Report from ShoWest, Las Vegas

2002 WAS RECORD YEAR FOR MOTION PICTURE BUSINESS

Reports Highest Ticket Sales Since 1957

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LAS VEGAS (AdAge.com) -- The U.S. motion picture business had its best year in 20 years and the highest
Image: Sony Pictures
Helping to make it a record year, 'Spider-Man' took in $400 million at the box office.
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level of tickets sales since 1957, said Jack Valenti, president-CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America.

Production costs up
Speaking at the ShoWest conference of U.S. movie theater owners here, Mr. Valenti also warned about the problem of rapidly increasing movie production costs. He said the $89.4 million it cost to produce the average movie in 2002 was an alarming 13.6% increase over the year before.

By comparison, 2002 film marketing costs virtually stayed unchanged with the previous year. The marketing cost for an average movie slipped 1.2% to $30.6 million.

"Not much you say?" he said, during his speech. "Perhaps, but it is down. When one talks about costs, down is better than up."

Sales up 13.2%
Most of the day's news about the movie business centered around its voluminous growth in 2002. The MPAA reported that overall business soared 13.2% to $9.5 billion. Even attendance climbed -- up 10.2% to 1.64 billion tickets -- the highest level since 1957.

Big movies such as Spider-Man, The Lord of the Rings movies, Harry Potter movies and My Big Fat Greek Wedding were cited as the engines of that growth.

In 2002, 26 films pulled in $100 million or more in U.S. revenues. Spider-Man was the industry leader, grabbing more than $400 million in U.S. box office receipts.

Ticket prices stable
Mr. Valenti said the industry did all this with hardly raising prices per ticket -- just 2.7% more than the year before. This, he said, compares well to the 2.4% rise in Consumer Price Index -- the national inflation rate.

The MPAA is an trade association of seven Hollywood studios.

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