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EDITIONS
Monday, 2 September, 2002, 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK
Record summer revenue for US box office
Spider-Man
Spider-Man has lifted the summer figures
A summer of effects-laden blockbusters like Spider-Man and Star Wars as well as subtler fare has broken US box office records.

Ticket numbers were short of the record, but revenue for the summer reached $3.15bn (2.03bn), breaking last summer's record of $3.06bn (1.98bn), according to box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

Measured from Memorial Day, the last Monday of May, to Labor Day, the first Monday of September, the US summer box office has seen a string of big hits.

Scene from Star Wars
Star Wars took $300m in the US
But allowing for higher ticket prices, the numbers going through the turnstiles over the summer is likely to have been fewer than last year's 542 million.

It would definitely be well below the modern record of 589 million set in 1999, said Paul Dergarabedian, Exhibitor Relations president.

Summer 1999's figures were distorted by end of summer hits like The Sixth Sense and The Blair Witch Project, but this summer was more typical.

Ticket sales started declining in late July and August as audiences took advantage of the weather and stayed out of cinemas.

Topping the summer bill was Spider-Man, which took $404m domestically, with Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones a way behind on $300m.

Monster flop

A number of family comedies also did good business, including Austin Powers in Goldmember, Men in Black II, Scooby-Doo, Mr Deeds and XXX.

At the slightly more sophisticated end of the market, Signs, Minority Report, The Bourne Identity and The Sum of All Fears also did well.

On the down side, Eddie Murphy delivered the summer's monster flop, the sci-fi comedy The Adventures of Pluto Nash.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding proved a surprise low-budget hit and could top $100m (64.6m).

Austin Powers
More Powers to your elbow: Lowbrow comedies also succeeded
Spider-Man helped Sony to a record year. In August, Sony went past the $1.27bn (820m) the studio took in the US in 1997, the previous annual revenue record.

Sony's total stood at $1.32bn (852m) last weekend, and it could climb to $1.6bn (1.03bn) or more with the studio's autumn schedule.

Summer successes included Men in Black II, XXX and Mr Deeds.

The studio's big disappointment was Stuart Little 2, which took in just $60m (39m), compared with $140m (90.4m) for the 1999 original.

See also:

19 Aug 02 | Entertainment
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29 Jul 02 | Entertainment
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