The After Effects of Blockbusters Part 1

Ever since the 1990’s, blockbusters have been a main focus for gaining big dollars for the movie industry. These movies have always been big spectacles based on pre existing material (novels, comics, sequels to existing franchises, etc.) (Ladika). The audience and Hollywood just devoured it. As the 2010’s started, domestic box office numbers have been declining as blockbusters been pandering to foreign markets. In the year of 2017, the domestic box office didn’t gain any momentum and was said to be the worst year for the movie business. Ticket sales for movie theaters have been on a downhill spiral since blockbuster movies increased in abundance. This all leads to ticket prices increase by each year. From this chart, there is a upward trend of inflated prices of tickets every year since the 1990’s.

The line graph shows the average price for U.S. movie theater tickets, from 1990 to 2018.
From CQ Researcher

Back in 1990, the average ticket price was only $4.00. 10 years later, the average was about $5.00 to $5.00. Now in the year of 2019, tickets average to $8.00 $9.11 with inflation. With increased ticket prices, movie theater attendance has only accounted for 12 percent of the whole United States of America (Ladika). With all these outcomes, there would not be a competitive component to add to the mix? Well here lies the movie industry facing competition from streaming services and television. Whenever a blockbuster is released, the budget would be in huge amounts of money financed into it by producers. With big budgets attached to these projects, the greater the return investment they gain back from the box office. However this has made a slump in financing movies that only have small to mid range budgets. This is where streaming services and television come in.

Image result for netflix and amazon prime
From UX Planet

The rise of Netflix and Amazon have now become a home for small to mid budget movies to be released. In return, these companies have released hundreds of independent movies and are hoping to create their own film studios (Ladika). According to John Ernst, “People are used to watching more than one screen at a time and it’s maddening. Also, streaming services and HD TV have made home viewing viable.  Even when going to local theaters it’s not unusual to find yourself with a very small audience, a very different experience from the heyday of motion pictures where you’d sit in darkness with hundreds of others sharing the same experience” (John Ernst). With streaming services available to multiple viewers who are sick of inflated ticket prices and bland movie blockbusters, they can now watch a variety of films in a more comfortable environment (at home). Cell phones are also an added feature for movie viewing, as one study explains, “Smartphones are helping to fuel the on-demand nature of movie-watching. Members of Generation Z — defined by Deloitte as those born between 1997 and 2003 — spend about 20 percent of their movie-watching on their phones, according to the Deloitte study” (Ladika). Does this mean the movie industry will no longer be releasing films in movie theaters, but only in streaming services?

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