2009 sets the summer box office record.

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With Labor Day weekend approaching, and the summer coming to an end, most movie buffs can look back and find trouble counting the good over the bad. Yet despite all the disappointing blockbusters, 2009 has become the highest-grossing summer ever at the domestic box office, with an estimated revenue of $4.17 billion. According to Variety Labor Day weekend should add another $100 million or more to the total tally.

The three blockbusters leading the pack are, with no surprise, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ($399.4 million), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ($294.3 million) and Disney/Pixar’s Up ($289.6 million).

Another film to rack in big numbers was the surprise hit comedy, The Hangover which has run up $270.2 million in domestic ticket sales, making it the best gross for an R-rated comedy. If that wasn’t enough, the Sandra Bullock-Ryan Reynolds romantic comedy The Proposal, earned $160.2 million to become the highest-grossing summer romantic comedy of all time.

Paramount’s Star Trek grossed $256.7 million to come in fifth for the season, while X-Men Origins: Wolverine grossed $179 million and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs took in a reported $193.3 million.

Add on $176.5 million for Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, $133.4 million for Angels and Demons and the $132.2 million for G.I. Joe and you can begin to understand the final tally.

Inglourious Basterds‘ underlying theme was concentrated on the power of cinema. Even in an age where movie piracy is accessible from any home computer and in a time of a recession, audiences will still flock to the theatre for some entertainment. Perhaps studios can learn a thing or two with these numbers. Yes it is true that despite the negative reviews, Transformers 2 leads the list, but perhaps if the studios took a portion of the money spent advertising a film which really doesn’t need it, and put that money to promoting smaller but better films like Moon and The Hurt Locker, they may just discover that these numbers can become even larger. Here’s hoping.

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