The economy may be teetering on the edge of a fiscal cliff, but such dire financial woes were nowhere to be found at the box office in 2012. Over the past 365 days, Americans spent many of their hard-earned dollars at the movies — paying to see everything from Channing Tatum’s abs to a foul-mouthed talking teddy bear, and as a result, the box office had its best* year ever.
Movie theaters sold an estimated $10.84 billion worth of tickets domestically in 2012, beating the previous record of $10.59 billion set in 2009 (when Avatar led a late-December surge), and marking a new record in terms of revenue earned in a single calendar year. All told, the 2012 box office finished 6.6 percent ahead of 2011′s $10.17 billion take and 2.5 percent of 2010′s $10.57 billion cume. 3D and IMAX surcharges, which have now become a common part of the moviegoing experience, no doubt helped the box office reach such heights, though this year’s average ticket price (it stood at $7.94 through Q3, per the MPAA) just barely increased over 2011′s ($7.93).