Cinemagoing is continuing to rise in the UK, prompting the Cinema Advertising Association (CAA) to predict that ticket sales will reach 164 million in 2002 - a 5% increase on last year's hefty total of 156 million.
Admissions reached over 48.3 million in the first quarter - a year on year increase of 37%. March alone saw 14.3 million ticket sales.
Major earners in the first quarter included Monsters Inc. $52.7m (£36.6m), Ocean's Eleven $33.4m (£23.2m), Gosford Park $15.3m (£10.6m), Vanilla Sky $13.7m (£9.5m) and Ali G IndaHouse $13.2m (£9.2m)
Bolstered by the high-profile awards season, the first quarter also benefited from the continued success of 2001 releases: The Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter. Rings took $52.7m (£36.6m) over the period, reaching a total UK gross of $88.8m, while Potter notched up a further $9m (£6.3m) to reach a total of $92.2m.
The immediate outlook for UK box office is positive, with a raft of franchises returning to cinemas including The Lord Of The Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Stuart Little, Austin Powers, Men In Black, and James Bond 20: Die Another Day.