The year's top grosser is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 at $1.3281 billion.
Second is Transformers: Dark of the Moon at $1.1237 billion.
Third is Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides at $1.0439 billion.
Fourth is Kung Fu Panda 2 at $665.7 million.
Fifth is The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 at $654.4 million and still going.
Sixth is Fast Five at $626.1 million.
Eighth is The Smurfs at $562.5 million
Ninth is Cars 2 at $551.9 million
Tenth is Rio at $484.6 million.
Geek time now. Why did each of these films do so well?
1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2: the conclusion of the most successful franchise (2001-11) to date, this is the epic conclusion the entire world had waited for so viewers in their tens of millions poured to cinemas in the opening weekend.
2) Transformers: Dark of the Moon: a high grossing franchise (2007-11) since Day 1, popular with teenagers especially (action and beautiful women sexualised as much as possible for a 12 rated franchise, a.k.a. tight dresses, towels, leather, et cetera). This was also the last chance people would get to see a big budget Transformers film on the big screen, so why waste the opportunity?
3) Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: Four years since Captain Jack last appeared on the big screen, forget the poor quality of the previous sequels (2006/7), the world couldn't wait to see the loveable rogue on screen again, particularly under 30s.
4) Kung Fu Panda 2: after the strong original (2008), the franchise had gained a huge fan base, and a good trailer only increased anticipation, so families, critics, teenagers who like kung fu and numerous other people had a good time seeing this at the cinema.
5) The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1: the franchise (2008-12) is not good quality, but popularity with the viewers, particularly the teenage audience the films are aimed at ensured that this film grossed big money fast.
6) Fast Five: after the below par fourth film (2009) this was a very nice surprise - a slick exciting action thriller. Word of mouth spread of the quality of this film, which surpasses all of its predecessors (2001/3/6/9) so millions headed for cinemas.
7) The Hangover: Part II: a disappointing film indeed, but the 2009 original has had a huge fan base since it was first released, so it's only natural millions bought tickets to see the Wolf Pack on screen again.
8) The Smurfs: unlike Cars 2 the trailer didn't suggest violent or scary, and countless parents will remember seeing The Smurfs on TV when they were kids, so regardless of quality this became the film parents took their young children to see during the summer.
9) Cars 2: gaining a big fan base and making $8 billion from merchandise, a sequel was inevitable, and became Pixar's worst film to date. Fans of the original went to see it, and although it isn't official, a lot of potential young viewers were lost thanks to a trailer suggesting violence and scary scenes. Parents don't want their kids getting upset, it's a fact of life.
10) Rio: the film was guaranteed more profit being an Easter film than had it been released in the summer blockbuster season with Harry Potter, Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean, Kung Fu Panda, The Smurfs and Cars. A fun film for all the family, this was the main film for the Easter holidays, which parents and children alike enjoyed.
So that's the box office Top 10 for another year, with only ranked films 1, 4 and 6 being worthy of four stars. It's not guaranteed but I'm predicting that in 2012 The Dark Knight Rises, Brave, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted will reach the Top 10.