Despite a 16% increase in the American population between 1995 and 2014, film admissions in 2014 hit their lowest level since 1995. With 50 million additional American customers, Hollywood wasn’t able to put any more butts in seats.
Overall, domestic admissions totaled 1.259 billion in 2014, a drop of 6% over last year. In 1995, 1.211 billion admissions were purchased. Every year in-between has seen more admissions sold than the number sold this year.
Revenue-wise, although the final figures won’t be out until next week, it looks as though 2014 will be about 5% lower than last year ($10.4 billion compared to $10.9 billion), and the lowest since 2008.
Thanks to increased ticket prices and premium pricing for IMAX and 3D, those gross numbers look pretty good. Overseas grosses also look good. Movies, however, have changed a lot since 1995. Today almost every wide release is a hugely expensive (production and promotion) $200 million to $300 million gamble. Overseas, the percentage on the dollar studios recoup can be much lower while advertising sometimes cost more.
Hollywood would serve itself well to stop selling its artistic soul to the likes of the Communist Chinese and pay a little more attention to its home base. The American customer base is not only growing, we are cheaper to market to and offer a much better return on every dollar spent.
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