Roger Ebert Explains 2011’s Feeble Box Office Results

Dec 29, 2011  •  Post A Comment

Movie ticket sales in 2011 fell far short of 2010, according to media reports, and now veteran movie critic Roger Ebert is sounding off with his top theories on why it happened.

According to some reports, the movie audience in 2011 was the smallest since 1995. One of the main reasons, says Ebert, writing in the Chicago Sun-Times, is the absence of a must-see movie along the lines of an “Avatar” or “The Dark Knight.”

Another reason that’s high on Ebert’s list is high ticket prices, including higher prices for 3D. The initial charm of the new technology has worn off, says Ebert, and now the “hefty surcharge” is a significant factor for a family of four.

Then there’s the theater experience, which Ebert says has lost its appeal — especially for movie goers over 30, who are disturbed by “noisy fanboys and girls.” Cellphones and texting, the critic writes, are also ruining the experience.

Refreshment prices — not too well-concealed by the massive sizes of theater food and drink offerings — are another problem, says Ebert, adding: “Today’s bucket of popcorn would feed a thoroughbred.”

Competition from Internet streaming and from television sets with ever larger screens is also having an effect, Ebert writes, as is lack of choice in theatrical offerings. Films with the biggest marketing campaigns get the best distribution, he notes, making indie films, foreign movies and documentaries increasingly difficult to find.

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