movie-goers make 2009 a record box office year

Sigourney Weaver at Avatar premier
Avatar with Sigourney Weaver is just one of the movies pulling in the crowds

The US film industry is set to mark 2009 as a record year.

US cinema attendance has already topped that for the whole of 2008, with 1.3 billion tickets sold so far, compared with a total of 1.2 billion last year.

Popular new releases, like James Cameron's Avatar and Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes, mean the good run is likely to continue up to the new year.

Takings are higher too, at $9.8bn (£6bn), a rise of 8.5% on the year before.

Average ticket prices have crept up, and are now $7.46, from last year's $7.18.

The year saw two of the 10 most popular movie opening weekends of all time - The Twilight Saga: New Moon and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

The figures have been released by box office website, Its president, Paul Dergarabedian, is predicting that 2009 will be the industry's first-ever $10bn year.

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