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Author Topic: 2010's box office is second-highest ever -- but still a disappointment
System Notices
Forum Watchdog / Soup Nazi

Posts: 215

Registered: Apr 2004


 - posted 01-01-2011 02:37 AM      Profile for System Notices         Edit/Delete Post 
2010's box office is second-highest ever -- but still a disappointment

Source: www.EW.com
Author: Keith Staskiewicz

quote:
As any cinema cynic or cane-waving old crank knows deep in their world-weary heart, the worst year of all time for movies is whatever year it is right now. However, despite a cruel summer, a significantly sluggish final month, and complaints of declining quality, 2010’s actual box office numbers haven’t fared too badly. Total domestic revenue is down a tad from last year’s record-setting $10.6 billion, but it’s not down by much. In fact, the estimated $10.556 billion take is only the second time the annual figure has been higher than $10 billion.

But the numbers are only part of the story, and they constitute a disappointment when you consider that 2010 was poised from the start to bust 2009’s record wide open. While the year might be going out like a Little Focking lamb, it came in like a big, blue, motion-captured lion. January and February, usually an Island of Misfit Toys for movies no studio has any faith in, saw major holiday leftovers from Avatar, the long-legged success of which pushed the front-end of the year into probable record territory. Yet the momentum from that early push was squandered by one of the worst summers in recent box-office history, and an almost equally disappointing winter.

The renaissance of 3D also gave studios the wallet-gouging means to push their grosses into the stratosphere. Well, it didn’t happen, but not for lack of trying. They used the technology on any and all blockbusters they could get their hands on — I feel like I saw more movies this year with those polarized Elvis Costello shades on than without them — hoping the $3-$5 surcharges would pack their coffers. And they did, but only enough to help mask a pretty precipitous drop in attendance: 5.36 percent from 2009, the biggest drop since 2005.

It was mainly a year of squandered opportunity and, even by the account of those who aren’t wistful nostalgists, of not-so-great studio tentpoles. Maybe a lack of quality has finally translated into lack of interest from moviegoers, especially when ticket prices are increasingly inspiring a WHAT?!?! reaction. The fact that the critically acclaimed Toy Story 3 ended up the highest-grossing film of the year with $415 million helps to bear that theory out. How about you? Did you find yourself staying home more this year because there was nothing worth seeing? Is anyone optimistic for 2011?


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Jesse Skeen
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1501
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Aug 2000


 - posted 01-04-2011 01:10 AM      Profile for Jesse Skeen   Email Jesse Skeen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That's the first such article I've seen that mentions ticket prices- I think that's the REAL reason for declining attendance. I haven't been able to bring myself to pay for a movie since I left the business, though I probably would have gone to EVERY 3-D movie if they weren't charging extra for them! Since they are, I've gone to exactly two, and that was only because one of my friends worked on them (Meet the Robinsons and Tangled).

A lot of Blu-Ray discs can now be bought for $15, granted you need about $3000 worth of equipment to enjoy them.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

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From: Forsyth, Montana
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 - posted 01-04-2011 02:50 AM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't understand why people think movies are too expensive when they're still relatively cheap compared to every other form of out-of-home entertainment.

And, people keep demanding the fancier seats, amazing sound, they want elegance and style in decor, they want the movies on Day 1 rather than waiting a few weeks to see them, they'd like to see an usher in every auditorium controlling the kids, they want everything to be absolutely perfect presentationwise (and RIGHTLY SO!) ...but they balk at the price tag for all this.

They won't work for less than 7 or 8 dollars an hour in the lowliest jobs in the country, yet they think $5 or less per hour to have a movie presented for them on a huge screen in a cushy auditorium is way too expensive.

They get fired up at advertising in theatres, when there is WAY MORE advertising plastered all over other forms of entertainment that costs way more than going to the movies.

They spend thousands of dollars on TV for their house, and $100 bucks or more every month for cable or satellite even though they watch only a fraction of the channels...but it's too expensive to go to the movies which gets them out of the house and provides a fun night on the town with a group of friends, and maybe even creates memories that will last a lifetime.

I just don't get people.

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Jonathan M. Crist
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 527
From: Hershey, PA, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 01-04-2011 10:52 AM      Profile for Jonathan M. Crist   Email Jonathan M. Crist   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
According to the figures posted on boxoffice mojo, the average ticket price in 2010 was $7.95. Based upon the annual reported 2010 gross of 10,561.9 million means that a total of 1,328.5 million tickets were sold in 2010...... which is the lowest number of tickets sold since 1995.

Annual Chart

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Jesse Skeen
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1501
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Aug 2000


 - posted 01-04-2011 07:23 PM      Profile for Jesse Skeen   Email Jesse Skeen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Keep in mind I'm a cheap bastard, but I'd go to a lot more movies if the prices were lower- and yes I know the theaters usually don't even get to keep most of it so I'm not entirely blaming them. I do blame theaters however for not making it the "experience" that it should be- new theaters with small, common-width screens continue to be built, despite home screens constantly getting larger. I'm glad 3-D is coming back, but the last times it did they didn't charge extra for it.

I've watched a lot of bad movies at home recently for relatively little money- I would have felt ripped off if I'd shelled out $10 or so to see them at any of the local theaters. If it were a great theater though I wouldn't care so much if the movie was bad- at least the theater did the best it could with what they were given.

And yes, anyone who still pays for cable nowadays is an idiot. Cable companies have more contempt for their customers and presentation than even the worst theater chains.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12603
From: Forsyth, Montana
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 - posted 01-04-2011 08:31 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Jesse Skeen
I'm glad 3-D is coming back, but the last times it did they didn't charge extra for it.
Yeah, but last time it didn't cost $15,000 or so, plus ongoing costs, to offer it.

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Scott Jentsch
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: New Berlin, WI, USA
Registered: Apr 2003


 - posted 01-05-2011 03:01 PM      Profile for Scott Jentsch   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Jentsch   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Is it possible that the complaints about ticket prices and even concession prices are symptomatic of displeasure with the moviegoing experience?

When taken on their surface, complaints about ticket prices don't hold much water when there are so many other forms of entertainment that can cost more. However, I think what they're really complaining about is not getting the value they expect for their money.

The advertising messages are something else to complain about because they are just diluting the moviegoing experience that much further. That means that having to see ads before a substandard presentation just rubs salt in the wound.

I believe that if the presentation is perfect (sound, picture, etc.) and the lobby experience is good (courteous staff, clean bathrooms, non-stale popcorn), the value of the dollars they spent goes up and they are much less likely to complain about ticket prices and even concession prices.

But, if a theater can't deliver the goods in a satisfactory fashion, the moviegoer starts to think that they could have spent their money and their time much better some other way. After all, that same movie will be available in 90-120 days for $1 a day from any number of Redboxes within a 5 mile radius.

I think 3D has helped to shore up the numbers, but the novelty is wearing off, and Avatar is proving to be a high-water mark that no one else has reached and may not for quite some time. When audiences tire of paying for the novelty, what then?

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