As a movie lover, this scares me.
According to projections, domestic box office revenues for Jan. 1-Dec. 31 will reach roughly $10.2 billion, down 3.6 percent from the $10.58 billion collected in 2010.
That means an estimated 1.28 billion people went to the movies in 2011 — the lowest turnout since 1995, when 1.211 billion people showed up at their local theaters. Attendance reached an all-time high in 2002 (1.57 billion), according to the National Association of Theater Owners.
In terms of the year-over-year dip, attendance is down 4.4 percent from 2010, when 1.339 billion people went to the movies.
If there’s any solace to be found, it’s in the foreign box office, where the six major Hollywood studios have collected $13.53 billion in ticket sales this year — an all-time record, and up 6 percent to 8 percent over last year.
And the year-end holidays have brought some cheer in North America — Christmas theater traffic is up over last year, fueled by holiday tentpoles including Paramount’s Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol and Warner Bros.’ Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
I can only hope movie events like The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers can make 2012 much more successful than 2011.