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Movie Attendance Drops to 1997 Level; Case-Shiller Home Prices Rise; Last Hurrah for Housing

By Mike Shedlock on 08/31/2010 – 9:48 am PDTLeave a Comment

Movie attendance is down but increased prices made up the difference for now. Bloomberg reports Summer Movie Box-Office Attendance Falls to Lowest Since 1997

Summer movie attendance fell to the lowest level since 1997, while soaring ticket prices produced record revenue for Hollywood studios and theater owners.

The number of tickets sold from the first weekend of May through the U.S. Labor Day holiday is expected to drop 2.6 percent to 552 million, Box-Office said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. That would be the lowest attendance since summer moviegoers bought 540.3 million tickets in 1997.

“The movies just didn’t excite people the way they needed to,” Paul Dergarabedian, president of Box-Office, said in an interview. “When you raise prices and perceive that quality goes down, you have a major problem.”

Summer box-office revenue will rise 2.4 percent to a record $4.35 billion in the U.S. and Canada as higher prices more than make up for the lower attendance, estimates. The average ticket price will increase 5.1 percent to $7.88 from last year’s $7.50, the biggest gain since a 6.3 percent jump in 2000, said.

The price-conscious majority appears to be overwhelmed by the price-insensitive wealthy, at least for the time being. How much longer this lasts with cheap movie rentals and another downturn in the economy remains to be seen

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Tags: bloomberg reports, last hurrah, paul dergarabedian

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