What did 2012 teach us, other than that poor Taylor Kitsch had a rough year and Channing Tatum had a fantastic one? Here are five lessons that Hollywood is surely committing to memory.

By Grady Smith
January 04, 2013 at 05:00 AM EST

Superheroes Are As Mighty As Ever
The Avengers crushed the competition this year, earning $623 million* domestically and $1.5 billion worldwide. Global totals for The Dark Knight Rises ($1 billion) and The Amazing Spider-Man ($752 million) weren’t too shabby either.

International Box Office Is Soaring
Never mind the fact that Ice Age: Continental Drift earned a franchise-low $161 million in the States. Internationally it took in a franchise-high $714 million. It’s now common for Hollywood movies to earn far more overseas than at home. China is the fastest-growing market.

March Is The New July
Studios typically save their tentpoles for the summer. But March releases The Hunger Games ($408 million in the U.S.), Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax ($214 million), and 21 Jump Street ($138 million) proved that summer-size hauls can happen earlier.

Politics Isn’T Poison
Political movies — usually a tough sell — fared well during the 2012 election year. The Campaign scored $87 million, Lincoln is at $110 million and counting, and the controversial 2016: Obama’s America became the second-highest-grossing political doc ever, despite critical savaging.

Grown-Ups Go To The Movies Too
The success of Hope Springs ($64 million) and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel ($46 million) reminded execs that youngsters aren’t the only demo that matters. When there are movies that appeal to adults over 50, those folks reliably show up for them.