Despite TV, cable, computers, DVD, cell phones, terrorism, blogs and yo mama, more people went to the movies this year than any since 1959:
- By some estimates, admissions could climb more than 10% over last year’s record levels, with folks flocking to theaters more than 1.5 billion times.
When the holiday season wraps with such major fare as “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,” “Chicago” and “Catch Me If You Can,” attendance is expected to hit levels not seen since 1959. Back then, admissions totaled 1.488 billion.
….Although Hollywood has released an enticing and diverse mix of hits this year — from the budget-straining “Spider-Man” to the low-priced “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” — there may be an undercurrent pushing consumers into theater seats: the lingering effects of 9/11.
“The real world is probably more terrifying than Americans have ever known,” said Armond Aserinsky, a Philadelphia-based clinical psychologist who uses movies as a tool to treat patients and train colleagues. “It’s the same kind of desire for escape we also saw during the Depression in the ’30s.”
Whatever’s driving the trend, no one is complaining. Studio revenues this year are expected to top $9 billion for the first time, and exhibitors are anticipating a future without the need for bankruptcy protection.
“If you’re looking for a year to come out of reorganization, it doesn’t get any better than this,” said Larry Gerbrandt, chief content officer for Kagen World Media. [LA Times]
Other than the obvious of having movies people want to see, the bigger lesson here is creating a unique experience.