Have Americans Stopped Going to the Movies?


Matthew Hanke

A statistical chart of the amount of movie tickets bought of the years.

Matthew Hanke, Copy Editor

According to North American movie ticket sales from Box Office Mojo, movie theater attendance has been on a steady decline ever since the early 2000’s. After 2002, which had blockbuster hits like The Lord of the Rings, Spider-Man and Star Wars that brought people to the theater in droves and thus produced a large amount of ticket sales and revenue, the number of tickets sold has fallen off. Even 2002’s numbers are nothing compared to what sales were like in the 1930’s, with people flocking to cinemas everywhere to escape the outside world they had to endure during the Great Depression. Back to the present, 2018’s movie ticket sales were 82% of 2002’s, with not even the likes of the massively popular Avengers: Infinity War being able to significantly boost ticket sales in 2018, although its follow-up, this year’s Avengers: Endgame, which now has the record of the highest grossing movie of all time may be able to help do so. So, what has contributed to the almost 20% decrease in sales over the years?

According to many Americans, the price of tickets tops the list of reasons they see fewer movies in theaters. With an average movie ticket costing a bit over $9, and that’s not to mention the expensive concessions movie theaters are infamous for. When you take into account movie-goers who visit the theater with their family, something as simple as seeing a movie turns into a costly excursion. Plus, why would anyone spend that much to see one movie when services like Netflix and Hulu exist? At the expense of waiting a few months, many movies will end up on at least one of the two platforms. Users are easily able to watch whatever movie they pine for and countless others an unlimited amount of times for a relatively small monthly fee. Another significant reason for other Americans: there are no movies coming out that interest them. The modern movie market seems to be nothing but sequels, prequels and remakes, and even though said movies tend to prove successful, to many it gets old and saturated after a while. Hollywood and the theater industry needs to make some notable changes to bring audiences back to theaters in droves like they did during the 30’s, or else the gradual decline in attendance will become steeper and steeper as time goes on.