The drastic decline of moviegoers is a major concern for the film industry. It's quite shocking that so few people watch movies in theaters anymore. To put it in perspective, Jay Epstein mentioned that "in 1948, 65%, (90 million Americans) of the population watched movies compared to only 10 percent of today's population (30 million Americans)"(Epstein 1). The box office in 2005 has significantly declined in the third quarter by about 7% compared to 2004 and by about 10% in admissions (CNN Entertainment 1). Even though people still watched big budget films like Spiderman 2 and Star Wars, films don't seem to draw people into the theaters anymore.
The increase in movie ticket and concession prices turned many away from the cinema. The average cost of seeing a movie is about $6.31 compared to the cost of $.36 in 1948 or even the price of $4.35 in 1995 (NATO 1). With the rising cost of movie tickets, people start to wonder if the movie that they'd usually go see is really "worth the money to watch it." Naturally, the high price to see a movie creates even higher expectations of it. The cinema's "true money maker", concessions, tend to cost anywhere from $3-5 for soda or popcorn. Candy's not cheap either, usually costing about $2-3. The average profit of movie theaters like Regal Cinemas from concessions is about $2.45 (IBIS World 1). Basically every time you step into a movie theater, you're going to lose $9 so how many movies can you really afford to watch?
The rise of other sources of entertainment hasn't made it any easier for the movie industry. Theaters used to be one of the only sources of entertainment for people in the past, but the rise of computers, videogames, and the internet have also made it significantly harder for companies to keep people coming to theaters. Video gaming has become a multibillion dollar industry, taking away a big percentage of the teenage market that watches movies. Adding to the already competitive entertainment market is the invention of online music and peer-to-peer file sharing programs such as Napster, Limewire, and Itunes. The teenage market, which contributes a majority of the entertainment income, can use programs like Napster to download movies and games to entertain themselves at little or no cost, so paying $9 to watch a movie becomes even less attractive when you can "watch it for free."
It appears that the answer to the box office decline is rather simple. Couldn't the film industries make films cheaper, improve the quality of their movies to please the audience, and lower the ticket prices? The problem is that it's not really possible to meet any of those demands considering what it takes to make a film.
Some complaints about films are that they aren't of the same quality as the ones in the past. On a technical standpoint, there's no truth in this statement. During the onset of theater, films were simple $400 to $500 productions made by people in vaudeville to go along with acts. Even...