Boosted by a slew of big hits, 2008 marked the highest summer cinema admissions since 1969, with the UK's cinema venues attracting more than 53,642,237 visitors between June and August, a year-on-year increase of 5.6%, according to figures from the Cinema Advertising Association.
Last summer saw the release of 'Mamma Mia!', the Abba-inspired musical drama and the highest grossing British film of the year, and the acclaimed animated Pixar film,'Wall-E', which scooped a Golden Globe award on Sunday night.
July was the most popular month for cinema admission in 2008, with 21m visitors, boosted by the release of 'The Dark Knight', starring the late Heath Ledger as the Joker, who also received a Golden Globe for best supporting actor in a drama.
It was also a year for new records with 'Mamma Mia!' becoming the highest grossing British film in the world as well as the highest grossing film in the UK with £69.2m, while 'Quantum of Solace' scored the highest opening weekend in the UK with £15.4m
Gemma Atkinson, sales director at Digital Cinema Media, said: "The pull of the big screen remains incredibly strong. Despite consumer confidence sliding, these admission figures prove that the cinema experience is one thing consumers are not prepared to sacrifice.
"This, coupled with the huge amount of media attention that films like 'Sex and the City', 'Mamma Mia!' and 'Quantum of Solace' received throughout the year, demonstrates that the UK's love affair with the cinema shows no sign of slowing."
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UK Top Ten Box Office January 1 - December 31 2008
1. Mamma Mia! (Universal Pictures) £69,157,833
2. Quantum Of Solace (Sony Pictures Intl.) £50,627,578
3. The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) £48,686,653
4. Indiana Jones & The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (Paramount) £40,088,636
5. Sex And The City (Entertainment) £26,427,325
6. Hancock (Sony Pictures Intl.) £24,718,240
7. Wall-E (Walt Disney Studios Intl) £22,772,269
8. High School Musical 3 (Walt Disney Studios Intl) £22,739,722
9. Kung Fu Panda (Paramount) £20,044,229
10. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (Paramount) £17,958,254