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Scott Jagow: Now to Hollywood. Perhaps predictions that the box office is dead were a little premature. Sure, early-release DVDs and Internet movies have given people a reason to stay home instead going to the theater. But this year is shaping up to be a big one at the box office. In fact, there are so many hit movies, theaters are having a tough time choosing which ones to run. Stacey Vanek-Smith reports.
Stacey Vanek-Smith: Things started swinging at theatres with Spiderman. Harry Potter, Transformers and Ratatouille also sent revenues soaringa€¦ oh, I know there was another one
[ Simpsons movie clip: D'oh! ]
The Simpsons movie! Sorry about that.
[ Simpsons movie clip: The word 'apology' is tossed around a lot these days. }
Nielson says ticket sales have been down nationwide for the past three years, but last month saw a 15 percent jump in attendance over 2006, and this year audience numbers are poised to break records.
But entertainment industry economist Hal Vogel says it's a little early to start popping kernels. He says audience numbers may be back, but they didn't come cheap.
Hal Vogel: Many of the films that have done extremely well cost a lot of money to make and to distribute and advertise. And so profitability, even with all of this good news, is somewhat constrained.
In fact, Disney film studio's operating income plunged 20 percent in the last quarter, despite the success Pirates of the Caribbean.
I'm Stacey Vanek-Smith for Marketplace.