Hollywood loves happy endings and come-from-behind triumphs, but it got neither in 2005. Last year marked the lowest for ticket sales since 2001, and attendance continued a three-year slide.
But it wasn’t all doom and gloom, particularly for the studios Warner Bros., which released Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and 20th Century Fox (Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith). Each studio took in nearly $1.4 billion in domestic ticket sales.
Fantasy and science fiction dominated the top 10 films, while children’s movies took a back seat. Of the top 10 movies, only three were rated PG, and none was G-rated. (Related story: For Hollywood, not enough good cheer)
Darth Vader had a pretty good year, too, propelling Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith to $380.3 million, the only movie to cross $300 million.
And let’s hear it for the octogenarians. Christopher Lee, 83, who had roles in Star Wars, Corpse Bride and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, led all stars in box-office take last year: His movies took in more than $640 million. (He was the top box-office star of 2002 as well, with Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.)
Star attractions bring in cash
The Force was with any actor smart enough to land a role in Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The final installment of the George Lucas space opera helped land three of its stars — Christopher Lee, Ewan McGregor and Samuel Jackson — into the top 10 domestic box office draws of 2005:
Unless The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has an unusually strong run in January, this year will mark the first since 2000 that fewer than two films broke the $300 million mark. Here’s a look at the monster hits from previous years: