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"Avatar", heading the most lucrative Christmas season in Hollywood history, has already passed the $1 billion mark in worldwide box office receipts.

Flipping an established formula on its head, 2009 marked the first time in seven years that consumers spent more money at the box office than on movies to add to their home libraries. Adams Media Research is reporting that Americans spent $9.87 billion on movie tickets last year, while spending on movies on disc (DVDs and BDs) dropped to $8.73 billion.

This is bad news for Hollywood studios, who have become increasingly reliant on home entertainment sell-through to subsidize the escalating cost of producing and marketing films. While rentals are up for the year, they are not nearly as profitable for the studios as disc sales.

Says Tom Adams, president of Adams Media:

“Consumers are still in love with movies. . . In this environment, however, they’re seeking the biggest bang for their bucks.”

Hollywood has taken note of this alarming trend and is making efforts to supplement its box office income with alternative home entertainment revenue options. Blu-ray discs, which are more profitable for studios than DVDs, are being heavily promoted, along with rentals through internet-enabled TVs and set-top boxes, which are also more profitable than physical rentals. Several major studios have also famously tried to keep their new releases out of Redbox kiosks to encourage consumers to purchase the films instead.

Insiders, did you find yourself going to the movies more in 2009 than in years past? Do you think this trend of bigger box office takes and smaller disc sales is here to stay?

[via The Wall Street Journal]

6 Responses to “Consumers Spent More on Movie Tickets than Home Entertainment in ’09”

  1. Member [Join Now]

    I didn’t go to the movies one time in 2009. Why pay $10+ bucks to see a movie when I can wait 4 months for the DVD at my local Redbox for $1.07?

  2. Administrator
    Michael [administrator]

    Just as a note, I also did not attend a movie in 2009, at least that I can recall. And if I did, it was definitely not more than once.

    Of course, that has more to do with the fact that I have young kids and getting out for a movie isn’t too easy to do! :)

  3. Member [Join Now]
    Doug [mouthsmasher-2]

    The town here where I live has a theater that runs films a month or two after their release for about $2-3, depending on the day. We see probably around 8-10 movies a year there. If it weren’t for the cheap theater, we probably would never see a movie in the theaters. However, I did see Avatar in 3D at a normal priced theater, but that was only because my father-in-law took us.

    Avatar in 3D also reminds me of another shameless strategy taken up by the movie industry:

    I’ve noticed at my local theaters that when you go to see a movie in 3D, you pay an extra $2-4 for the stupid 3D glasses. Since you paid for them, you get to keep them, but when you go back to see another 3D movie, there’s no option to NOT re-buy them. On top of that, they shamelessly have the audacity to ask you to “recycle” the glasses you just bought back to them after the show so they can re-gouge someone else with them. Has anyone else noticed this??

    If I go back to see another 3D movie, I’m buying a ticket to the normal showing, but will head into the 3D screen room with my already purchased glasses.

  4. Visitor [Join Now]
    Casey4147 [visitor]

    Too expensive – well north of $50 for a family of four to go see a movie. Last one we all went to see was NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM II, and after admission and concessions (for what is a movie without a big tub of popcorn and some soda?) the bill was just under sixty bucks. My wife and I snuck out to see STAR TREK while the kids were at school. I have no problem dropping $15-$20 on a new release DVD – there’s very little out there that I want to spend more to see.

  5. Visitor [Join Now]
    MovieBuff [visitor]

    I took my son to see Avatar and offered to take my wife later so I could see it again. I’ve been disappointed with the increasing lack of quality of movies. Other than maybe 3 movies a year, you won’t find me at the theater. A few that I really like I may buy, but the rest are all rentals. And if the studio holds out and won’t let me rent it at Redbox, it probably wasn’t worth watching in the first place, and I won’t.