Half of 2007's 10 biggest films were sequels, with four of them representing third installments in money-making franchises and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix as the fifth Harry Potter film for Warner Bros.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the familiar titles combined with many money-making new films -- topped by DreamWorks/Paramount 's Transformers -- pushed the domestic box office to a record. Industry grosses totaled $9.62 billion in 2007, or 5% more than a year earlier and 4% more than the industry's previous high from 2002, according to Nielsen EDI.

Ticket sales also were up from 2006, with 1.41 billion admissions marking a 1% year-over-year increase and the highest tally since 2004.

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A rollout of digital projection systems in thousands of venues has helped facilitate the spread of on-screen advertising, further bolstering exhibitor finances. And the advent of 3-D screens and movies released in both conventional theatres and in Imax's giant-screens has helped the finances of both distributors and exhibitors.