The Twilight sequel was kinda popular. The Transformers sequel was kinda gigantic. Land of the Lost was neither.
But you didn't need us to tell you that. You needed us to digest the box-office year that was, and spit out: the Nine Things About 2009 You Didn't Know, but Are About to Learn:
1. New Moon beat Harry Potter. In bang for buck. New Moon made more than 12 times its $50 million budget ($635 million worldwide); Half-Blood Prince "only" made about four times its $250 million price tag.
2. Harry Potter beat everything. The sixth boy-wizard adventure was the year's overall No. 1 film, with $924 million in the worldwide bank, even if Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was the No. 1 film domestically—and the only one to top $400 milllion stateside.
3. Will Ferrell is off the hook. Astro Boy, which ran a $45 million deficit, not Ferrell's Land of the Lost, which "only" fell $35 million shy of matching its budget, or Eddie Murphy's Imagine That ($37 million in the red) was the biggest bomb. As far as we can tell. Only the accountants know for sure. Other money-losers: Bruce Willis' Surrogates; Gerard Butler's Gamer; and Planet 51, which is still in theaters, so there's hope, but probably not $30 million worth of hope.
4. Sandra Bullock was the last movie star standing. Only three movies in the year's domestic Top 15 were not franchise flicks or toons. Bullock starred in two of them: The Blind Side and The Proposal. (With apologies to John Cusack, explosions starred in the third, 2012.)
5. Emma Roberts is a bigger box-office star than Julia Roberts. The teenaged Roberts' Hotel for Dogs outgrossed her auntie's Duplicity by nearly $40 million worldwide.
6. Star Trek isn't as universal as its Federation alliance would suggest. The franchise reboot made less money overseas than any film in the domestic Top 10, per Box Office Mojo stats. Another surprise from that group: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs made the most money overseas—a monstrous $687 million.
7. The Blair Witch Project wasn't 10 years ago; it was a million years ago. While Paranormal Activity was stealing Blair Witch's schtick, grossing $100 million-plus off an $11,000 budget, The Objective, the latest film from Blair Witch codirector Daniel Myrick, was grossing $95, per The-Numbers.com.
8. Kids' films for grown-ups add up to nothing for nobody. Exhibit A: Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are ($100 million budget; $75 million worldwide gross). Exhibit B: Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox ($40 million budget; $20 million worldwide gross).
9. People are spending their unemployment benefits to see Avatar. Or, the same 10 rich folks are standing in line again and again and again. Those are two theories to explain how Hollywood continued to buck the recession, and put itself on course for a record $10.3 billion year, per Exhibitor Relations. Sure, ticket prices, driven by 3D and IMAX, were at an all-time high ($7.48 average). But, actual attendance was up from last year, too.