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Want to Go to the Movies? No Thanks, I'm Too Busy with Facebook and My Xbox.

December 28, 2011, 12:59 PM

Did you go to the movies in 2011? Many hundreds of millions of people did, resulting in 1.26 billion tickets sold worldwide. And yet, this is the lowest amount of tickets sold since 1995, according to the box office tracker Hollywood.com. 

Part of the explanation for this drop is there was no Avatar this year. That extraordinary hit artificially inflated last year's numbers, temporarily obscuring what has been a consistent decline in ticket receipts. 

There are further explanations for this trend. Higher ticket prices is one. I woud also offer up Hollywood's annoying tendency to remake the same movies each year. Competing studios are going after the same audiences with a considerable lack of creativity: they offer the same plots, the same characters, and it is coming back to bite them. 

Imagine the déjà vu film audiences must have experienced if they watched both Friends with Benefits and No Strings Attached. In one film, Ashton Kutcher has sex with Natalie Portman with no strings attached. In the other film, Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis are friends with benefits. 

As Avatar proved, you don't need an original storyline to pack people into theaters. Just make it 3D!

Of course, studios copying each other is nothing new in Hollywood, and we have pointed out on Big Think that this happened in Shakespeare's time as well. However, Hollywood is going to have to do a lot more to reverse the trend of dwindling audiences if the industry hopes to compete with the many options that we all have in our own homes.  Make it a special and unique experience to go to the movies, and we might turn off our Apple TVs and show up. 

In the meantime, have fun watching these two trailers. Yes, the four main actors here may be the four most attractive humans on the planet, but do we really need both films?

Watch this one:

And now this one:

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter @Daniel Honan



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