TIME reports that “Last summer’s blockbuster movie season was considered a bust, with the fewest movie tickets sold at theaters since 1997. Despite recent hits such as “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” by the time Labor Day rolls around, the summer of 2012 will fare even worse.”
TIME attributes this loss to the rising cost of tickets. While ticket prices may play a role, the average ticket price in the US in 2012 is $8.12. In 1995 it was $4.35.
Has $4 really created a barrier to keep audiences out of the theaters?
I haven’t seen as many movies this year as in previous years, but there is one primary reason why my attendance is down:
A decline in the quality of the movie-going experience
Patrons using cell phones during the film and bringing babies into the theater have created an untenable movie experience for me. While I am still willing to risk these two potential distractors in order to see a movie that I am excited about, I am far less likely to risk two hours of my life on on a less appealing movie if I’m concerned about being confronted by a person texting or talking in the middle of the movie or a baby sitting next to me.
It’s that simple. These inconsiderate idiots have ruined the movie-going experience for me.
I’ll also add that the lack of television viewing, combined with the fact that everything I watch is time-shifted, has also resulted in my complete lack of awareness over what is playing at the movie theater. There was a day when I would see a movie trailer on television and potentially become excited about the film. Today I only see movie trailers while watching sports, which is the only television program I watch that is not time shifted.
For me, the issue has less to do with cost and much more with the inconsiderate morons who I find myself sitting beside at an alarming rate. When movie theaters are ready to get serious about the actual movie-going experience by eliminating infants from the theater and finding ways to reduce cell phone use (I would not be opposed to the use of a cell phone jammer inside every movie theater), then I will return to the movies with the frequency that I once enjoyed.