According to Statista, the number of movie tickets sold nationwide has been trending downward since 2002, which was the best year for ticket sales since 1980. Theories abound for the lackluster public interest in going to the movies, from the increase in more monolithic Hollywood business models to changing social trends, including competition from pay TV and streaming media, along with movies that often feel uninspired. Let’s visit these theories.
Competition From Pay TV and Streaming Media
At the same time, Hollywood focuses on blockbuster action and science fiction movies, streaming media has been creating quality original content and moving away from a dependency on distribution deals with Hollywood. For example, the original series Loudermilk, executive producer David Guillod, was created by pay TV channel Audience TV. “Stranger Things” and “The Crown,” both Netflix original creations, have garnered rave reviews.
Stream effortlessly now.
You Can Go to the Movies and Stay at Home
The rise of elaborate home media options has allowed viewers to recreate the cinema experience from the comfort of their homes. You can stream your movie or buy it on Blu-Ray or DVD media and watch it on larger-than-life TV screens with surround sound, all without the hassle of dressing up, fighting traffic, and paying high ticket prices.
Your home can be your cinema too!
Inflationary Ticket Prices
Movie ticket prices have more than doubled since 1998, from $4.69 to $9.01. You can’t say the same about family income. When you consider the high price of concessions, the average family of four has to consider going to the movies a special occasion. If studios want to lure families to the movies, their productions must overcome these obstacles and others, including noisy moviegoers who are thoughtlessly distracting, and the 30 minutes of commercials the cinema forces you to sit through before the movie starts.
Lack of Choice in Movie Offerings
When is the last time a drama was number one at the box office? Actually, “American Sniper” was the box office champ only five years ago, in 2014. Before that, you have to go back to 1998 when “Saving Private Ryan” took top honors. However, in the 21 years since then, 14 box office winners were adventure or science fiction films. From 1980 to 1997, box office winners included three comedies, two dramas, and one romance to go along with the other adventure and science fiction winners.
Disney is dominating
What happened? Mergers and acquisitions, for one. As the big fish swallow up the little fish, the focus on making money to acquiesce shareholders only increases. Disney acquired Marvel in 2009, Lucasfilm (think Star Wars) in 2012, and, just recently, 21st Century Fox. Disney now controls 35 percent of the movie market. The upward trend in blockbuster and animated movies would seem to be on a safe trajectory.
Let's don't go to the movies?
Like many aspects of American life, the movie industry is both a victim and a victor of rapid advances in technology. Where it all goes from here is anyone’s guess, but more change seems to be the one constant to count on.
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