If we’re going by dollars (and not ticket sales), we can finally conclude that 2013 is the biggest year for movies in history. Which is to be expected, given inflation, though ’13 only barely passes ’12 on the way to $11 billion in ticket sales stateside. So, mixed messages all around, particularly considering the only slight 4-5% international bump, mostly due to China’s expanded might. A strong holiday period helps boost this year over the last one, though looking at some of the biggest films of the year, you wonder how much actual profit is being generated.

The numbers were tabulated by Variety, and they note that Iron Man 3 is the year’s biggest film, with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire expected to cross the $400 million threshold as well. Iron Man 3 is also the only film this year crossing $1 billion, compared to four pictures in 2012 crossing that line; the expectation is The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug crossing a billion, which is not guaranteed, though it’s sure to become the year’s thirteenth $200 million-plus domestic grosser. Similarly, 31 films reached $100 million domestic, with Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, American Hustle likely to cross that mark, and The Wolf of Wall Street threatening to hit nine figures as well.

The top studios were Warner Bros. and Disney, with Disney grabbing four of the top 10 biggest domestic performers, and the WB nailing two. The surprise disappointment was Paramount, who finished seventh amongst the studios in regards to domestic gross. And that’s even before considering that Star Trek Into Darkness and World War Z were relative underperformers compared to massive production budgets: Paramount has sequels on the way, though they’re expected to come at significant budgetary mark-downs.

For those who want to rail about the lack of originality and integrity as far as big budget movies, maybe you have to put your money where your mouth is. Eight out of the top ten domestic performers this year were summer season blockbusters, eight out of ten were in 3D, and seven of the ten were sequels. Three of them are animated films for kids, and none were rated-R. Presumably, either the adults are staying home, or there were a whole lot of grown men and women watching movies for teenagers or kids.

Gravity seems to be the standout, the one blockbuster this year likely to be embraced by the coming Academy Awards AND endorsed by younger and older audiences. Perhaps the Bottom 100 of the year’s domestic grossers is worth more of a look. There, you’ll find Chen Kaige’s Caught In The Web, the chilling Irish drama What Richard Did, Phil Morrison’s holiday dramedy All is Bright and one of Sight & Sound’s top movies of 2013, The Selfish Giant. It doesn’t hurt to sample one of those. And you, thankfully, won’t need 3D glasses for any of them.

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