Australian cinemas have recorded their biggest ever result for the firstfive months of a year, taking $275m (A$373m) in ticket sales through May 31.

The result represents $35.8m (A$48.4m) or 15% more than sales during thesame period last year and about $7.7m (A$10.4m) more than in 2004, which gavethe industry its best annual result yet with a gross of $670.9m (A$907.2 m).

Already seven films have taken more than $7.4m (A$10m) compared to fourin 2005. Also, 17 of the first 22 weeks of 2006 have shown increases on lastyear with the average increase being 23%.

The figures were provided today by Motion Picture DistributorsAssociation of Australia chair Alan Finney at the Sydney launch of anall-industry promotion of cinema going.

The industry spends an estimated $147.9m (A$200m) annually onadvertising and from tomorrow (June 15) the catchphrase "only at themovies" will be carried on most of this advertising and across all media.

Often it will read "See it bigger, see it better, see it first, only at the movies."

"We are reinforcing that we believe the movie experience is biggerand better, and we believe that there is real value seeing a movie first at thecinema because it is the first window of opportunity - legally," saidFinney.

But he also emphasized that the diversity of films - such as Brokeback Mountain, Capote and Walkthe Line - that was also a key factor in the improvement in the industry'sfortunes.

"Movies are part of the cultural fabric of our society," saidthe other speaker at the launch, Village Cinemas International chief executiveKirk Senior. "They are an important way for us to socially interact."

He said the industry had to make sure that going to the cinema stayed"fresh and fashionable" by keeping standards high, but also added thatAustralia had some of thebest cinemas in the world. A previous campaign ran from early last year as aresult of key exhibitors and distributors getting together at the annualAustralian International Movie Convention in August 2005 to discuss options forre-enthusing people.

Films released in Australia in 2006 grossing more than A$10mso far

Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (20thCentury Fox) A$24,391,385

The DaVinci Code (Sony) A$22,986,342

Walk TheLine (20th Century Fox) A$15,077,716

X-Men: The Last Stand (20thCentury Fox) A$14,152,997

Chicken Little (BVI) A$13,500,819

Mission Impossible: 3 (UIP) A$10,779,328

Memoirs OfA Geisha (Roadshow) A$10,349,187