Hollywood’s 2011 Movie Attendance Falls to Record Low

Friday, 30 Dec 2011 02:55 PM

By James Hirsen

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Hollywood film executives are wondering what happened in the entertainment industry as movie revenues and attendance hit record lows.

The total projected domestic gross for 2011 is $10.15 billion, which is down 4 percent from last year, according to Hollywood.com.

Of greater concern, though, is movie theater attendance, which has dropped 4.8 percent over last year. An estimated 1.275 billion tickets have been purchased in 2011, which is the thinnest audience level since 1995.

This year’s numbers indicate that for a second year in a row domestic attendance has significantly plummeted, and additionally, since 2002, the size of movie audiences has demonstrated a downward trend.

Entertainment executives have been on a roller coaster ride this year, with a fairly strong summer but a dismal fall and disappointing holiday season. The exception is Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol,” which is currently closing in on the $100 million mark.

Despite the slow year, 2011 franchise offerings fared very well. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" became the top-grossing film of the year, with $381 million domestically and $1.3 billion worldwide.

Similarly, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" roped in $352 million domestically and $1.1 billion worldwide, and "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1" took in $271 million domestically and $650 million worldwide.

Sequel fatigue may have been the reason for other franchise films hitting lower domestic box-office levels than their predecessors, which would include "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," "The Hangover Part II," "Kung Fu Panda 2," "Cars 2," and "X-Men: First Class."

Jeff Goldstein, general sales manager at Warner Bros., indicated to the Associated Press what the likely cause of downward trend may be, suggesting that “consumers are being more specific with their choices on how to spend their money. The options are a little greater than they were a few years ago with gaming and social-networking opportunities.”

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