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Published On: Mon, May 7th, 2018

Why Have We Stopped Going to the Movies?

This Summer is an important summer for movie theatre owners and the movie studios. Last year saw heavy declines in the ‘blockbuster season’. In North America, a summer season featuring Despicable Me 3, Pirates of the Caribbean 5 and Baywatch failed to excite movie goers. Theatre attendance fell to a 25 year low last summer in the US and Canada and it was a similar story in the UK too.

Box office takings in the UK in August 2017 fell to a 35 year low with only World War Two epic Dunkirk saving the summer’s taking from total disaster.

Alex and Stephen Kendrick pose outside The Gem Theater in historic downtown Kannapolis, N.C., after filming car scenes for their new movie. (Courtesy of AFFIRM Films/Provident Films, Photo credit: Kevin Peeples)

Vice-president of the National Association of Theatre Owners in the UK; Patrick Corcoran, said:

“Audiences won’t show up in bulk if you don’t offer them anything to see.”

“There were no big, broadly appealing movies available to the public from the beginning of July through until now – certainly none to compare to, say, Suicide Squad, which brought in more than $500m (£383m) in 2016.

“The amount it took in in August accounts for about 60% of the difference between summer 2016 and 2017.

“I wouldn’t presume to tell film-makers what to make, but we always call for more and varied options for our patrons at all times of the year. We need big blockbusters, intimate dramas, raucous comedy – you name it. It is worth noting here that a number of independent titles performed well this summer.”

But it isn’t just the films themselves that are turning people away from the movies. Ticket prices rose 3.2 percent last year, making the overall cinema experience which includes overpriced popcorn and drinks, a costly event.

The ever-growing popularity of video streaming services have added a pressure on the cinema far beyond that of video and dvd’s. Now, it is possible to have cinema quality films direct in your home, and not long after they have been released. The sheer volume and choice, coupled with the convenience, make video streaming services the biggest threat to cinema at the moment.

Affordable home cinema installations like those of Custom Controls make it possible to have as close to the whole movie experience from the comfort and the convenience of your own home.

With some big franchise films lined up for Summer 2018, cinema owners are expecting a better year. Deadpool 2, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Avengers, Infinity War and Ocean’s 8 are just some of the big films scheduled for release this summer.

Should numbers continue to decline, then alarm bells should ring for movie theatre owners over prices and movie studios over film choices, as declining attendances and increasing theatre ticket prices is a business model that is not sustainable. They have a fight on their hands with movie streaming services increasing their catalogues and subscribers. Both cinema owners and studios will need to adapt to a younger audience that is not in the habit of going to the cinema, and win them back with lower prices and better films.

Author: Jacob Maslow

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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