THE unprecedented success of 'The Guard' has not stopped cinema receipts for the top 10 films falling by almost €6m this year compared with last.
Although the black comedy starring Brendan Gleeson became the most successful independent Irish film in Irish box office history, the top 10 films have pulled in €5.6m less than their biggest counterparts in 2010.
Industry observers have blamed the fall on the recession but also on the lack of a major blockbuster this year.
Last year 3D epic 'Avatar' bagged the number one spot with €6.2m in box office receipts, with animated franchises 'Toy Story 3' and 'Shrek Forever After' in second and third place.
Total receipts for 2010 came to €36.9m, compared to €31.3m so far for 2011.
But this year's chart-topper, chick flick 'Bridesmaids', grossed just over €4.3m -- almost €2m behind last year's most successful film.
The light-hearted US comedy pipped 'Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part 2' into second spot, which took in €4,216,450.
'The Guard' came in at number three with €4,030,579.
And with veteran Irish actor Gleeson nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his performance, the John Michael McDonagh-written and directed film could be in line for further success.