Two Thumbs Up? The Movies are the Latest Victim of the Internet (STUDY)

thumbsupshirtBeen to the movies lately? The nice seats, the big screen, the sweet sound system — it’s all part of the experience.

You know what else is part of said “experience”? The $12 ticket, $8 coke (with no refills, thank you very much), $5 (half-full) box of Starburst…sounds about right.

That’s not the worst part, though:

You find that one seat for yourself and your crew  nestled in the upper left part of the theater. As you prop your feet up and wait for the festivities to begin, a family of eight decides that is where they want to sit too.

Soon, all of these first world problems will be things of the past because Internet.

It is no secret that the web has killed many a decent thing we once took for granted–primarily watching live TV and actually paying to read the news. The downfall of those bits of American folklore has been sad to watch but great in terms of general convenience, etc.

BUT: based on data from the new PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) global entertainment and media outlook study, the downfall of the theater may be on the way. The news has this double-feature, eat-and-enjoy guy torn.


See that barely moving blue stream? That’s revenue at the box office. And that scorching up the charts black stream? Internet (e.g., on-demand, second screen apps, <insert your movie-viewing app on Roku here>).

Doomsday for movies, according to PWC, will be in 2018. That’s when people will finally get tired of the overpriced, people-that-won’t-find-their-own-place-to-sit, have-to-smuggle-a-can-of-Coke movie experience. Who will lead the charge? ‘Millennials’, of course.

The number of frequent moviegoers in the all-important 18-24 age group plunged an unprecedented 21% in 2013, according to MPAA annual statistics released Tuesday at Cinemacon, while attendance in the 12-17 age bracket also saw a precipitous drop off, falling almost 15%.

Frequent filmgoers from 12-24 are likely spending much of their previous moviegoing time watching a variety of other screens.

oatmeal moviesNow, before people in the movie business break out that violin, they are still set to make north of $11 billion per year. Still, the very definition of the phrase “movie experience” is changing–and fast.

Keeping up with that change are brands like Movie Tavern that provide an entirely different dining and watching experience. Studio Movie Grill does it too, and even AMC has caught up with the Joneses (in certain theaters only).

However, this study shows that the competition will not let up anytime soon.

Netflix alone is set to make $10 billion in 2018 — the year of alleged theatrical Armageddon. Where’s the rest of the revenue going? iTunes, Google Play, and anything on Roku.

Can old-school sticky-floor theaters compete with the experience of breaking out the Spider-Man footie pajamas, curling up with Netflix, and making it a DiGiorno night? If this graph from The Oatmeal is any indication, probably not–but people like me still hope for the best.

Now, if only the brands that make their livings on the theaters could work on those prices, we might become “advocates” ourselves.