Sales at the Czech box office in 2010 grew nearly 20% from the previous year, a performance unlikely to be repeated this year.

Czech cinemas earned a combined total of CZK 1.5bn ($84.7m) on 13.5m admissions last year, up from CZK 1.3bn on 12.5m admissions in 2009, according to the Czech Union of Film Distributors.

The Czech market has been up and down over the past 10 years, but admissions and sales have been recovering steadily from a slump in 2005, when admissions fell to 9.5m.

Jan Bradáč, director of distributor Falcon, attributes last year’s continued growth partly to 3D films — Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, Toy Story 3 and Shrek Forever After — and other strong performers, including Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part I and Inception.

“Looking at this slate, I wonder when this kind of attendance level will repeat,” Bradáč said. “It was an extraordinary line up.

Local films contributed significantly, making up half the Top 10 films of the year. Jiří Vejdělek’s comedy Women In Temptation was the most-attended film of 2010, with 1.2 million admissions — just beating Avatar’s 954,000 admissions.

Avatar was the highest grossing film, however, earning CZK 141.2m on higher ticket prices. Add to that the CZK 35.6m the film earned in 2009, when it was the No 4 movie at the box office.

Bradáč has high expectations for Falcon’s 2011 line-up, which includes Cars 2, Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part II.

Falcon will also distribute Men In Hope, a local comedy from the producer and director or Women In Temptation. “But at the moment it is single local player, and others will end up far, far below,” Bradáč said. “I expect decrease of the business this year particularly as of the titles offer.”

Petr Slavik, head of media relations at Bontonfilm, expects his companies big titles this year to include animated films (Puss in Boots, Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom, Rio), action thrillers (Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Mission: Impossible IV) and high-brow drama (Black Swan). Bontonfilm is also counting a positive response to Jan Hřebejk’s Berlinale title Innocence and to Leaving, the debut film from former Czech President Václav Havel.

Top 10 films, Czech box office 2010
Title Distributor Admissions Gross
Women In Tempation (CZ) Falcon 1.2m 123.8m
Avatar (US) Bontonfilm 954,000 141.1m
Kajínek (CZ) Hollywood 791,000 83.5m
Harry Potter And Warner Bros 649,000 65.7m
The Deathly Hallows: Part I (US)
Shrek Forever After (US) Bontonfilm 616,000 76.7m
Novel for Men (CZ) Bontonfilm 485,000 52.0m
Alice In Wonderland (US) Falcon 405,000 53.0m
The Doctor from Hippopotamus Lake (CZ) Falcon 359,000 34.9m
Kooky (CZ) Falcon 336,000 30.1m
Inception (US) Warner Bros 328,000 37.5m