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Movie Industry Ends Slide, Chalks Up 5.5% Sales Gain in 2006

U.S. box office revenue reversed a three-year slide in 2006, with sales rising 5.5% to $9.49 billion, according to an industry group.

The Motion Picture Association of America released data Tuesday showing that 63 movies grossed more than $50 million in 2006.

The 607 films released in 2006 -- which include both major motion pictures released by MPAA members and smaller, independent releases -- marked an all-time high for a single year and an 11% increase over the 549 movies that hit theaters in 2005.

The average cost for an MPAA member company to make and market a major motion picture remained roughly flat in 2006 compared to 2005, at $100.3 million. A slight increase in average production costs offset a minor decline in marketing costs.

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Globally, box offices tallied $25.8 billion in sales, up 11% from $23.3 billion in 2005. International distribution and home entertainment sales account for a significant portion of major U.S. films' revenue.

Last year's box-office title-holder, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," garnered sales of more than $400 million.

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