UK box-office tops $756m (£500m) in first half of 2010, 3% ahead of first half of 2009.

The UK’s Film Distributors’ Association (FDA) announced today that UK film-goers spent a monthly average of $130.2m (£86.1m) on cinema tickets in the first half of 2010. The January through June box-office total, $781.1m (£516.7m), is 3% ahead of the first six months of 2009.

With blockbusters such as The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Inception, Knight and Day, and Salt still to be released on British screens before the end of summer, the UK box-office is on track to surpass the one-billion pound mark in 2010.

The FDA estimates that 25 million people are expected to go to the cinema in July and August alone.

Distributors released 288 titles in UK cinemas in the first half of 2010, 18 more than in the same period of last year, with an average of 11 releases per week.

The rapid growth of the 3D market is in part responsible for the enhanced performance at the UK box office. Three of the top five releases - Avatar, Alice in Wonderland and Clash of the Titans - were released in digital 3D. Iron Man 2 and Sex and the City 2 were also among the top five highest-grossing films.

The top three weeks for cinemagoing in the first half of 2010 were April 2-8 (Easter) and school half-term holiday periods of February 12-18 and May 28-June 3.

FDA President Lord Puttnam, said: “I find it thrilling that cinemagoing remains so buoyant in the UK; and this is despite a great number of competing attractions and distractions including in recent weeks the hot weather and the World Cup. The cinema continues to offer a uniquely immersive, larger-than-life way to experience a story, and the roll-out of digital is generating brand new opportunities for audiences of all ages to enjoy. Here’s to a fantastic summer, in air-conditioned comfort, at the cinema!”