Cinema attendance in the UK is expected to reach 143 million admissions this year - the highest number since 1974. These record figures have been predicted by the Cinema Advertising Association (CAA) despite a drop in attendance during November.

Average weekly admissions dropped 30% last month compared to the same month last year when The Sixth Sense, The World Is Not Enough and The Blair Witch Project bolstered end of year box office grosses. Final admissions for 1999 reached 139 million, a 4 million increase on 1998's disappointing tally of 135 million (despite the release of the record-breaking Titanic).

The 131 million tickets sold to date this year (January to November) have registered a 2.2% increase on the same time frame last year, positively indicating that 2000's 12-year total should reach 143 million. The opening success of The Grinch and Meet The Parents together with this Friday's release of The Family Man should maintain December's cinema attendance.

The highest grossing film of the year is Buena Vista International's release of Toy Story 2 (pictured) which has earned a total of £43.5m. Gladiator, Chicken Run and American Beauty are the second, third and fourth top grossing films of the year respectively, all taking over £20m (see chart below).

One of the biggest surprises this year is the success of Stuart Little which beat out the highly anticipated Mission Impossible 2 for a place at number five. Columbia TriStar's family film grossed £17.8m compared to MI:2's £17.3m.

This year British films have had an impressive run with Chicken Run, Billy Elliot and The Beach all winning places in the end of year top ten chart (up to December 17).

(Figures as of December 17, 2000)

Title (Country of Origin) Distributor (Release date) Total gross

1. Toy Story 2 (US) BVI (Feb 4 2000) £43,491,021
2. Gladiator (US) UIP (May 12 2000) £30,907,687
3. Chicken Run (UK-US) Pathe (June 30 2000) £29,268,578*
4. American Beauty (US) UIP (Jan 28 2000) £21,340,511
5. Stuart Little (US) Col TriStar (June 30 2000) £17,807,518
6. Mission: Impossible 2 (US) UIP (July 7 2000) £17,291,606
7. Billy Elliot (UK) UIP (Sept 29 2000) £16,557,388*
8. X-Men (US) 20th Fox (Aug 18 2000) £14,976,383
9. The Beach (UK-US) 20th Fox (Feb 11 2000) £13,332,236
10. Dinosaur (US) BVI (Oct 13 2000) £13,207,824*

* still on major release