Why aren’t people going to the movies anymore?

Despite a good range of quality offerings – in my opinion, anyway – Hollywood is in trouble.

Like $500 million in trouble.

At least, that’s how much less people spent going to the movies this year than last year. And that includes the fact that ticket prices went up.

Again, that’s despite blockbusters like “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II,” “Transformers 3″ and “Breaking Dawn, Part I.” – each part of a mega-successful franchise that has raked in billions.

But apparently it wasn’t enough. Three weeks ago, in the face of highly-pepped movies like “New Years Eve” and “The Muppets” – the box office reached its lowest take since September 2008.

So now, the question becomes: why?

The New York Times recently asked this question and came up with some general assumptions:

“What has gone wrong? Plenty, say studio distribution executives, who point to competition for leisure dollars, particularly among financially pressed young people (the movie industry’s most coveted demographic); too many family movies; and the continued erosion of star power. “

Most importantly, they say, is the absence of young movie-goers:

“‘As bad as the economy is for adults, it’s worse for teenagers,’ said Phil Contrino, editor of BoxOffice.com, by way of an explanation. ‘Because they have less disposable income and because they are more plugged in to audience reaction on Facebook and Twitter, the teenage audience is becoming picky,’ he added. ‘That’s a nightmare for studios that are used to pushing lowest-common-denominator films.'”

It makes sense.

Movie tickets average $8  and that’s a lot, especially for teenagers working for minimum wage (as I did back in the day) or young professionals looking to enjoy an evening out.

I know when I go to the movies, I read a bunch of reviews first, gauge social media reaction and then make a decision. Once, I also checked how long each movie was because I was not about to spend $10 on a ticket for a movie that lasted an hour and 20 minutes.

I don’t have an answer to this dilemma. It’s easy to say “lower ticket prices,” but could it really be that simple? Just charge $6 and people will suddenly flock to theaters again?

Again, I don’t know.

What do you think? What could the movie and theater industries do to get people back into movie theaters?

About Ashley Wislock

Business reporter focusing on retail for the York Daily Record/Sunday News. In my spare time, I'm a social media, sports, reality TV and celebrity gossip junkie. Contact me at awislock@ydr.com or 717-771-2029!
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6 Responses to Why aren’t people going to the movies anymore?

  1. Jo says:

    Ticket prices; noisy patrons; cell phones ringing, glowing; lousy movies full of porn or near-porn; even more lousier music. (Is that a word???)

  2. PSUMBA says:

    Ashley, If Hollywood made movies that we wanted to see, we would actually go to see them! The film industry is all caught up in “sending a message” and is focused on “bankable stars” rather than on compelling stories that will enable us to live out our fantasies, make us feel good, or simply give us some good entertainment.

    Look at the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s … there were few “celebrities”, but a wealth of classic movies. There were a few blockbuster movies but many more “B” movies … today, every movie is portrayed as being one, but few survive the cut.

    • ashley wislock says:

      I agree! Some movies seem to be written just for one celebrity to play a generic role – they have little plot beyond the title character.

      But I guess I look at movies that do have good plots with “B”-list or virtually unknown actors (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” the upcoming “Hunger Games,” “Harry Potter,” “The Hangover” – all of which have put the spotlight on their stars, not vice versa) and think that there has to be something more to it.

      But, again, I do think plot lines have a significant role in the decline. There’s only so many times I can watch some of the canned stories before I want to scream.

  3. Adrienne says:

    It is too expensive to sit in uncomfortable seats, next to noisy strangers and watch a movie that usually isn’t that entertaining. We look at the promos and decide if a movie would need a “big screen” (theater) or a “little screen” (TV). If you wait long enough, it comes on TV and with On Demand, you can watch it anytime.

  4. Terry Zellers says:

    Just bought a commercial grade Pop Corn machine for the kids and grandkids. The quality of home systems now make it as or more enjoyable to spend time with the family in vitualy your own theater room. As for the teen crowd and what you can do to make it more attractive. In this day and age of interaction why not take a blast from the past? Remember the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”, as quirky as it may seem throngs of teens showed up at midnight with their spray bottles and rain coats. They even knew most of the lines and repeated them during the show. Make it fun again…..More than a movie!

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