Despite a string of summertime flops, Hollywood is expected to have a banner year at the domestic box office, coming in just shy of $11 billion, the largest annual take ever. But that's because of higher ticket prices—actual attendance at North American theaters remained flat after a decade of decline. With the current domestic box-office tally nearly 1% ahead of last year at this time, 2013 could surpass 2012's overall haul of $10.8 billion by more than $100 million, according to box-office tracker Rentrak.
High-profile flops such as the Lone Ranger, After Earth, R.I.P.D., and Turbo were offset by mega-hits like Fast & Furious 6 and Iron Man 3, which consistently filled theaters last summer. More recently, Warner Bros.' space epic Gravity has earned $254 million domestically, Lionsgate's sci-fi sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has grossed $378 million, and fantasy prequel The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has brought in $150 million for Warner Bros. Meanwhile, the National Association of Theater Owners projects that the actual number of tickets sold domestically in 2013 will remain about the same as last year's 1.36 billion. That's down from the all-time high of 1.57 billion admissions in 2002.