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Global box office rose to record $28.1 bln: group

 Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne in a scene from the 2008 film 'The Dark Knight'. REUTERS/Warner Bros. Pictures/Handout

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Global box office receipts rose 5 percent to a record $28.1 billion in 2008, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) said on Tuesday.

"Movies can still be counted on to boost people's spirits as well as the economy," said Dan Glickman, the chairman and chief executive of the movie trade group, in prepared comments for ShoWest, the industry's annual convention held in Las Vegas.

Glickman said the domestic box office, including the United States and Canada, continues to be strong in 2009, surging 11 percent in the first 10 weeks of this year.

In 2008, the domestic box office reached $9.8 billion, a 1.7 percent increase over 2007, and accounted for 35 percent of the worldwide total.

International box office sales hit a record $18.3 billion, up 7 percent over the previous year, and accounted for 65 percent of the global total.

While domestic admissions were down slightly to 1.4 billion in 2008, they remained on par with prior years, with the exception of 2002's high of 1.6 billion admissions, the trade group said.

Admissions rose 7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 and eight percent in the first 10 weeks of 2009.

Average ticket prices in 2008 rose by about 30 cents to $7.18, a 4.4 percent increase roughly comparable to the consumer price index increase, the MPAA said.

The number of films released in 2008 increased slightly from the previous year to 610 compared to 599 in 2007.

The MPAA represents major studios like General Electric Co's Universal Pictures, Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros, Viacom Inc's Paramount, which distributes DreamWorks films, News Corp's Twentieth Century Fox, Sony Corp and Walt Disney Co.

(Reporting by Susan Zeidler; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

 
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