The studios’ combined North American gross revenues for the year finished marginally behind the $10.6bn record set in 2009 according to studio data issued last night [Jan 3], while the international take is projected to close out on $12.7bn compared to $10.7bn the year before.

More tellingly for observers of the North American business, admissions dropped around 5% year-on-year. Results for 2010 were based on box office through the close of January 2, 2011.

Warner Bros led the way in domestic revenues for the third consecutive year with around 18% market share on $1.9bn powered by Inception and Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1, followed by approximately 16% share and $1.7bn for Paramount, the distributor behind Iron Man 2 and three DreamWorks Animation films.

Fox ranked third on $1.66bn, followed by Disney on $1.5bn, Sony on $1.3bn and Universal on $886m. Lionsgate and Summit each took around $517m.

In terms of global revenues Warner Bros looks to finish on a staggering $4.8bn worldwide for the year according to Screendaily projections, based on anticipated international gross revenue of $2.92bn set to be announced by the studio on Tuesday.

Fox comes second in the worldwide stakes on a remarkable $4.6bn, then Disney and Paramount on $3.8bn and $3.7bn, respectively. Sony ended the year on $2.7bn and Universal releases generated $2.1bn.

Fox International reported a $2.9bn overseas haul last week. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International set a company record $2.3bn, while PPI closed on $1.98bn, Sony Pictures Releasing International on $1.38bn and UPI on $1.2bn.