A version of this story first appeared in the Jan. 23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Was 2014’s 5 percent slump in domestic box-office revenue an aberration or the start of a trend? A new PricewaterhouseCoopers survey reveals that about 25 percent of American consumers say they saw fewer movies in a theater in 2014 than they did in 2013, primarily due to rising costs. (In third-quarter 2014, the average ticket price was $8.08, up from $7.84 a year earlier, and theater chain AMC Entertainment reported concession revenue rose 10 percent to a record $4.29 a patron).
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“Despite advanced technology, better seating, improved concessions and the return of 3D movies, the negative of higher ticket prices is difficult to counteract,” conclude the authors of the PWC study. Respondents to the survey were supplied with 18 potential reasons for avoiding films in theaters and asked to choose their most relevant three. The results are the top 10 reasons consumers give for not heading to the movie theater more often.
No. 1 | 53%
Ticket prices are too high
No. 2 | 41%
Movies are not as interesting as they once were
No. 3 | 30%
Prefer movies “on my own schedule”
No. 4 | 29%
Prefer to spend money on other activities
No. 5 | 24%
Can see movies at home shortly after theatrical release
No. 6 | 19%
Prefer going out to dinner
No. 7 | 18%
Don’t have as much disposable income as a year ago
No. 8 | 16%
Decline in overall theater experience
No. 9 | 13%
Online content is equally entertaining
No. 10 | 10%
Too many people using phones and tablets in theaters