Related to John’s post about the music industry’s 7% sales decline, the movie industry suffered a decline of over 12% in ticket sales since 2002.

ABC News:

The bad news is that audiences did not exactly go ape over the rest of 2005’s cinema offerings, making this the third straight year of decline in Hollywood ticket sales — the first such stretch of bad news in 40 years. Because of the continued falloff — sales are down 12.6 percent from 2002 — a growing number of analysts are wondering whether America’s movie habits are changing permanently.

The times they are a changing folks. The content industries can pretend these are only short terms trends, but I think they are permanent. We are just bombarded with so much content throughout the day, with music blasted at us at stores, to TVs blarring in nearly every public place, that we simply do not have the time or desire to go stand in line to see more.

  1. Rob says:

    You don’t think there are people like me out there? Who have NOT seen a movie since Matrix one?

    Just becasue we are disgusted with the star’s salaries and the movie companies indiffernce to what the consumers want? The last DVD I bought was Lord of the Rings. I have not seen the other two or any movie
    pirated or otherwise out of disgust.

    Screw hollywood!!!!!!!

  2. Joe says:

    “We are just bombarded with so much content throughout the day, with music blasted at us at stores, to TVs blarring in nearly every public place, that we simply do not have the time or desire to go stand in line to see more.”
    Or Maybe the movies that hollywood is coming out with just suck?

  3. Thomas says:

    It’s not the atmosphere that keeps people from going to movies. I have a theatre near me that is generally less crowded because it is not in the middle of a mall where teenagers like to hang out.

    The real problem is the quality of the movies. There are in fact good movies being made; they’re just not blockbusters in wide release. For anyone that has not worked in the entertainment industry, it is a business first and foremost. Everything is about making a sure thing that makes the most money by appealing to the largest audience. When was the last time you heard of a big movie rated R? That means that Hollywood movies are all by formula and that formula has gotten stale.

  4. Dave says:

    The entire entertainment industry is facing SEVERAL fundamental problems at the same time. 1. SENSORY OVERLOAD – now that most of the industry is owned by huge corporations, they need to put out more and more content to make earnings to satisfy their stock owners. There simply is too much choice out there competing for customer’s decreasing amounts spare time. (I don’t know about you, but I am working more hours each year, not less!) 2. LARGE AMOUNTS OF POOR QUALITY AT HIGH PRICES- where do I start with this one? The main stream movie industry’s innovation is waning and they want us to spend $14 bucks to see crap? There are way too many remakes and sequels (including the same story line remade as a “new movie” even though it’s just the same old thing”), an over reliance on special effects and a general lack of innovative content AND NOW THE DOOZY – 3. DRIVING DISSATISFACTION BY THEIR CUSTOMERS – Whether it be crappy quality or the increasing efforts by the Entertainment Industry to tighten their noose on how we use the content we have legitimately bought (note Sony’s ROOTKITS/Spyware installations, industry lobbying congress to restrict innovative technologies that actually enhance our satisfaction with the content etc.). I’m all for paying for everything I use, but when the industry’s anti piracy paranoia gets in my way, that’s when I switch to other forms of entertainment. MESSAGE TO THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY – “WITH INCREASING FREQUENCY, YOUR JUICE IS NOT WORTH THE SQUEEZE!!!”

  5. Dave Drews says:

    My name is Dave and I’m a movie-a-holic. In my 51 years, I estimate I’ve seen something around 10,000 films. I’ve even tried writing some, but haven’t sold any. Doing so, I learned alot about how Hollywood works. In short, it’s about money and ego. Creativity sneaks in occasionally by accident and is quickly squashed by the other two.

    Just today, I read a new review of Ridley Scott’s film from earlier this year, Kingdom of Heaven, which had been rightly lambasted at the time. Turns out, it was so butchered by the studio that you lost all reason for why anyone did anything. All they wanted was the battles. What was lost was an amazingly deft portrayal of interesting characters set amongst trying times. And even the battle scenes were butchered just to get the running time down to an easier to sell two hours. The studio released Scott’s full cut in one crappy theater in LA to fulfill a contract obligation most likely and the reviewer got to see it. He was stunned at the difference between what Scott created and what the studio spat out to the public.

    I rarely go to the theater anymore, usually only going for spectaculars where the big screen works. But, then I have to contend with idiots who bring babies, fools who can’t shut the f__ up, ads run before the film and cheap theaters who turn down the brightness of the projection lamp to save money. I wait for the DVDs with the extras and the unbutchered film.

    You’d be suprised how many crappy films started out with really good scripts that got rewritten into crap and then after filming, got pulverized more via test screenings and studio committees trying to second guess the filmaker.

    If a film fanatic like me rarely goes to the theater anymore, and with the high quality and lowering cost of home theaters as ticket prices rise to stupifying levels, no wonder the general public is staying away.

  6. Joe G. says:

    Netflix gives you the option to bypass the mindless megaplex blockbusters and watch quality movies you couldn’t see elsewhere. It’s not just a matter of too many options, but the fact that there are better options!

  7. Floyd says:

    Simple economics: tickets for two cost more than waiting and buying the DVD after a few months. Renting the DVD and even pay per view is cheaper. As an example, I plan to wait to see the new King Kong (which has really good reviews) once it’s out on DVD.

    There is of course the other problem that many movies aren’t even worth renting, or watching on cable. I hav no interest in most chopsocky movies, movies about the “hood,” or VanDamme/Diesel/etc. bloodfests.

    As Dave Drews also notes, the only way to see a lot of movies as the director planned them is to rent/buy the “director’s cut.” An example Dave didn’t mention: all three “Lord of the Rings” movies, which were not bad in their original cuts, but worked much better in the Director’s Cuts.

  8. Tallwookie says:

    from the article: “…annoyance and cost of going out when they can be in so much better control of what they see at home…”. 1 word: BitTorrent. end of story.

  9. Mike Voice says:

    First it was DVD players, and people building “Home Theater” systems – with surround-sound speakers, and “big screen” TVs.

    Next will be HD-quality screens [even if it is just existing DVDs played through an up-converting player/box].

    Their FX & explosion-laden “event” movies will have to be in 3D with Smell-o-Vision [or better yet, “Feel-a-Round” from Kentucky Fried Movie] for them to keep anybody paying money for over-priced snacks and predictable plot-lines.

    Their current plan seems to be: If the per-screen income is dropping, just show it on more screens!! 🙂

  10. Gwendle says:

    I just cannot rationalize going to a theater, paying their 10 dollars, dumping another 10 in snacks/pop, and all of a sudden seeing an advertisement. I dont just mean the coming soon, I mean the flat out garbage I can see on the television anyday of the week. Then the movie gets started and am apalled at the horrid feces they put together. I just gave up on the world of theater watching and rent. Alot cheaper and I can pause when I feel, skip the junk that I dont want to see, and no adversements.

  11. Mike Voice says:

    …and all of a sudden seeing an advertisement. I dont just mean the coming soon, I mean the flat out garbage I can see on the television anyday of the week.

    Radio broadcast association is also running stupid ads, recently.

    Their obnoxious ads sound like a breaking news story, trying to draw my attention… just so it can interrupt at the ‘critical’ moment to ask me to pay more money. The announcer then tells me that I shouldn’t have to pay for radio.


    But I am paying for “free” radio, and the cost is being jerked around by their stupid, offensive commercials. How stupid can they be to repeatedly remind me of that? 🙂

  12. Christopher Coulter says:

    Ahhh all ye shrill prophets of doom, I am not as pessimistic. Tons of great movies this year, some you have to hunt, but they are out there. You will always have unruly audiences (at certain times), and high concessions, that’s been a fixture since day one. And measuring “good” with profitable is a hard thing to do. Also I don’t care how good of an audio-video system you have at home, it won’t beat the immersive experience of the theatre.

    What you have to understand is that the model has expanded into other areas, it’s not just the tentpole box office results, it’s also the DVD splash. And a great box office buzz, creates good rental and DVD returns. Hollywood is not crying too hard.

    Always will be changes, video gaming subtracting potential movie goers, shortened DVD release cycles and etc. But blaming “media bombardment” sounds as hollow now as it was the first time around, when VCRs were the supposed Box Office killer. Things morph, they change, this revolutionary techie rallying cry of overthrow is overwrought and wrong. Movies are escapes, and ‘good’ is very subjective.

    The sky is not falling

    The Hollywood crisis that isn’t
    Everyone panic – that’s an order!

  13. Eideard says:

    Slipping through under the radar is another one of those radical proposals from Mark Cuban. The Studio beancounters persist in trying to separate out the DVD and HDTV release from new films hitting theaters.

    Cuban’s policy is to offer the DVD at the movie — on the web same time — and a couple of showings on his HDTV channel, same time as theatrical release. He ends up making at least as great a return on his investment dollar and is growing a following.

  14. Paul Jardine says:

    I’d agree that the quality of films is not good. More from the idea perspective than the making of the film. I’m sure Peter Jackson made an excellent movie of King Kong, but the question should not be about how well made it is, but why it was made at all!
    Have the Hollywood moguls lost the will to make ‘new’ films?
    I would also agree that people’s home experience of watching through 48″ LCD TVs and surround sound has, to all intents and purposes, matched or bettered the theatre experience.
    Going to the theatre needs a new twist, like 3D or ‘feel’. It will come back, once the experience of theatre going is sufficiently beyond the home experience (as it did in the late 70’s)

  15. Charles Colp says:

    I agree that most of the movies just aren’t as good. I find alot of the movies that I like to rewatch are older movies, not due to nostalgia, but because they often had more originality to them. What I have found though is that the best storylines coming out right now are in video games. I have seen more unexpected twists and turns on my XBox and PS2 in the last two years than I will probably witness in all of the movies made in the last 10 years. Hollywood has seen this as well and is trying to make video game movies but as usual they miss the point. I am waiting for a horror movie based on F.E.A.R. (computer game) but it will never be as intense as you controlling the character and feeling helpless when the storyline takes over.

  16. site admin says:

    Maybe if the stpooed suing thier customers people would have a better attitude towards them.

  17. Shane says:

    I took my wife to see Jarhead when it came out. What a mistake that was. Forget that the movie sucked a mountain load of ass, what really sucked were the people who were actually talking on their cell phones. I don’t mean the phone rang and they answered and then hung up, I mean had full conversations. I finally had to just stand up, call one lady out in front of everyone and tell her to turn it off. We will NOT be going back to the theater. EVER. For now on, for first run movies it is BitTorrent for us. If it must be seen on a big screen, I will burn a DVD. Besides, you can’t even get a beer in a theater.

    P.S. Since Jarhead was so craptacular, I am sure that the next few movies that we do see at home will be rated “U” as in you must have a uterus to enjoy them. God help me.

  18. AB CD says:

    They said the same thing 20 years ago, blaming it on VCRs. The solution then was to offer movies with Chuck Norris and Sly Stallone. Rocky 6 and Rambo 4 are coming to save the day.

  19. Pat says:

    We seldom see movies in the winter, preferring to rent or buy our own DVDs. We love the summer though. We are fortunate enough to still have a two screen Drive-In less then ten miles away. (aaahh, country living !!!) There are always two movies at $5.00 per adult and $2.50 for 6 to 12.

    At our local Drive-In, it is almost a community event. Before the movie, the next car is always a neighbor and the kids all play football or soccer together in front of the screen. We put our fold-up chairs in front of the cars and blankets for the kids in front of the chairs. Many bring a dinner from KFC or other fast take-out place. The theater tolerates people bringing in their own snacks and drinks.

    If we liked the movie, we will often buy it in a few months when it comes out on DVD. If we didn’t like it enough, we still chalk it up as an enjoyable family outing; the kids ALWAYS love it. The family that own the theater aren’t getting rich but they do live comfortably. This is an experience I wish you city dwellers could enjoy. Just leave your cell phones at home though, your friends are probably already at the show.

    I don’t believe today’s movies are any worse then those of 10, 20, or 50 years ago. In fact, just the opposite. If you watch a lot of the old top movies today, they look so corny, the dialog is stilted, and special effects are just plain bad. Watch movies like “Gone With the Wind”, “Jaws”, “Star Wars”, or “Ben Hur”. In their day they were blockbusters, but today they wouldn’t even get played in their current form. All would need major re-writes and special effects.

    Some movies like “Of Mice and Men”, “Dr Strangelove”, “The Wizard of Oz”, and “To Kill a Mocking Bird” will always be great.

    just my to cents worth


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