With the last of the summer blockbusters fading from the multiplex, Hollywood’s box office slump has hardened into a reality that is setting the movie industry on edge. The drop in ticket sales from last summer to this summer, the most important moviegoing season, is projected to be 9 percent by Labor Day, and the drop in attendance is expected to be even deeper, 11.5 percent, according to Exhibitor Relations, which tracks the box office.
Of course, there’s plenty of amusing and insightful banter in the Slashdot thread.
I predict that our grandchildren will look at the cinema the way we look at opera and ballet. Consider the historical trends in arts consumption. People used to hear stories around a campfire or public house. Then the book was invented, and those stories could be taken home. People used to attend concerts to discover music, but audio recordings enabled them to just listen to that music at home (they still go to concerts, but the scales have shifted dramatically). The same is now happening with cinema.
On a vaguely related note, I’ve been running an informal study on the duration of ads and trailers before the movie starts. I’ve found, anecdotally, that there’s between 12 and 17 minutes, pretty evenly divided between ads and trailers. If I don’t care about the trailers, I can confidently arrive at a movie 10 minutes after its posted start time.