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General view of the atmosphere at the "Les Miserables" New York Premiere at Ziegfeld Theater on December 10, 2012 in New York City.

Hollywood got to unwrap its present early this year: a record-breaking year at the box office. Hollywood.com figures that ticket revenue has jumped by around 6 percent in 2012, to a record $10.8 billion.

The website's box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian points out that revenue rose largely without an increase in admission prices, which is how the industry had been forced to prop up profits. This year, he says, the studios have turned out a product that audiences have liked.

Dergarabedian points to such movies as "The Avengers," "The Dark Knight Rises," "Skyfall," "The Hunger Games," "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2," "The Amazing Spider-Man," "Brave," and "Ted."

"There were so many big hits this year," he says, "and that has just goosed us to this incredible expected $10.8 billion at the North American box office."

Never mind that this was also the year of the expensive blockbuster flop, including "John Carter" and "Battleship," which sank from the moment it was released. Dergarabedian says that reflects just how successful the winners were over the klunkers. "This year, there weren't as many [flops] as last year, when we had a pretty low attendance figure for 2011."

Dergarabedian says the signs point to continued success, with two big openers today: "Django Unchained" and "Les Misérables," and last week's box office leader, "The Hobbit."

"It's definitely a time of growth," Dergarabedian says.  "And a time of lots of movie-going -- and that's good news for Hollywood."

About the author

Bob Moon is Marketplace’s senior business correspondent, based in Los Angeles.

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