According to the New York Times, even with upwards of 40 blockbusters released in 3D (meaning much higher ticket prices), box office revenues in North America dropped 4.5% this year. In worse news, overall attendance dropped 5.3%, which means that over the last two years attendance has dropped a whopping 11%. When you lose over 10% of your customers in just two years, something is horribly wrong. When you combine that with plummeting DVD sales, you have an existential problem.
The Times blames much of the problem on the economy, but as anemic as it’s been, the economy has improved some since 2008 and 2009, while attendance and revenues have not. In other words, that’s a stupid excuse. But at least it’s a new excuse. After years of blaming Redbox and piracy, you have to give Hollywood’s media friends credit for coming up with a new way to avoid admitting the obvious: People don’t like Hollywood or their product very much.
Movies are a cyclical business and analysts say that 2010 benefited mightily from holdover sales for “Avatar,” which was released late in 2009 and became one of the most popular movies of all time. A decline of hundreds of millions of dollars is not catastrophic when weighed against the size of the industry. Over all, North American ticket revenue for 2011 is projected to be about $10.1 billion, according to Hollywood.com, which compiles box-office data.
That is only a 4.5 percent falloff from 2010. But studio executives are alarmed by the downturn nonetheless, in part because the real picture is worse than the raw revenue numbers suggest.
Revenue, for instance, has been propped up by a glut of 3-D films, which cost $3 to $5 more per ticket. Studios made 40 pictures in 3-D in the last 12 months, up from 24 last year, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com, a movie database. Theaters have also continued to increase prices for standard tickets; moviegoers now pay an average of $7.89 each, up 1 percent over last year.
Attendance for 2011 is expected to drop 5.3 percent, to 1.27 billion, continuing a slide. Attendance declined 6 percent in 2010.
And now you know why Hollywood kisses China’s backside.
The Hollywood left may make a lot of noise about human rights and the like, but the reason they offer to participate in Chinese propaganda, make movies about how awesome the Chinese are, refuse to insult the Chinese, and suck up to communist/socialist strong men all over the world is to open the floodgates of their markets.
Forced abortions, slavery, human rights shmooman rights — with a billion-plus paying customers just waiting to be picked up, China means not having to do the hard work of making better movies and it surely means not having to make movies that represent American values.
A win-win for the bad guys.