The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) said it was another record year (PDF) at the box office, with movie receipts reaching an all-time high of $31.8 billion, up 8 percent from 2009. This is the fourth time in five years that box office revenue has grown, setting records in three of them, according to John Fithian, President and CEO of the National Association of Theater Owners. Playing a big role in this continued growth is the emergence of 3D.
According to the MPAA, 3D was a key driver in U.S. and Canada, accounting for 21 percent, or $2.2 billion of the total, which is twice as much as one year ago. Back in 2008, 3D only accounted for 2 percent of box office revenue.
"It was a strong year at the movies in 2010. Despite a weak economy, shifting business models, and the ongoing impact of digital theft, we had another record year at the global box office driven by growth outside the U.S. and Canada. In the U.S. and Canada 3D was the driving force," said Bob Pisano, President and Interim CEO of the MPAA.
The question has to be asked, then, if the box office continues to notch record years under its belt, is all the bellyaching over movie piracy warranted?
"We’re reminded every weekend how well the box office is doing," the MPAA states in a piracy FAQ. "However, box office is just one aspect of our business. For years, home video has been a bigger piece. Our studios have relied heavily on the success of their films in the distribution chain after a film is released in the theater. We know that piracy is cutting into those profits, and when those profits are reduced, the studios have fewer dollars to invest in movies, and when there is less money to invest they make fewer movies and the diversity and variety of films we love become more limited."
In the FAQ, the MPAA also blames the tough times video owners face on "people [who] are peddling DVDs of movies that are still in theatrical release," effectively "stealing their business." You can read more of the MPAA's perspective on piracy here , and then sound off in the comments section below.