Despite a box-office surge in December thanks to the success of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and King Kong, total revenue for the year is expected to fall below $9 billion for the first time since 2001 and finish 5 percent below last year's total, with attendance down 6 percent, the Associated Press reported Sunday. The wire service said that the drop was the largest in 20 years. In Europe, the drop was even more severe. The German publication Deutsche Welle reported Sunday that the box office was down a whopping 20 percent in Germany and 10 percent in France, Spain and Italy. However, it said, ticket sales in the U.K. were about the same or slightly higher than in 2004, thanks in large part to a heavy output of locally produced movies.
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