The good news for Hollywood bean-counters: Ticket revenue was up this summer, with 2010's grosses up $100 million over the May-to-August record set this time last year, according to the Associated Press. The bad news: the rise came from increased ticket prices and surcharges for 3-D and IMAX screenings, not from attendance, which was actually down two percent. In fact, 11.2 million fewer tickets were sold this summer than during the last big slump summer five years ago.

Indeed, for moviegoers, this may have been one of the worst summers ever, and many of them demonstrated their disapproval by ignoring some of the season's most highly touted movies. Still, there were some standout winners along with the notable losers. Here's a tally of who did well -- and who needs to go back to summer school.


The good news for Hollywood bean-counters: Ticket revenue was up this summer, with 2010's grosses up $100 million over the May-to-August record set this time last year, according to the Associated Press. The bad news: the rise came from increased ticket prices and surcharges for 3-D and IMAX screenings, not from attendance, which was actually down two percent. In fact, 11.2 million fewer tickets were sold this summer than during the last big slump summer five years ago.

Indeed, for moviegoers, this may have been one of the worst summers ever, and many of them demonstrated their disapproval by ignoring some of the season's most highly touted movies. Still, there were some standout winners along with the notable losers. Here's a tally of who did well -- and who needs to go back to summer school.

WINNERS

Robert Downey Jr. in 'Iron Man 2'•Paramount and Disney -- According to the Hollywood Reporter, Paramount had the biggest share of the summer market, with one out of every five box office dollars going to a Paramount-released film. Disney was just four points behind Paramount's 20 percent. Of course, those figures don't tell the whole story; after all, Paramount's biggest summer hit, 'Iron Man 2' ($312 million to date) is a Marvel production, so much of its profits flow back to Disney, Marvel's new owner. Still, Paramount also boasts such blockbusters as 'Shrek Forever After' (produced by DreamWorks) and 'The Last Airbender.' Meanwhile, Disney boasts the summer's top movie in 'Toy Story 3' ($406 million), which is also 2010's top movie and (including its worldwide gross) the biggest animated film of all time. It also claims two billion-dollar worldwide movies this year (the other is 'Alice in Wonderland').

•Sony -- Just a point behind Disney in market share, Sony released several major hits this summer, including 'The Karate Kid,' 'Grown Ups,' 'Salt' and 'The Other Guys,' as well as 'Takers,' which won the box office this past weekend and could remain a hit into the fall.

•Summit -- Four words: 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.' Along with summer's third biggest movie ($298 million), however, Summit also distributed another sizable romantic hit with 'Letters to Juliet' ($53 million).

•Steve Carell -- If you count 'Date Night,' which opened in April but held strong through May, the funnyman had three strong movies this summer that grossed more than $400 million. Plus, he proved his crossover appeal to kids with 'Despicable Me, which, at $236 million, is the summer's sixth-biggest hit.

Leonardo DiCaprio in 'Inception'•Leonardo DiCaprio -- The 'Titanic' star is the king of repeat business once again. This time, people went to see 'Inception' (and went again, and again) not just to swoon over his baby face, but to figure out the movie's puzzling plot and philosophical riddles. (Kudos, too, to writer/director Christopher Nolan, who proved again, as with 'The Dark Knight,' that summer action blockbusters can be thoughtful and bleak, not just mindless and cheerful.) Between 'Inception' and last winter's 'Shutter Island,' DiCaprio is having a very good 2010 -- $500 million good.

•3-D and IMAX --
Critics keep waiting (hoping?) for a 3-D backlash, but it's not coming yet. There were at least a dozen major 3-D releases in theaters this summer, and the surcharges for those rental spex (and for IMAX screenings) helped push this summer's take to a record $4.35 billion.

•Old-School Action -- From the '80s throwback heroics (and stars) of 'The Expendables' to the reheated Cold War spy theatrics of 'Salt,' from the rebooted humans-vs.-aliens face-off in 'Predators' to the martial-arts remake 'The Karate Kid,' viewers proved they didn't need their heroes to wear capes and spandex or prance in front of green screens (CGI effects to be filled in later). Even 'The A-Team,' which did add a lot of far-fetched, newfangled CGI to its '80s reboot, managed to stir up $77 million.

Selena Gomez and Joey King in 'Ramona and Beezus'•Kids -- Five of this summer's top 10 films were family movies. In fact, the family market became really crowded in late July, when 'Despicable Me,' 'Toy Story 3,' 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice,' 'Ramona and Beezus' and 'The Last Airbender' were all jockeying for spots in the weekly top 10. If anything, the late-summer over-saturation probably kept 'Ramona,' 'Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore' and 'Nanny McPhee Returns' from becoming bigger hits. So it was a good time to be a young moviegoer, though an anxious time to be a studio catering to young moviegoers.

•Indies -- Not that there weren't movies for grown-ups; you just had to look beyond the nostalgic action fests or the occasional smart studio release like 'Inception.' That meant a trip to the art-house, where 'The Kids Are All Right,' 'City Island,' 'Cyrus,' 'Solitary Man,' 'The Girl Who Played With Fire,' 'The Secret in Their Eyes,' 'Winter's Bone' and 'Get Low' became modest hits.

LOSERS

Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise in 'Knight & Day'•A-Listers -- Conventional wisdom has it that, in an age when movies can be marketed on the basis of familiar titles or 3-D special effects, A-List stars are not only superfluous, they're also no longer any guarantee of good box office. That certainly seemed to be the case this summer with such under-performing stars as Nicolas Cage ('The Sorcerer's Apprentice'), Jake Gyllenhaal ('Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time'), Jennifer Aniston ('The Switch') and Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz ('Knight & Day'). Jury's still out for Russell Crowe (whose expensive 'Robin Hood' barely cracked $100 million stateside, though it did twice as well overseas) and Julia Roberts (whose 'Eat Pray Love' has been only a modest hit, with $61 million earned so far in its three weeks of release).

•Jerry Bruckheimer --
The producer's lavish, effects-driven action spectacles (most famously, the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' franchise) have grossed billions of dollars, but this summer, his formula failed him not once but twice, with costly flops 'Prince of Persia' and 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice.' Could it be that audiences are actually demanding some story and characters with their action, or that not just any videogame or cartoon short can be turned into a mega-budget franchise?

•Uninspired Sequels and Retreads -- The inspired ones ('Iron Man 2,' 'Toy Story 3,' 'The Karate Kid,' 'Eclipse') did well, but they seemed outnumbered by the lackluster ones, and audiences proved they knew the difference by staying home from such defrosted titles as 'Robin Hood,' 'Sex and the City 2,' 'Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore,' 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice,' 'MacGruber,' as well as such under-performing sequels and remakes as 'Get Him to the Greek,' 'The A-Team,' 'Dinner for Schmucks' and 'Shrek Forever After.' (Yes, 'Shrek' made $238 million, but it underwhelmed compared to the earlier 'Shrek' films.) On the other hand, original fare actually did well, in the cases of 'Inception,' 'Despicable Me,' 'Grown Ups,' 'Salt,' 'The Other Guys' and 'The Expendables.' In other words, a familiar, pre-sold title is not just a license to print money; nor does new and original mean death in the marketplace.

'Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore'•Talking Live-Action Animals -- Sorry, 'Marmaduke' and 'Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.' Seems this gimmick has run its course.

•Comedy -- Aside from 'Grown Ups' and 'The Other Guys,' there wasn't much to make Hollywood accountants laugh this summer. Not enough people snickered at 'Get Him to the Greek' or 'Dinner for Schmucks,' and no one laughed at 'MacGruber,' which earned a paltry $8.5 million and was out of theaters after three weeks.

•Horror -- There was hardly any this summer, unless you think the lovestruck vampires and werewolves of 'Eclipse' count, or the monster movie/exploitation jolts of 'Predators' or 'Piranha 3-D.' Otherwise, you're left with 'Splice,' which scared up only $17 million, and 'The Last Exorcism,' which has only been out a week and has yet to prove it can overcome negative word of mouth from viewers who found the ending a disappointment.

Julia Roberts in 'Eat Pray Love'•Women -- Traditionally, summer means action, which means movies targeted toward guys. Often, there's a fair amount of smart counterprogramming to attract women, but not this summer, when there was little to choose from. 'Eclipse' was a huge chick flick, of course, but for grown-up women, the pickings were slimmer than Angelina Jolie in 'Salt.' (Does that count as a chick flick, by the way?) 'Eat Pray Love' has had a middling response; 'Just Wright' topped out at $22 million; and 'Sex and the City 2' didn't do nearly as well as its predecessor. Only 'Letters to Juliet' outperformed expectations.

•Culty Comic Book Movies -- Just because the Comic-Con crowd is all atwitter (and a-Twitter) about a movie doesn't mean anyone outside of their echo chamber will care about it. Hollywood seems to want to turn every comic book ever written into a film, but while familiar titles like 'Iron Man' do well, ones that only a handful have read -- 'Kick-Ass,' 'Jonah Hex,' 'Scott Pilgrim vs.the World' -- do not. 'Pilgrim' and 'Kick-Ass' came with critical acclaim and mountains of hype, yet they were unable to prove their appeal beyond a core cult of fanboys. Of course, if the movie's no good (sorry, 'Jonah Hex' readers), not even the spectacle of Megan Fox in a corset is going to entice moviegoers.

Top 10 movies of summer 2010:
1. 'Toy Story 3,' $405.7 million
2. 'Iron Man 2,' $312.1 million
3. 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,' $298.0 million
4. 'Inception,' $270.5 million
5. 'Shrek Forever After,' $238.1 million
6. 'Despicable Me,' $236.3 million
7. 'The Karate Kid,' $175.9 million
8. 'Grown Ups,' $159.4 million
9. 'The Last Airbender,' $130.6 million
10. 'Salt,' $113.3 million

•Follow Gary Susman on Twitter @garysusman.