Roger Ebert Reckons He Knows Why Theaters Failed to Gather an Audience in 2011

Well, apparently not only did 2011 get trumped by 2010 in terms of audience numbers, but it had the smallest movie audience since 1995! Roger Ebert, in an article called, “I’ll tell you why movie revenue is dropping…”, gives 6 very logical reasons for movies not hooking the customers in like they used to.

1. An absence of a must-see movie like “The Dark Knight”, and “Avatar”. I guess we’ll find out what happens in 2012 when “The Dark Knight Rises” again to take our movie money.

2. Ticket prices are too high. It would be nice if there were some changes in the way movies were priced. For example, ticket prices could be based on how much the movie cost to make, or maybe by popularity. Perhaps in general they could just lower the price of tickets (::gasp:: what an idea!).

3. There’s a disturbance in the force known as the movie-going experience: people on cell phones are annoying as hell.

4. Refreshment prices are too high. Well, this doesn’t stop me, because I usually just sneak $1 drinks inside. Thanks, Arizona Tea. Oh, I’m sorry, was this cutting into your profit margin, Mr. Movie Theater? Okay, try giving me more reasonable prices then. I don’t often willingly get shafted.

5. People have movie theater-like experiences at home, and 30% of the internet is streaming Netflix at night. With this kind of competition from Netflix and its on-demand movies, your movie in the theater better be pretty enticing for people to want to leave their warm houses.

6. Not enough good choices. Too many theaters play the same exact “blockbusters”, or ad-fueled disappointments (your choice), and the movies that people might really want to see are played in very few cities (critically acclaimed artsy films). These smaller films capture “…first-place in per-screen average receipts”, but only a few people have access to them.

I completely agree with Ebert on his list of reasons why 2011 failed to capture a greater audience. I’ve been annoyed by movie prices for awhile now, and they’ve only gotten worse. I mean, they’ve rocketed up to around $11 for an adult ticket in the last decade or so.

Here are the average prices for movie tickets in the past decade according to box office mojo:

2011 Est.$7.96
2010 $7.89
2009 $7.50
2008 $7.18
2007 $6.88
2006 $6.55
2005 $6.41
2004 $6.21
2003 $6.03
2002 $5.81
2001 $5.66

If my calculations are correct, that’s a 40% increase in the past decade. I’m assuming these numbers are the average ticket sale, which would include $1 theaters, military and senior discounts etc.

While some people are getting discounts, it just seems a bit outrageous to me that one person should pay $11 to see a movie one time. With a price like that, the person better be an avid movie-goer, well to do, and/or super excited to see a particular movie. In short, the movie ticket price alone can be a major deterrent for a lot of people. It is, and has been, my opinion that if ticket and concession prices were lowered, more money would be made. But, hey, I’m just the guy at the keyboard.

Sources: RogerEbert, BoxOfficeMojo

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Ryan Southard
Ryan Southard 776 posts

Ryan Southard is a video game enthusiast, dissecting games down to their tiniest details. Whether it's new or it's old, as long as it's awesome, he'll play it. Follow him on Twitter at @Ryan_Southard <a href="http://nerdreactor.com/about/">Meet the Nerd Reactor Team</a>

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