Going to the Movies this Weekend?


How quaint. Sez here that ever fewer people are doing that sort of thing. "For 13 weekends in a row, box-office receipts have been down compared with a year ago, despite the blockbuster opening of the final 'Star Wars' movie. And movie executives are unsure whether the trend will end over the important Memorial Day weekend that officially begins the summer season."

But you knew that. Maybe you also knew that, "Last year Americans spent an average of 78 hours watching videos and DVD's, a 53 percent increase since 2000," and that "DVD sales and rentals soared 676.5 percent during the same period . . ." Internet time and video-game time are also way up.

Exhibitors insist that the movie biz is cyclical, and that there's no need to panic. That's true, but it's also true that movie attendance has been sliding for years, if you factor out the increasingly rare runaway blockbuster.

Given the alternative, exhibitors are actually hoping that their movies have been bad. "It is much more chilling if there is a cultural shift in people staying away from movies," says a guy in the exhibition biz. "Quality is a fixable problem."