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Year in Review: Most Profitable Movies of 2010

January 12th, 2011

This week we continue our wrap-up of 2010 by looking at the year's most profitable films. In making this calculation, we took the production budget, domestic and international box office and domestic DVD sales for each movie released during the year and calculated a rough total gross profit for the film. There's just one chart this week, but we think you'll find it interesting.

To compare the profitability of this year's movies, we took the domestic and international box office for each movie and the domestic DVD sales to calculate a rough estimate of the revenue earned by the studio, once theater and retail profits are accounted for. Specifically, we took half the worldwide box office and added 1.5 times the domestic DVD sales (to account for the combination of domestic and international DVD and Blu-ray sales and rentals). We then subtracted 1.5 times the movie's production budget (the extra 50% being a rough estimate of the marketing costs of the film).

It's worth stressing that this is only a rough estimate of the profitability of each film. So don't treat the numbers below as meaning (for example) that Toy Story 3 earned nearly $500 million in profit. However, it's pretty clear that Toy Story 3 and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse are the two top earning movies of 2010.

One final note: this chart is updated in real time as we get numbers from the studios and track DVD sales. The movies not yet on DVD will climb this chart further in the months to come. In particular, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I might yet have a shot at number one.

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Previous analysis:
- Year in Review: Studio Winners and Losers
- Year in Review: Theatrical Hits and Misses
- Measuring the Studios
- Why You Should Be Making a Romantic Horror Comedy
- Crunch Time for Video Sales
- OpusData Reveals the Top Leading, Supporting and Voice Actors of All Time.