2011 had the lowest cinema attendance since 1997


A lot has been made of the fact that this summer has been one of Hollywood’s most financially rewarding ever, with no fewer than three movies globally hitting the magical billion dollar mark. Given how two of those movies were the distasteful Transformers: Dark Of The Moon and the even worse Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (the other, unsurprisingly, was Potter), that success was greeted with considerable dismay by discerning cinemagoers and great cheer by studios, who saw it as validation that their remake/reboot strategy was what the mainstream audience really wanted after all. Sucks to be you, creative integrity!

However, it turns out there might be another set of numbers worth taking notice of: whilst revenue climbed just a tiny amount, cinema attendance was actually down by 4%, with the number of tickets sold being the worst since 1997. How does that work? Well, there’s inflation for one thing, not to mention the hiked-up prices for 3D putting a bit of shine on some otherwise worrying reading for Hollywood.

If anything the remake/reboot strategy might not be as water-tight as it first appeared. Apart from the massive franchises like Pirates and Potter, the money tended to be more consistent in following strong word of mouth movies – producing unexpected hits like Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris – rather than every piece of adapted material going: Green Lantern looks set to be the year’s biggest flop, for example. So pat yourself on the back, audiences: you aren’t quite as brainless as Hollywood says you are.

[New York Times, via /Film. Header image from Filmhouse Cinema.]