Will Hollywood learn a lesson? Probably not.
Remember all of those flops in 2017 that I talked about? Well, it was even worse than that list suggested. The total number of tickets sold in the U.S. in 2017 came to 1.239 billion, which seems healthy, but that is the lowest Movie Attendance since 1992 which clocked in at 1.173 billion according to Box Office Mojo.
This is why I’ve always thought Attendance numbers should be looked at more than grosses. When you throw in inflated ticket prices for things like IMAX, RealD, MX4D, and 3D it just doesn’t make sense to keep measuring with box office grosses. The real proof is how many butts were in the seats.
The bug culprit (other than quality) appears to have been services such as Netflix. Jeff Bock, senior analyst for Exhibitor Relations, told Business Insider, “Audiences are continuing to flock to streaming in droves for challenging content and that doesn’t look to change in 2018, or the near future” He went on to add, “The studios are up against the wall, and the next few years they’ll have to produce a plethora of quality films to win back favor with audiences.”
Looking at the overall picture of 2018, although I have only done analysis for the first quarter so far, it’s more of the same. More reboots. More sequels. More spinoffs. Everything has to be part of a franchise or kicking one off. Clearly, audiences are not responding to this.
Add in the fact companies such as Netflix are spending billions on original programming and carpet bombing audiences with content for just about every demographic, the argument to go to the theater is becoming a difficult one to make. I can sit in the comfort of my own home and watch something original – which most TV shows are currently – or I can go through the annoyances of going to the theater and seeing something only so-so.
It’s pretty clear what audiences are choosing.
Listen up, Hollywood. You may have gotten just over the $11 billion dollar mark at the U.S. box office in 2017, but you definitely weren’t filling the seats.