James Cameron’s Avatar and a string of successful local films, led by Alejandro Amenabar’s Agora, boosted Spain’s box office takings from $856.6m (€595.9) in 2008 to $910.6m (€633.3m) last year

Avatar had taken a healthy $27.8m (€19.3m) by the end of the year, but has since risen to a record breaking $58.6m (€40.7m), while Amenabar’s historical epic took $30.3m (€21m). It was followed animation by Planet 51 ($14.5m (€10m)), prison drama Cell 211 ($12.7m (€8.8m) to the end of the year), comedy Spanish Movie ($9.8m (€6.8m), to year end).

The box office growth was also driven by higher price 3D cinema tickets, for films such as Pixar’s Up and Ice Age:Dawn Of The Dinosaurs, as overall admissions actually fell to 102,356,800 over the year from 104,928,570 in 2008.

Local films are expected to perform well this year as well with eagerly anticipated films such as Andrucha Waddington’s action adventure Lope, Julio Medem’s romantic drama Room In Rome and Oscar Santos’ hotly anticipated debut feature El Mal Ajeno.