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The first part of Sir Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy has already earned more money in this country than any other movie that opened in 2012, grossing more than $10.6 million so far.
But in terms of takings for the industry year to December 26, 2012, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is ranked third with the $6.1m it earned in the last 2-1/2 weeks of the year.
Topping the list for takings in 2012 is The Avengers, which grossed $8.8m.
The story of a group of super heroes who band together to save the Earth, stars Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Second is the James Bond story Skyfall, in which Javier Bardem does a brilliant job as the villain Silva, with $6.4m for the year and $7.4m altogether so far.
Two of the top 10 movies in the Motion Picture Distributors' Association (MPDA) list feature lead characters who are teenage girls.
At number four in the list, with $5.8m, is The Hunger Games which shot actor Jennifer Lawrence to stardom. She plays Katniss Everdeen who voluntarily takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death among 24 young people.
The creepy Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 is in eighth place, earning nearly $5m in 2012. It stars Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan who falls in love with a vampire and gives birth to a part-human part-vampire baby.
The Dark Knight Rises, in which Christian Bale returns as Bruce Wayne - aka Batman - to save Gotham one more time, was fifth with $5.7m.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, about a group of British retirees, one played by Judi Dench, moving to India to live in a hotel was the sixth highest grossing movie with $5.4m.
The Adventures of Tintin, made in Wellington and produced by Sir Peter, is one of two animated movies in the top 10, earning $5.3m in seventh place. The other animated film in the group is Ice Age: Continental Drift in ninth place with $4.6m.
Coming in at the tail of the field in 10th is Ted, in which Mark Wahlberg's teddy bear has come to life, which earned $4.3m
The MPDA said total gross box office in 2012 was $173.1m, up 7 per cent from 2011 and the second highest earnings on record, behind 2010's $176.5m.
Association president Peter Garner said the level of bounce back last year was terrific, after the industry was hurt in 2011 by the Christchurch earthquake in February and the Rugby World Cup in September.
"With 407 screens currently operating countrywide, the emphasis must now be on converting the remaining 43 per cent of these screens to digital capability during 2013. It is essential for continued growth that we offer New Zealand audiences the best in technical presentation that is enjoyed in most international markets." Garner said.
The new year had started well, and he was hopeful of good results from movies coming out in the first half of 2013, including GI Joe: Retaliation, Oblivion, The Croods, Ironman 3, Star Trek Into Darkness,
Fast and Furious 6, Man of Steel, The Great Gatsby, Monsters University, World War Z, The Lone Ranger and 1000 AE.