Summer 2010 won’t set a box-office high, and fewer tickets have been sold than in any swimsuit season in more than a decade.

The industry’s near-flat summer revenue is largely because of a shorter industry season this year, featuring 18 weekends compared to a year-earlier 19. The box-office season ends Monday, with projections showing $4.24 billion in industry coin collected between May 7 and Labor Day, or slightly 1% less than in summer 2009.

But summer admissions are down almost 6%, to a projected 538 million. Hollywood hasn’t marked a new summer admissions high since 2004, when 642 milliontickets were sold, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners.

Exhibitors charged an average $7.88 for summer movie tickets, up 4.5% from $7.54 last summer, NATO said. That compares with an almost 6% ticket-price jump between summer 2008 and last year, when the spread of premium pricing in 3D venues fueled a more dramatic inflation in moviegoing costs.

Summer 2010 produced 11 films that rang up more than $100 million apiece, three fewer than last year. That simply means there were too few attractive films in the market, Corcoran suggested.

According to The Hollywood Reporter

“There’s been too much emphasis on the increase in ticket prices,” the NATO spokesman said. “It’s too quick and easy to point to ticket prices and say that’s the reason a summer does better or worse. The difference in almost any year is how attractive the movies are to an audience.”

But, as usual, the summer triggered a few likely franchises.

Among the list of winners from Moviefone
•Paramount and Disney
•Summit — Four words: ‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.’ Along with summer’s third biggest movie ($298 million), however, Summit also distributed another sizable romantic hit with ‘Letters to Juliet’ ($53 million).

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Moviefone & The Hollywood Reporter