2011 Has Worst Movie Attendance in 16 Years
Hollywood’s New Year’s wish must be for bigger audiences in 2012 after preliminary reports show that movie attendance in North America was down 4.4 percent in 2011, the lowest level since 1995.
According to projections, domestic box office revenues for Jan. 1-Dec. 31 will reach roughly $10.2 billion, down 3.6 percent from the $10.58 billion collected in 2010.
That means an estimated 1.28 billion people went to the movies in 2011 — the lowest turnout since 1995, when 1.211 billion people showed up at their local theaters. Attendance reached an all-time high in 2002 (1.57 billion), according to the National Association of Theater Owners.
The movie industry will likely blame this drop at least partially on online piracy. The Motion Picture Association of America is already a major supporter of the controversial SOPA legislation in Congress, which is supposedly aimed at reducing copyright infringement on the internet, like pirated movies; and these latest statistics, whether they can actually be attributed to online piracy, will only add fuel to the fire.
The industry is also aware that even legal home viewing could be cutting in to box office revenues. Universal Studios briefly tried to release the film Tower Heist almost simultaneously at theaters and on cable Video on Demand, before being fought back by theater owners. However, many acknowledge that given the success of Netflix and Redbox, some sort of direct-to-home release will have to be worked out by Hollywood soon.
But studios, theaters, and filmmakers may be ignoring the most obvious, and most painful, solution: make better movies.
[image via ABC Local]