Movie Business Had Worst Year Since 1995

According to figures published Thursday by Hollywood.com, 2011 is shaping up to be the worst year since 1995 for the motion picture industry. According to the website, the industry sold 1.28 billion individual movie tickets this year, generating just over $10.2 billion in box office revenue, down 3.5 percent from last year’s total, and the smallest earnings for Hollywood in 16 years.

Analysts cited the painfully slow recovery and an explosion of home entertainment options as the chief causes for the the downward trend in movie theater business, noting that its not likely a result of Hollywood producing titles, but rather a result of consumers being more cautious with the discretionary spending. According to recent moviegoer surveys, however, spiking ticket prices have also played a role.

Since 1995, the last time the film industry generated as small an amount in revenue as it will this year, ticket prices have surged more than 80 percent, jumping more than a dollar in just the last four years. In addition, online entertainment options like Netflix and Hulu have improved, and their popularity has increased to the extent that some Americans have simply stopped going to see films in theaters. For the year, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II” ranked as the highest-grossing film in 2011, bringing in more than $380 million in North America alone. Coming in second was “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” followed by “Twilight: Breaking Dawn.”

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