Reel Revs: Movie Ticket Sales Hold, Prices Rise

Movie ticket sales in North America in 2013 were virtually unchanged versus a year ago -- with admissions continuing to slowly erode, and average ticket prices edging up.

Theatrical revenues in the U.S. and Canada were $10.9 billion -- virtually flat from a year ago, when the total was $10.8 billion, according to the Motion Picture Association of America in its annual report.

Admissions continued to slip -- down 1% to 1.34 billion versus a year ago, when it was 1.36 million. Admissions were 1.5 billion in 2004. All this has boosted average ticket price: up 2% to $8.13 from $7.96 in 2012.

Theatrical revenues in the U.S. have been steady, but barely growing, over the last five years -- $10.6 billion (2009); $10.6 billion (2010); $10.2 billion (2011); $10.8 billion (2012); and $10.9 billion in 2013. Revenues from 3D movies remained virtually the same for the third year in a row -- at $1.8 billion.

But better news for major entertainment companies came from worldwide revenues -- which climbed 4% to reach $35.9 billion. MPAA members include Walt Disney, Paramount, Sony, 21th Century Fox, Universal Studios and Warner Bros.

Non-U.S. theatrical business is now 70% of all global box office business -- around $25 billion, up from $23.9 billion in 2012. Non-U.S. business has been steadily growing -- it represented 64% of all revenue in 2009.

The lackluster results can be partly attributed to the movie business making fewer big movies and focusing on bigger franchise films.  

Among the big studios that are MPAA members, there was an 11% drop to 84 movies from 94 in 2012. Eight years ago, bigger movie studios posted a recent high output, totaling 124 movies. When including non-MPAA member films, total 2013 releases, according to Rentrak, were down 3% to 659.
 
MPAA looked to show some connection with the new digital media world and theater-goers. Research shows that 74% of all frequent moviegoers -- those who attend movies once a month -- own at least four different types of technology-minded products, compared to 50% of the total population who own those products.
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The biggest demographic for frequent moviegoers are 25-39s, who represent 23% of all frequent moviegoers, followed by 18-24s, who represent 20%; and then 12-17s at 15%.

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