According to SNL Kagan’s recent study, “Economics of Motion Pictures,” box office numbers reached an all-time high in 2007, making a record $9.67 billion despite the economic downturn. The previous record was set in 2002 at $9.29 billion.

The study, which included all films shown on 1,000 or more screens from 2003 to 2007, found that the most expensive films posted the largest revenues and average net profit. Statistics were broken down by budget range and genre, encompassing animated, sci-fi/fantasy, family, action, drama, comedy, romance, horror and thriller films.

According to the study, animated films did best within the negative cost range of those under a major studio deal, grossing an average net profit of $230.6 million. Horror films had the best results in the $0-$10 million range with an average net profit of $40.3 million. The total average gross of all 741 films included in the study was $58.1 million, and their annual net profit average was $66.4 million.

So what do these statistics prove? SNL Kagan senior analyst Derek Baine says, “When the going gets tough, consumers go to the movies. Historically, theaters have been fairly recession proof, and this year looks to be no exception.” As time has proven, moviegoers are willing to loosen their purse strings in exchange for two hours in a dark theater where, if only for a short time, reality’s woes seem a world away.

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