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Q. What records were broken in 2006?

Though 2006 as a whole was no record breaker with its $9.2 billion tally, the year did yield many milestones.

First off, 2006 had the most nationwide releases in a single year: 177 titles. That's 20 more movies than previous record holder 2005.

Sony claimed the title of highest single studio gross in a given year with over $1.7 billion. In total, four studios crossed the $1 billion mark, tying 2003 for the most in a single year.

Of course, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest was the movie that broke the most records in 2006, the most significant being biggest opening weekend. Its $135.6 million start holds up even when adjusted for ticket price inflation and also set milestones for July and Summer openings as well as highest per-theater average for a wide release. Its $55.8 million first day on Friday, July 7 topped the All Time Single Day, Opening Day and Friday Box Office Charts.

The record shattering didn't stop there: Pirates went on to top the Sunday and Tuesday single-day charts and was the fastest movie to reach $100 million (achieved in two days), $200 million (eight days) and $300 million (16 days). Continuing on, it was the highest grossing movie after two, three, six, seven, eight, nine and ten days in release. Pirates, though, missed Shrek 2's record for fastest to $400 million (43 days), crossing that threshold by day 45.

The record for the biggest overall weekends was broken twice in 2006: first on May 26-28 when X-Men: The Last Stand opened and the top 12 movies totaled more than $188 million; then again on July 7-9 when the top 12 earned nearly $210 million with the aid of Pirates' opening as well as Superman Returns and The Devil Wears Prada's second weekends.

More records were thawed when Ice Age: The Meltdown posted the best March and Spring openings ever with its mammoth $68 million debut, skating past the previous records by more than $21 million. All time special and holiday weekend charts were topped for Super Bowl Weekend (When a Stranger Calls), Memorial Day Weekend (X-Men: The Last Stand), Easter Weekend (Scary Movie 4) and Halloween Weekend (Saw III). Finally, Borat posted the largest debut for a movie opening at less than 1,000 theaters, grossing $26.5 million at only 837 sites.

Not all records were positive, however, and New Line's Hoot had the misfortune of losing 2,200 theaters in its third week of release, going 3,018 theaters to 818, to claim the biggest theater drop ever. Gigli formerly held the title at 2,142. Most of the time, theaters are contractually obligated to play a movie for two weeks, so how many theaters it loses (or gains) in the third week speaks to its traction in the market.

More embarrassingly, Zyzzyx Road was not only 2006's lowest grossing movie with a mere $30, it was also the lowest grossing movie of all time—or at least the lowest grossing movie for which its box office is known.

• 2/24/07 - 'Illusionist' Impresses Most in Bland 2006
• Scott Holleran: 2006 Retrospective

Filed by Sean Saulsbury on February 25, 2007

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