Movie Theater Attendance At A 16-year Low… But It’s All Good News

by on December 31, 2011

in Entertainment

Cinema Static Top-10 Movies & Box Office NumbersAccording to a report by The Hollywood Reporter, a mere 1.28 billion movie-goers fessed up their hard earned cash to see movies in 2011.

This number is a decrease from 2010 by 4.4% and they report that this is the lowest number of movie-goers to attend movie theaters since 1995, when 1.211 billion folks went to the movies back then.

But that’s domestically speaking, here in the U.S.. Overseas (Worldwide) box office tallies are still a huge aspect of the income to any studio that captures our overseas movie fan brethren.

For example, from two of the top-10 movies out there, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 brought in $381 million in 2011, but worldwide it’s pulled in $1.3B. Transformers 3 (Dark of the Moon) pulled in $352M, but worldwide it pulled in $1.1B. And we’re not counting the home-entertainment market.

Transformers 3

The overseas movie market has generated an all-time record of $13.53B in 2011.

Even though this news appears worrisome, per the headline, there’s one aspect that is not taken into account or talked about and that’s the almost doubling of ticket prices in movie tickets.

Between IMAX and the price of 3D movies, in addition to the standard increase of ticket prices over time, per Box Office Mojo, the average ticket price in 2011 was $7.96, and in 1996, was $4.35.

3D goggles for 3D movies

So despite the alarming titles rattling off this statistic of decreasing attendance, the studios right now are doing just fine. Maybe, as time progresses, we’ll start having more options for first-run movies that don’t involve the movie theater. And maybe this small decline is indicative that people might be willing to wait to watch movies after the fact, on VoD (Video on Demand.)

And as you ponder that idea, it is extremely less expensive to wait and rent, where it can cost $5 for an entire family to rent a movie when it hits the VoD services, versus the $10 to $15 ticket price, per person, to see it in the theater.

I think the consumer, in some respects, is starting to hit a threshold.

In some cases TV productions are getting better, but then, I have to wonder just how tired movie-goers are getting of movie remakes, of falsely advertised artistic movies, or 3D gimmicks. I’ve always said that 3D seems wasted on live-action movies. Well, most of them.

THR titled their article a “Box Office Shocker,” to get your attention. But they neglected to point out the obvious.

At least that’s my take on it. Thoughts?


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