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Spain breaks box office record

Total gross rises 9% to $965.25 million

MADRID — Spain delivered the madre of all box-office grosses in 2009, an all-time record of around Euros675 million ($965.25 million), according to Nielsen EDI in Spain.

The result is remarkable. B.O. was tracking at just 2% up on 2008 through October, but a mighty last quarter — led by “Avatar” and “Agora” — drove B.O. 9% higher than 2008 and 1% up on 2004’s previous historic benchmark.

Also, Spain has rewritten its record books off one of the lowest admissions tallies — about 110 million tix sold — of last decade.

Three factors drove the B.O. surge: the commercial clout of 2009 bows, Spain’s growing digital 3D screen count and a Spanish movie B.O. boom, said Arturo Guillen, general manager, EDI Nielsen Spain.

3D looks paramount. With 3D cinema tix selling at a 37% uptick, stereoscopic movies drove a hefty 20% rise in average tix price.

Spain’s top three movies were all 3-D blockbusters: “Up” ($35.8 million), “Avatar” ($34.5 million) and “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” ($31.2 million).

Of Spanish movies, Alejandro Amenabar’s “Agora” swept $30 million, toon pic “Planet 51” $15 million and sleeper “Cell 211” nabbed $12.7 million in a year when Spanish films topped charts for 10 weekends, a record last decade.

All Spain’s six numeros uno local pics received substantial TV coin from broadcasters — either Telecinco, Antena 3 or TVE.

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