Why people went back to the movies

Stacey Vanek Smith Mar 5, 2010
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Why people went back to the movies

Stacey Vanek Smith Mar 5, 2010
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Steve Chiotakis: Hollywood royalty walks the red carpet this weekend. The 82nd Academy Awards are Sunday. It’s been a big year for movies; attendance and revenues are on the rise, and that’s got theater owners spending. Marketplace’s Stacey Vanek-Smith has more.


Stacey Vanek-Smith: Last year, when almost every other industry saw sales plummet, movie theaters were hopping. Attendance grew 4.5 percent.

Jason Squire teaches film at USC. He says the recession played a roll, and so did the types of movies that were released.

Jason Squire: It’s a combination of escapism plus getting an unparalleled, unique experience.

Things like 3-D and Digital pictures. Squire says those technologies give people a reason to see a movie in the theater. Several major chains just unveiled a $660 million plan to convert screens across the country to digital.

Still, movie theaters are now very much a niche business, says Edward J. Epstein, author of The Hollywood Economist:

Edward J. Epstein: It won’t change the basic dynamics of the entertainment industry. And that is a dynamic where there is a niche audience of about 10 percent, give or take 1 percent who go to the theaters.

Everybody else? Watches those movies online, on Demand and on their phones.

I’m Stacey Vanek-Smith for Marketplace.

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