Box-office revenue in China reached a massive $2.7 billion in 2012, far more than expected and up some 37 per cent on the previous year. The MPAA's annual report confirmed that China has overtaken Japan as the largest movie-going market outside of North America, which generated $10.8 billion in the same year, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

It also showed global box office revenue hitting $34.7 billion, up 6 per cent and an encouraging sign for the business. "It was a great year for movies," said MPAA chairman and CEO Christopher Dodd. The Avengers movie was the biggest of the year, grossing $1.51 billion, though Sam Mendes' Skyfall took an impressive $1.11 billion to make it the most successful British movie of all time, and the hugely anticipated Dark Knight Rises took $1.08 billion. Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was the fourth biggest film with takings of $1.01 billion. The National Association of Theatre Owners chairman John Fithian said, "The diversity of movies in 2012 was extraordinarily strong, and it's that kind of slate that drives the kinds of numbers you saw."

Daniel CraigRobert Downey Jr
Daniel Craig [L] Had A Huge Hit With Skyfall While Robert Downey Jr [R] Led The Biggest Movie If The Year, The Avengers

The strength of the Chinese market was the real story to be taken from the report. Until the MPAA's findings, box office revenues in the country were estimated to be $2.3 billion, which would have put it slightly behind Japan. "China is building something like 10 screens a day. There is a voracious appetite for product," Dodd said.