British cinema admissions rocket
Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, The Twilight Saga: New Moon and The Hangover have helped boost UK cinema admissions to their highest levels since 2002.
Last year saw 173.5 million customers going through the doors of UK cinemas, according to the UK Film Council, which said the success was boosted by big blockbusters such as the latest Harry Potter instalment.
In 2002 annual UK admissions were at 175.9 million, dipping to 156.6 million in 2006.
The total UK gross box office for 2009 was a record £944 million, up 11 per cent on 2008.
Box office takings for the UK and Ireland combined smashed through the £1 billion barrier for the first time.
It highlighted 2009 as a big year for 3D, with three of the year's biggest films in 3D - Avatar, Ice Age 3, and Up.
Minister for the Creative Industries Sion Simon said: "Looking at today's figures, it's hard to imagine that there was a time not so long ago that UK production was in the doldrums and cinema-going was under threat from new forms of home entertainment... Film is poised to make its next big leap into the world of 3D and digital screens, with all the possibilities that those developments bring."
Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince was the UK and the Republic of Ireland's biggest box office success of the year, grossing £50.72 million.
Golden Globe winner Avatar was in second place, with £41 million.