Industry News

The Inevitable Decline of Movies

23 May, 2024

Less is more. Except when it’s not. And in the current case of movies, it is most decidedly notThe film industry is shrinking—by revenue, volume, value and old fashioned chutzpah. The past poor decisions by major executives and the present market realities are creating an ecosystem with heightened risk for theatrical films, a declining number of buyers in the market, and an economic model that favors alternative mediums. That’s bad for business and audiences. Let’s pop a lexapro and take a closer look at how we arrived at this point of diminishing returns, what’s changing, who’s winning and what it means for everyone involved. As Blood, Sweat & Tears made famous, what goes up must indeed come down. From 1995 to 2009, the six major Hollywood studios—Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, Paramount (PARA), FOX (FOXA) and Sony—combined to release nearly 112 theatrical films per year on average. In the ensuing 14 years, excluding the phantom 2020, that number shrank to an average of just 83. The quiet demise of 20th Century Fox under Disney didn’t help. The five remaining big legacy studios still largely drive the box office and pop culture conversation and stand as Hollywood’s bellwethers of fortune. Yet their Jurassic Parkian T-Rex sized footprint is shrinking. Over the last 10 years, the number of theatrical movie tickets sold in the U.S. has dropped by 38 percent while the average ticket price has increased by 33 percent, per The Numbers. That means we are paying more for less wide-release studio product. 

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