With all the recent talk about movie box office slumps, could it be that the declining grosses have something to do with the rising ticket price? In the past year, we’ve seen movie ticket prices rise from $8 to $10. Those two dollars may be small potatoes for most of us, but let’s say that you’re a family of four operating on an extremely tight budget. Suddenly, you’re now paying eight extra dollars per week (or what was once the price of one movie ticket).
Factor in the loud movie ads that thunder during those hideous “20 Minute Countdown” presentations before the movie, working against parents who are trying to get the kids settled down, and the fact that movies have seriously declined in quality, and the problem from a family perspective becomes apparent. Moreover, considering the rise in talkers, I wonder if this has less to do with home theatre environments and more to do with walking into a theatre and hearing not some soft music playing over the speakers so that people can settle down, but getting a projected movie with advertisements and hollow trivia.
And lest any sleazy Michael Medved types come around here preaching about “indecent” films that families don’t really want to see, I don’t think it’s the content or type of movie that matters. But families do go to movies. All types of movies. Everything from the latest Dreamworks animated epic to a serious drama.
If the movie business truly wanted to halt the gradual taper, then they might consider (1) reducing the ticket price from $10 to $8 by promising movie theatres a greater percentage of the gross, (2) reduce second-week dropoff by reducing supply (i.e., number of screens) and increasing deamnd, (3) demand a theatrical environment that is less intrusive and ad-centric and that actually relaxes people as they sit down, and (4) stop treating audiences as morons and make smart, entertaining, and story-centric movies.