Thursday (1/6/11) Update: International box office grosses are expected to exceed $20 billion in 2010. Combine that with the $10.5 billion domestic haul, and the worldwide total of at least $30.5 billion is enough to top 2009's $29.9 billion worldwide total.
Sunday (1/2/11) Update: 2010's total now stands at around $10.57 billion.
Major studio grosses (domestic):
Warner Bros: $1.89 billion
Paramount: $1.67 billion
20th Century Fox: $1.45 billion
Disney: $1.4 billion
Sony: $1.26 billion
Universal: $842.2 million
Thursday (12/30) Update: The domestic total now stands at around $10.47 billion.
Sunday Update: Boxoffice.com is estimating that 2010's domestic total will equal $10.074 billion after this weekend.
Friday Update: 2010's total domestic haul will hit the $10 billion mark over the Dec. 17 to Dec. 19 weekend. 2009 is the only other year that hit $10 billion.
Heading into Friday, this year's total was $9.93 billion. According to Boxoffice.com's weekend predictions, the top 10 alone could make $128 million this weekend, which would be more than enough to help 2010 reach the milestone.
The top 10 releases of the year are currently:
Toy Story 3: $415.0 million
Alice in Wonderland: $334.2 million
Iron Man 2: $312.1 million
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse: $300.5 million
Inception: $292.5 million
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I: $259.9 million
Despicable Me: $250.3 million
Shrek Forever After: $238.4 million
How to Train Your Dragon: $217.6 million
The Karate Kid: $176.6 million
22 releases have hit the $100 million mark so far, while nine films reached $200 million, four grabbed at least $300 million and only Toy Story 3 was able to hit $400 million. In 2009, 31 films hit $100 million, seven snagged $200 million, two reached $300 and one—Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen—hit $400 million during the calendar year.
Avatar is the highest grossing film of the 2010 calendar year with $476.8 million, even though it was released on December 18, 2009. James Cameron's sci-fi epic has been both a blessing and a curse for 2010. While the 20th Century Fox release helped 2010 get off to a great start, its historically strong performance at the end of December almost guarantees that 2010 will not top 2009's total domestic haul of $10,605,110,000. New December 2010 releases such as TRON: Legacy, Yogi Bear and Gulliver's Travels will unlikely be able to match the strength of Avatar, Sherlock Holmes and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.
2010's attendance is already trailing 2009. Heading into this weekend, attendance is down around 3.4% versus 2009.
Check back for updates throughout the rest of the year.
Additional reporting by Daniel Garris.