Box office: The nightmare that never ends

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Pew Research just released a new poll today, and if you own or operate a movie theater, just skip up or down from here. Trust us. You don’t want to hear about it.

But if you’re interested in the cultural consumption habits of Americans, read on.
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The poll found that

“Three-quarters of all adults say they would prefer watching movies at home rather than in a theater, according to a Pew Research Center survey, up from 67% in 1994. The survey finds that more than seven-in-ten adults (71%) watch at least one movie a week, but the great bulk of this viewing occurs at home rather than in a theater.”

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While most news organizations will spin this as further evidence of the imminent demise of the theater-going experience, the way we see it is actually heartening: That’s because the interesting news here is not that people would rather stay home – it’s that that they’ve always preferred staying home – even before DVDs.

If I were the MPAA, I’d be trumpeting these statistics: “Despite the rise of a $33 billion dollar a year DVD industry, only 7 percent more people want to stay home to watch their movies than a decade ago!”

(As Benjamin Disraeli said, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and, of course, statistics.)