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Female attendance, 3D family moviegoing are among unexpected stats

Global box office reached a record $34.7 billion. Check. International B.O. also grew to record heights, thanks largely to an unprecedented surge at the Chinese box office. Check and check.

Those were some of the most important talking points from the Motion Picture of Assn. of America’s 2012 theatrical statistics report. But the 25-page document issued last week includes a plethora of data ranging from historical gender breakdowns to state-by-state attendance percentages.

Variety digs through the stats to highlight five of the report’s surprising findings.

1) Female moviegoing: 2009, with pics like “The Blind Side” and “Julie and Julia,” still holds the attendance high for femmes at 788 million tickets sold (or 55%). Last year, men and women were split evenly. Chalk it up to all those fanboys — and girls — supporting major blockbusters like “The Avengers” and “Hunger Games.”

2) 3D attendance: The average of 3D patronage actually increased among 2-11, 40-49 and 60+ auds, signaling perhaps more families went to 3D movies last year than some might have thought.

“The Croods” was an encouraging indicator of that last weekend, grossing 38% from 3D — better than “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” “Madagascar 3″ and “Rise of the Guardians.”

3) State oddity: In 2012, Illinois had the highest percentage of moviegoers (for 3D pics, as well) based on its population, at 74%. But California had the most frequent moviegoers (22%). Frequent filmgoers in Illinois came in at 21%.

4) Global B.O. share: For the first time in eight years, the overseas share of global box office remained flat with the previous year, at 69%. Since 2005, the global share dipped year-over-year in 2007 and 2009.

There is hardly a ceiling in sight for the international market, however. Asian territories increased 15% vs. 2011 overall; Latin America grew 6%.

5) Frequency rate: While per capita attendance is declining among some age groups (teens, in particular), the number of frequent moviegoers in 2012 was higher than any year since 2009 across all age brackets. Moviegoers 25-39 went the most, at 9.9 million vs. 6.3 million in 2009.

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