From the article:
"The 2009 total was aided by a 28 cent increase in ticket prices from the year before to an average $7.46.
The total number of tickets sold, or admissions, is expected to reach 1.4 billion, up from 1.34 billion in 2008. Still, that figure is not expected to break the record 1.6 billion tickets sold in 2002, said Hollywood.com Box Office."
The reason for the higher revenue? Higher ticket prices. Ticket sales are down 12% since 2002. If you look at a long-term graph of ticket sales, you can see that it's been basically flat in the 2000s, compared to upper single-digit or double-digit growth nearly every year between 1970 and 2000. It's pretty much been stagnant since 2002.
Here's some numbers showing the trend:
2009 - Total Gross $9,782.4
2008 - Total Gross $9,630.6
2007 - Total Gross $9,663.7
2006 - Total Gross $9,209.5
2005 - Total Gross $8,840.5
2004 - Total Gross $9,380.5
2003 - Total Gross $9,239.7
2002 - Total Gross $9,155.0
2001 - Total Gross $8,412.5
2000 - Total Gross $7,661.0
1990 - Total Gross $5,021.8
1980 - Total Gross $2,749.0
1980->1990 = 83% Growth in 10 years, average of 8.2% per year
1990->2002 = 82% Growth in 12 years, average of 6.8% per year
Then, *mysteriously*, something happened around 2002:
2002->2009 = 9.2% Growth in 7 years, 1.3% per year (using the $10 billion number, not the $9,782.4 for 2009)
To put that in perspective, 1.3% is less than the growth of inflation.
In other news, the number of AIDS patients is higher than ever, and yet, the average lifespan continues to grow. I'm sure we all can see the correlation here: AIDS = longer lifespans. Torrent Freak spins reality even more than FOX news. I wish Slashdot wasn't such a fan of the pro-pirate spin.