I love movies. I hate seeing what’s going on in Hollywood. Here’s some interesting statistics and my personal take on why things are bad and getting worse.
If you love movies like I do then you would probably agree that there was a lot of bad movies this year. It does appear that others agree: box office revenue was down 4.6%, and attendance was down 7.3%. Obviously ticket prices were up which didn’t help enough to offset the decrease in attendance. Hidden in this year’s statistics was the fact that there were 848 more screens. That makes the 7.3% decrease even more devastating.
Films by ratings: G (4%), PG (15%), PG-13 (39%), R (41%). So, 58% of the movies were rated PG-13 or better. Here’s the catch, 9 of the top 10 movies were rated PG-13 or better. Only one movie "Wedding Crashers" (R rated) was in the top 10. This consistantly happens. The top grossing movies are PG-13 or better rated movies yet Hollywood continues to put out a disproportionate amount of R rated movies.
Of those top 10 movies 6 were remakes or sequels and 4 were original comedies. The next 20 top grossing movies actually generated 17% less box office than the same catagory for 2004. I think that says a lot for the overall decline in quality product from Hollywood.
Theatrical ticket sales generate less than 15% of studio revenues. Because of this the studios are talking of shortening the window between theatrical release and DVD sales. This year we will find several tests where theatrical releases for the movie and DVD sales will be the same day.
One last point. Theaters are now in the begining of a huge transition from 35mm film format to DVD projection. Carmike is the first major chain to make a committment to change over all their screens to DVD projection. Advantage to the studios – tremendous – 35mm film costs approximately $1500 per print (multiply that by 3,500 screens that a new release opening day = $525,000, compared to $5,000 for DVD copies). Advantage to theater, DVD projection format allows easy pre-show advertising, allows possible satilite programing for special events, sports, concerts etc., format provides consistant quality in presentation – film scratches and deteriorates over time.
My take on all this – Hollywood doesn’t listen to the public, they continue to produce movies they want to produce instead of providing more of what the movie goers want. (Yes, there is a place for the "artsy-fartsy" stuff, documentaries and the like). If Hollywood makes releases of new movies the same day in the theater and for DVD sales, they will kill the theater business. The theater owners continue to raise ticket prices and snack-bar making it too expensive for regular theater attendance. If they would lower their prices so you and a date could see a movie, have popcorn and sodas for less than $20 I think we’d see a change in the statistics…for the better.
I ramble….I wish Hollywood would produce more of what we want, at a price we could afford!