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Number One

January 11-13
Zero Dark Thirty
$24.4 million
December 31-January 6
Les Misérables

92,000 units
Bruno Mars, "Locked Out of Heaven"

5th week at #1
Person of Interest
11.2 million homes

The Big Bang Theory
13.0 million homes
6th week at #1
New Year's Rockin' Eve
7.6 million homes

Disney Channel
3.3 million homes
Halo 4
104,963 units for the Xbox 360
2nd nonconsecutive week at #1

Sources for #1s: Box Office Mojo, Billboard, SoundScan, Nielsen Media Research, Rentrak Corporation, Home Media Magazine, VGChartz

CULTURE CLIPS is researched and written by Adam R. Holz with assistance from Paul Asay and Bob Hoose. It is edited by Steven Isaac.
Special Issue: 2012's Top 10s

Special Issue: 2012's Top 10s

"The cloning of humans is on most of the lists of things to worry about from Science, along with behaviour control, genetic engineering, transplanted heads, computer poetry and the unrestrained growth of plastic flowers." So said Lewis Thomas, the late physician, poet and essayist. Fortunately, he did not include Top 10 entertainment lists in that lineup, thus allowing us to proceed with the annual Plugged In recap of what happened in the world of entertainment last year. This year sees a return to all the annual favorites (movies, music, TV, games, etc.) and the inclusion of some new lists (Wikipedia pages, for example). So dive right in to 2012's heavy hitters in the entertainment world.

The Avengers (PG-13) $623.3 million
The Dark Knight Rises (PG-13) $448.1 million
The Hunger Games (PG-13) $408.0 million
Skyfall (PG-13) $289.6 million
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 (PG-13) $286.0 million
The Amazing Spider-Man (PG-13) $262.0 million
Brave (PG) $237.2 million
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (PG-13) $222.7 million
Ted (R) $218.7 million
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (PG) $216.4 million

After a 4% drop in North American box office receipts in 2011, no doubt Hollywood's bean counters were breathing a bit easier after 2012. Movies raked in a record $10.83 billion in 2012, up 6.5% compared to the previous year. Ticket sales rebounded as well. Moviegoers purchased approximately 1.36 billion tickets, up from 1.28 billion in 2011 and 1.34 billion in 2010, but still down from 2002's high water mark of 1.58 billion. As has been the case for years now, superhero stories, fantasy films and animated offerings continued to dominate the year-end box office Top 10. Box office tallies are from 2012 calendar-year ticket sales. [, 1/4/13;, 1/1/13]

The Avengers (PG-13)
The Hunger Games (PG-13)
The Dark Knight Rises (PG-13)
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (PG-13)
Brave (PG)
Ted (R)
Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (PG)
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (PG-13)
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (PG)
Puss in Boots (PG)

Total consumer spending on home entertainment, including DVD and Blu-ray sales, rentals, downloads and video on demand reached $18 billion in 2012, representing a slight 0.2% increase compared to 2011. Blu-ray purchases increased 10%, while electronic downloads of movies surged 35% over the previous year. The list above represents movies sold in all formats. [The Digtial Entertainment Group, 1/8/13]

Adele, 21 4.4 million units
Taylor Swift, Red 3.1 million
One Direction, Up All Night 1.6 million
Mumford & Sons, Babel 1.5 million
One Direction, Take Me Home 1.3 million
Justin Bieber, Believe 1.3 million
Carrie Underwood, Blown Away 1.2 million
Luke Bryan, Tailgates & Tanlines 1.1 million
Lionel Richie, Tuskegee 1.1 million
Jason Aldean, Night Train 1.0 million

In early 2012, the music industry began to hope that perhaps its long sales slide was finally coming to an end, with Adele leading the way to the first year-to-year increase since 2004. Some facets of the story are the same this year: Adele's remarkably resilient 21, for instance, was once again the top-selling album, the first time any artist has managed back-to-back, year-end No.1s since the Nielsen SoundScan era's inception back in 1991. That said, album sales ultimately did resume the same downward trajectory that's been the story for most of the last decade, sliding 4.4% in 2012. Digital sales of albums (111.7 million units) topped physical sales (93.1 million) for the first time. [Billboard, 1/12/13]

Gotye feat. Kimbra, "Somebody That I Used to Know" 6.8 million units
Carly Rae Jepsen, "Call Me Maybe" 6.5 million
fun. feat. Janelle Monáe, "We Are Young" 5.9 million
Maroon 5 feat. Wiz Khalifa, "Payphone" 4.8 million
Nicki Minaj, "Starships" 4.0 million
One Direction, "What Makes You Beautiful" 3.9 million
fun., "Some Nights" 3.8 million
Kelly Clarkson, "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" 3.8 million
PSY, "Gangnam Style" 3.6 million
Maroon 5, "One More Night" 3.5 million

Digital track sales enjoyed a modest gain of 5.1% in 2012, rising to 1.3 billion units. Fewer individual tracks topped the 1 million units sales mark, 108 in 2012 compared to 112 in 2011. [Billboard, 1/12/13]

Casting Crowns, Come to the Well
WOW Hits 2012
Chris Tomlin, How Great Is Our God: The Essential Collection
newsboys, God's Not Dead
tobyMac, Eye on It
Laura Story, Blessings
Lecrae, Gravity
Mandisa, What If We Were Real
Jamie Grace, One Song at a Time
MercyMe, The Hurt & the Healer

[Billboard, 12/22/12]

Madonna $133.7 million
Cirque du Soleil: Michael Jackson - The Immortal $112.9 million
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band $104.7 million
Kenny Chesney/Tim McGraw $96.5 million
Roger Waters $90.2 million
Coldplay $54.8 million
Dave Matthews Band $51.0 million
Van Halen $49.9 million
Barbra Streisand $40.7 million
Elton John $40.4 million

Revenue from all tours in North America totaled nearly $4.3 billion in 2012. Total concert ticket sales rose 5%, from 34.7 million in 2011 to 36.7 million in 2012, which is still down from the industry-best year of 2009, which saw 40.5 million tickets sold. [Pollstar, 1/7/13]

NCIS (CBS) 15.3 million homes (per week average)
NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS) 12.9 million
Person of Interest (CBS) 11.6 million
Criminal Minds (CBS) 10.3 million
Blue Bloods (CBS) 10.1 million
Elementary (CBS) 9.8 million
Vegas (CBS) 9.8 million
The Mentalist (CBS) 9.7 million
CSI (CBS) 9.4 million
Grey's Anatomy (ABC) 9.4 million

[Combined data from complete 2011-12 network TV season (Sept.-Sept.) plus Fall '12 rankings from Nielsen Media Research. NOTE: If the same series appears in both '11-'12 data and Fall '12 data, the higher per-week average is used.]

The Big Bang Theory (CBS) 13.1 million homes (per week average)
Two and a Half Men (CBS) 10.2 million
Modern Family (ABC) 9.7 million
2 Broke Girls (CBS) 8.4 million
¡Rob! (CBS) 8.3 million
Mike & Molly (CBS) 8.1 million
How I Met Your Mother (CBS) 7.0 million
Rules of Engagement (CBS) 6.9 million
The Middle (ABC) 6.4 million
How to Be a Gentleman (CBS) 6.2 million

[Combined data from complete 2011-12 network TV season (Sept.-Sept.) plus Fall '12 rankings from Nielsen Media Research. NOTE: If the same series appears in both '11-'12 data and Fall '12 data, the higher per-week average is used.]

Dancing With the Stars (ABC) 13.7 million homes (per week average)
American Idol (Fox) 13.6 million
The Voice (NBC) 9.6 million
Survivor (CBS) 8.7 million
America's Got Talent (NBC) 7.9 million
The Amazing Race (CBS) 7.7 million
The Bachelor (ABC) 6.8 million
The X Factor (Fox) 6.8 million
The Bachelorette (ABC) 6.7 million
Undercover Boss (CBS) 6.5 million

[Combined data from complete 2011-12 network TV season (Sept.-Sept.) plus Fall '12 rankings from Nielsen Media Research. NOTE: If the same series appears in both '11-'12 data and Fall '12 data, the higher per-week average is used.]

Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Madden NFL 13
Halo 4
Assassin’s Creed III
Just Dance 4
NBA 2K13
Borderlands 2
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes

Physical sales of video games across all platforms plunged 22%, down from $9.1 billion in 2011 to $7.1 billion in 2012, according to the market research firm NPD Group. Those figures, however, do not take into account digital download sales. Total video game sales of consoles, accessories and games fell 22% as well, from $17 billion in 2011 to $13.3 billion in 2012. NPD Group's best-selling games list combines the various versions of games sold on different platforms. [NPD Group, 1/11/13;, 1/11/13;, 1/11/13]

Whitney Houston
Gangnam Style
Hurricane Sandy
iPad 3
Diablo 3
Kate Middleton
Olympics 2012
Amanda Todd
Michael Clarke Duncan
Osama bin Laden

Google doesn't release a list of most-searched terms internationally. Instead, the search engine giant releases lists of trending terms in different categories, defining "trending" as "searches that had the highest amount of traffic over a sustained period in 2012 as compared to 2011." []

PSY, "Gangnam Style" 1.1 billion views
Carly Rae Jepsen, "Call Me Maybe" 375.0 million
Jennifer Lopez feat. Pitbull, "Dance Again" 199.0 million
Justin Bieber, "Boyfriend" 197.0 million
One Direction, "One Thing" 192.1 million
Rihanna, "Where Have You Been" 154.5 million
One Direction, "Live While We're Young" 132.6 million
Justin Bieber feat. Nicki Minaj, "Beauty and a Beat" 129.0 million
Katy Perry, "Part of Me" 121.1 million
Rihanna, "Diamonds" 116.5 million

[, 1/2/13]

Facebook for Every Phone 185.2 million fans
Facebook 84.5 million
YouTube 68.0 million
Texas Hold'em Poker 67.8 million
Rihanna 65.1 million
Eminem 64.8 million
The Simpsons 59.2 million
Shakira 58.9 million
Coca-Cola 57.1 million
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 55.0 million

[, 1/10/13]

Summer Olympics
U.S. Election
MTV Video Music Awards
Super Bowl
Euro 2012
Superstorm Sandy
UEFA Champions League Semi-Final
Summer Wars
Whitney Houston


Deaths in 2012
One Direction
The Avengers
Fifty Shades of Grey
2012 Phenomenon
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hunger Games

Article list includes most-viewed English language pages. [, 12/27/12]