US cinemas recorded their poorest ticket sales figures in a quarter of a century following a dismal year for Hollywood film studios.
Cinema admissions across North America fell 5.8 per cent last year to 1.24 billion, according to estimates from researcher Box Office Mojo. That was the lowest figure since 1992, when Home Alone 2, The Bodyguard and Basic Instinct were among the top attractions.
Revenue remained above $11bn (€9.1bn/£8.1bn) due to a 3.2 per cent rise in ticket prices, however it was still down compared to 2016.
The reasons for the drastic decrease are likely due to sequel fatigue, a weak lineup of films and diversions like Netflix. In addition, many moviegoers complained about the cost of concessions such as popcorn and drinks .
‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’, the highest grossing film of 2017, generated $533.1m by the year-end in the US.
“The industry should be concerned if the metric falls again in 2018,” said Geetha Ranganathan, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst. “Especially with a stronger film slate for this year, fewer moviegoers would be a warning sign that the industry may be in secular decline.”
According to Bloomberg Intelligence, better films should deliver better returns in 2018.
Theatre chains and major studios are also consolidating, as Cineworld Group this month agreed to buy Regal Entertainment Group, the second largest chain in the US, for $3.6bn.