Despite a year-on-year increase in UK box office receipts during four of the first six months of 2001, total revenues for the first half are down 0.9% to $439.5m (£313.8m) However, this is almost entirely due to the exceptional performance of one film last year: Toy Story 2.
February was the real cause of the year-on-year dip, despite this year's high-profile releases of Hannibal and What Women Want. February 2000 featured The Beach, The Green Mile and the majority of American Beauty's gross (the film opened on January 28) but it was Buena Vista International's Toy Story 2 that caused the boost to the month's revenues, causing February 2001 to pale in comparison.
The UK received its highest box office weekend ever when the computer-animated film went on wide release, February 11-13, accounting for over 50% of the $21m (£15m) takings. It went on to take $61m (£43.6m) by the end of its UK run, in comparison to 2001's BVI February release The Emperor's New Groove which grossed $13m (£9.3m).
Latest figures for June show that for only the second month this year box office figures were down on 2000. The June box office of $54m (£38.6m) was down 7% from last year. Disappointing returns for Pearl Harbor and few other big June releases this year were unable to match up to the combined might of Stuart Little, Chicken Run and an unstoppable Gladiator last year.
However March, April and May all delivered improved results on last year, with April delivering a 12% increase, fuelled by box office behemoth Bridget Jones's Diary as well Spy Kids and Rugrats In Paris - The Movie.
The year as a whole is still predicted to improve on last year in terms of admissions with the Cinema Advertisers Association (CAA) suggesting 2001 will reach 148 million, which would be an increase of 4% over 2000. The rest of the year certainly offers many high profile releases, including A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Cats & Dogs; sequels Scary Movie 2, Jurassic Park 3 and American Pie 2; Brit hopefuls Lucky Break, The Parole Officer and Mike Bassett: England Manager and, of course, end-of-year heavyweights Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone and The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring.
Meanwhile, in the US the first six months has seen ticket-sales rise against the same period in 2000. Figures released by box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations Co covering the period up to July 1 show $3.89bn of tickets were sold, an improvement of 10% over last year. Current summer blockbusters Shrek, The Mummy Returns and Pearl Harbor have been the three strongest performers taking $228.1m, $198.05m and $179.7m respectively.