A Record Year at B.O.

It was the holiday season that saved the lagging box office results in 2000, pushing the year-end gross to record numbers on the strength of films such as “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Cast Away.”

In the end, studios raked in $7.45 billion in 2000, up 2 percent from $7.31 billion in 1999, Reuters reports.

It was a good end to a year with ticket receipts looking slim throughout much of it, especially with a lack of big summer blockbusters. DreamWorks’ “Gladiator” and Paramount’s “M:I-2” were the only real standouts for summer 2000, each grossing in the $200 million range. Technically, “M:I-2” opened in May but performed well into summer.

‘M:I-2’ Summer business dropped 5 percent compared with the previous year and only managed to come up even with ’99 by the fall.

But studios unleashed a slew of family friendly films that finally took the box office tickets over the top. Fox and DreamWorks’ “Cast Away,” starring Tom Hanks, drew nearly $40 million over the Christmas weekend.

Ang Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” also received enough pre-release buzz to bring in $14 million before the end of the year, which also helped offset the year’s lagging box office sales.

X-Men‘ Paramount’s “What Women Want” also helped bolster box office receipts. The Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt starrer set a new December record, grossing $33.6 million in its opening weekend.

Universal’s “Grinch” scored big with Jim Carrey in the starring role. As the year ended, the film had grossed $255 million and still remains a favorite. Other pre-holiday films, including “X-Men,” “Charlie’s Angels” and “Meet the Parents,” also helped save the year at the box office with sales surpassing $100 million each.

The year also had its share of box office duds, the top stinker being “Battlefield Earth” starring John Travolta. Val Kilmer‘s “Red Planet” brought in a paltry $17 million and Adam Sandler’s “Little Nicky” made a disappointing $39 million.

Pay It Forward” ran out of steam after $32 million as did “The Legend of Bagger Vance” at $31 million, although both had received a lot of buzz for possible Oscar noms.