If you must carry Hollywood's putrid water, go ahead and blame the Olympics -- it's not like we haven't had a few of those since 1993. But out here in the real world, no amount of spin can change the fact that during the hottest and most important season of the movie-going year, Hollywood's ability to put butts in seats hit a new low:
Ticket sales at North American cinemas declined an estimated 3 percent, to $4.28 billion, for the period from the first full weekend in May to Labor Day, compared with the period a year earlier. The last time studios experienced a decline for the summer was seven years ago, according to Hollywood.com, which compiles box office data.
But even higher ticket prices could not offset empty seats. Attendance for the period, when studios record about 40 percent of their annual ticket revenue, was the lowest since at least 1993, when independent records started to be kept. About 533 million people went to the movies, a 4 percent drop compared with last summer.
Even sadder than these facts is the analysis you'll read about them, all of it written by those whose job it is
to shamelessly suck up to cover Hollywood: Brace yourselves for excuses, metrics, excuses, logistics, excuses, graphs, excuses, charts, excuses, excuses.
What you won't read much of is how Hollywood is increasingly out of touch with its audience; the awful quality of storytelling these days; how movie stars no longer draw an audience because almost all of them have worked overtime to alienate the customers; how Hollywood's monolithic thinking in the areas of culture, religion, and politics makes it impossible to relate to 70% of its potential customers, and how manly men and womanly women have been replaced by metrosexuals and girls playing grown up.
Blame the Olympics, blame the Colorado shooter, blame Redbox, blame Netflix, blame we bitter clingers who prove our intolerance by avoiding your childish insults. Yes, blame everyone but your bubbled, elitist, anti-liberty, State-worshipping, selfish, untalented CGI-addicted selves -- because that's a show worth popping the popcorn to watch.
And it's going to have a happy ending.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC