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On Monday, Moviefone wondered why audiences weren't going to the movies with the same frequency they were during the first three-quarters of 2011. After much discussion in the comments section and on our Facebook page, it looks like we have some answers. Ahead, five reasons why movie attendance has been down since mid-August.
Gallery | 5 Reasons Why You Aren't Going to the Movies
1. Better Home Equipment
One of the bigger selling points to the current 3D movement was that it gave audiences something they couldn't get at home. A good idea, in theory, but one that ignored a small issue: maybe what's at home is better than anything offered at the multiplex. Extra dimensions or not.
"I also refuse to pay for 3D now, period," wrote commenter Maureen Lucas. "Sadly, I noticed when watching 'Transformers 3' on Blu-ray last week that it looked better on my TV than [when I saw it in] non-3D movie theater." Ticket prices are high enough as it is without 3D, but paying for something that -- despite James Cameron's protests -- doesn't really offer anything special to the viewing experience is a turn-off. Especially with home entertainment centers becoming so technically advanced. Speaking of which...
2. The Video On Demand Window
Even without studios trying to close the window between theatrical release and home debut -- hello, 'Tower Heist'! -- most major releases hit DVD, Blu-ray and on-demand providers relatively quickly. "It's easy to wait and just rent the movie," wrote Jillian. She's right: cable subscribers can currently purchase 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon,' 'Bad Teacher,' 'Horrible Bosses,' 'Bridesmaids,' 'Green Lantern,' 'Fast Five' and even 'The Tree of Life' via on demand, three-to-five months after those films debuted in theaters. ('Dark of the Moon' is still out, albeit on less than 200 screens.) The way things are going, day-and-date release might be a reality by 2020. Which is great news if you don't want to trek out to the movie theater on a Saturday night, but bad news if you work at said movie theater.
3. Television Shows
As if better viewing equipment and sooner chances to watch movies wasn't enough of an incentive for audiences to stay home, there's television itself. "I prefer watching the quality dramas on HBO, AMC and FX, among others, to movies. With the majority of movies now geared to children or 15-24 year old boys, I don't have time or desire to sift through dozens of reviews to find a movie worth my time and money," Katherine M. wrote. "The quality TV dramas are thought-provoking, at the same time every week, and can be DVR'd or seen on demand. [...] Most great stories take more than two hours to tell, and so I love the mini-series and 13-week season formats of TV, where I get an in-depth story, but only have to sit for an hour at a time." It's hard to argue with someone who would rather stay home an watch 'Breaking Bad' than head to the theater to check out 'Footloose.'
The elephant in the room, as it were. With the economy in the tank and ticket prices growing -- with 3D ticket prices holding a special place of consumer outrage -- audiences are fed up. "LISTEN UP all you spoiled, overpaid sports figures, entertainers, producers and directors. While you all vacation in exotic locations and check your portfolios, may I point out that the Economy SUCKS," commented Gerry Ashley. "Many of us are out of work. We don't have an extra $50 to go to the movies (ticket plus refreshments)." Most on-demand rentals cost $4.99; DVDs and Blu-rays cost around $20 to purchase. Economically speaking, going to the movies makes less and less sense for people looking to keep costs down. It's a problem Hollywood can't really stop, especially...
5. Crappy Movies
...if they keep producing bad movies. "Hollywood is dumping garbage on us (in the form of sequels, prequels, remakes, reboots and franchises which we didn't ask for or even want, not to mention having 3D slapped on every movie in sight), calling it 'collective art' and expecting us to pay for it through exorbitantly high ticket and concession prices," wrote Stepahnie Freeman. Which might be the biggest sin of all. To paraphrase Robert Reich, "It's the movies, stupid." That doesn't necessarily mean audiences only see good movies (har!), but that audience-interest is almost more important than quality. You can get people out to the theater for 'Harry Potter' and 'Transformers'; you'll have a harder time getting them out for 'Green Lantern' and 'The Thing.' General audiences aren't perfect -- the customer is always right until the customer ignores a great film like 'Warrior' or a pretty-good one like 'The Ides of March' -- but they can still smell a dog (like the pictured 'Bucky Larson'). When they do, they'll stay away. In droves.
[Top photo: Getty]
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