Having recorded the highest admissions last year (156 million) since 1972, the upward trend in UK cinema attendance and box office takings looks set to continue in 2002.

Figures for January 2002 show that the month's box office figure of£59.6m is a year-on-year rise of 25% over the same period in 2001 (£47.6m). Admissions have seen an even bigger rise of 29% to 15 million tickets sold in January 2002.

January's increase was fuelled largely by the continuing success of the first installments of Harry Potter and The Lord Of The Rings, which, with£63.3m and 57.4m respectively are already the second and third most successful films of all-time at the UK box office. In addition, cinema seats were filled by Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down (£5.7m) and Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky (£8.9m).

February has already seen Monsters, Inc. taking£20.7m in 10 days and Steven Soderbergh's all-star Ocean's Eleven gross£5.1m over its opening weekend.

Other 2002 high-profile releases that are expected to achieve blockbuster status, include new installments in the Star Wars, Harry Potter, The Lord Of The Rings, Austin Powers and James Bond franchises, sequels to Stuart Little and Men In Black, Columbia TriStar's pre-Star Wars May release Spider-Man, and Working Title Films' Hugh Grant starrer About A Boy.