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Film audiences lowest levels in a century, millennials just aren't going

Film audiences lowest levels in a century, millennials just aren't going

After a summer of disappointments with blockbusters like 'Alice Through the Looking Glass,' 'Warcraft,' 'The Legend of Tarzan,' and 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,' massively underperforming at the box office, things aren't looking too rosy for the movie industry. 

And despite its $120 million budget and box office promise, last weekend's opening of stalwart Spielberg's 'The BFG' only made $20 million at cinemas. This has left studios massively out-of-pocket in what is famously a precarious industry.

“The theatre business has weaker prospects going forward than at any time in the last 30 years,” comments media analyst Hal Vogel. “It’s encountering visible strain this summer. It’s a superhero, mega-blockbuster, tentpole strategy run amuck. There’s too much of it, and it’s not working.”

Ticket sales are down roughly 10% this summer, and that's even considering that rising ticket prices - largely due to 3D, Imax, and other premium formats - have enabled the industry to paper over a huge gulf in attendance. On a per-capita basis, the moviegoing audience is at its lowest levels in nearly a century. 

Worryingly enough for the future, the millennial audience of 18- to 39-year-olds has declined over the past five years, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.

“There are pockets of age groups and demographics that have not been inspired by what they’re seeing in movie theaters,” says Bud Mayo, president of Carmike Cinemas’ alternative programming and distribution division. “With social media, the reaction time is instantaneous. If kids don’t like it, word spreads.”

Worrying times.

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