Fantasy and escapism sequels were favourites at the box office in 2011, though the overall box office take was down.
The Motion Picture Distributors’ Association has released the official figures for 2011, showing the total box office for 2011 at $46.7 million, down 9% on 2010’s record of nearly $53 million. CORRECTION: These figures are for the top 10 films only.
By far the most popular film of 2011 was the gripping climax to the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.
It achieved gross box office takings of $7.9 million since its release on July 14, but fell well below the $9.3 million achieved by New Zealand film Boy in 2010. The record-breaking Avatar was not included, as it was released in 2009 though running well into 2010.
The toy-based characters in Transformers: Dark of the Moon clocked up $6.5 million of commercial success.
The King’s Speech, the deserving winner of the Academy Award for best picture and a resounding hit with critics and audiences alike, came in third at $5.2 million.
The latest in the Twilight vampire serience, Twilight Saga: Breaking Down Part I, was at $4.4 million at year's end and still running, ahead of a limp addition to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, On Stranger Tides.
Others in the top 10 were The Hangover, Part II ($3.7m), Kung Fu Panda 2 ($3.7m), Fast and Furious 5 ($3.7m), Bridesmaids ($3.6m) and Cars 2 ($3.5m).
The top-grossing New Zealand films were Billy T: The Movie, The Orator, My Wedding and Other Secrets, and Lovebirds -- but none reached the $1 million mark.
Association president Robert Crockett said 2012 was off to a promising start with the week ending January 4 returning the sixth largest ever seven-day revenue. Leading the pack is the Sir Peter Jackson co-production The Adventures of Tintin, which has already overtaken the latest Twilight Saga at $4.5 million.