Written by: FFT Webmaster | April 25th, 2011
John Fithian, President and CEO of The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) outlined the present state of the movie industry circa 2011. Fithian quoted Hitchcock to kick off his remarks “For me, the cinema is not a slice of life but a piece of cake”. He added “it remains a great time to be in the cinema business”.
Global box office receipts have climbed 30% over five years to a record high 31.8 billion dollars in 2010, and domestic box office has climbed 15% to 10.6 billion. The rate of inflation, by comparison, rose only 8% during the past five years. Compare that to other segments of the entertainment industry, such as home video, where sales have declined by 13% over the past five years.
But Fithian added “the first quarter of 2011 has been difficult. But that is a function of the movies in the market. Beginning in May, we expect those comps to improve substantially.” And the strength of the product exhibited during the week at CinemaCon (“Thor”, “Puss n’Boots”, “Conan the Barbarian”, “Hangover 2”etc.) looked impressive.
The digital revolution has exploded since a year ago. In the United States nearly 16,000 digital screens out of a total of 39,000. Almost 9,000 of those digital screens are equipped to project in 3D with thousands more to be added this year.
There are 34 3D movies scheduled in 2011 compared to 25 last year. And 3D grosses are driving the box office. In 2010, 3D grosses constituted 21% of total sales, double the number in 2009.
Finally, the demographics bode well for the future. Two population trends in the USA point toward sustained growth. First, the fastest growing part of our population, Hispanics, are the most avid movie-goers. There are 50 million Hispanics in the country today and they visit the theater nearly twice as often as other ethnicities. Also, the strong general birth rate in the USA means more young people who go to the movies a lot. Also the older segment of the population over 60 yrs, bought 11% of the movie tickets, compared to 3% in 1975.
Before I end this brief report I would be remiss if I did not mention the international marketplace> Box office last year outside the USA and Canada exceeded 20 billion dollars for the first time, and accounted for an amazing 67% of total global box office. The regions of Latin America and Asia/Pacific each grew by more than 20% in a single year. Those are numbers are stellar.