TV, Film, and Entertainment News Daily

What Was Wrong With 2010’s Movies?

This year looks set to be the first in four years not to break records in terms of box office receipts, despite price hikes for IMAX and 3D movies. How did this happen – and what can be done to make sure it doesn’t happen again next year?

According to the Hollywood Reporter, this year’s box office take is currently estimated to be 3% down on last year – the first fall for four years, despite tickets costing on average 4.7% more than they did in 2009. Obviously, that means that less people are going to the movies this year, but why?

It’s an especially curious idea, given that this was the year when movies in theaters moved more towards an experience that – as yet – can’t be replicated at home: a record number of releases were in 3D, and those tentpole movies that weren’t, were in IMAX. While smaller movies (That is to say, everything that doesn’t fancy itself as a blockbuster, summer or holiday) can pretty much offer a similar viewing experience on DVD, BluRay or the theater, more and more large-scale movies tried to offer a theater-going “experience” that made the movie – and seeing the movie in a theater as an “event.”

Is it just that this year’s crop of movies didn’t hit a chord with audiences? I can see that argument, to an extent – 2010 didn’t have an Avatar (A movie that single-handedly rescued last year from breaking the run of box office record years) or a Dark Knight, and the summer felt curiously quiet in terms of runaway hits, or even original material (Look at the top 10 for the year: Only Inception, Despicable Me and How To Train Your Dragon stand out as non-remakes or sequels). It’s been a year, it seems, of disappointment, whether it’s films flopping (The Last Airbender, Prince of Persia, The A Team, just to name three blockbusters that failed to bust blocks), disappointing in terms of quality (Those three examples again, but feel free to add Iron Man 2 and Clash of The Titans to that list, too) or just plain not getting the recognition they deserved (Both were critically acclaimed, I know, but I still feel like Scott Pilgrim and The Social Network should’ve been much, much bigger than they were).

With the exception of Iron Man and Harry Potter, it also felt like a year when the mega-franchises took a break. Next year already feels very different – if anything, too crowded – with the likes of a new Transformers, two new Marvel superhero movies (and X-Men: First Class!), Green Lantern, Cowboys and Aliens and the final Harry Potter all fighting for attention during the summer, but this year seemed like a weird gap year; it may have been necessary, but it definitely felt oddly… empty.

But I’ll put it to you, instead: Why are fewer people going to the cinema this year? And do you think it’s something that will change in 2011? Feel free to leave thoughts and theories in the comments, as ever.


  • Sept_28_2003

    Iron man 2 disappointing? Damn, you are one funny comedian. Wait…you were serious? Oh dear…

  • John

    3D. That was easy.

  • TheLoneCreature

    There definitley wasn’t enough movies out there this year that grabbed my attention, although the movies I did see, I liked: ‘Kick Ass, IM 2, Scott Pilgrim, Inception Toy Story 3 (OBVIOUSLY!)

  • Wcburns

    I’d say it’s BECAUSE movie prices have gone up that people are going less. I mean, there’s something to be said about the fact that more people went to the cinema when it was considerably cheaper.
    And I don’t just mean as a result of expected inflated currencies, the cost of going to the movies has gone up literally by hundreds of percent points over the last couple decades alone. I’m usually pretty selective now about what if any movies I go to the theatre for anymore.

  • Anonymous

    UM …

    A. It’s the economy silly?
    B. Ticket prices were hiked?
    C. Bad decisions by creators and producers in judging what audiences would find interesting/engaging?
    D. All of the above?

  • WWest3001

    People aren’t willing to pay for quality movies, so they don’t get them. Why doesn’t my cinema have “fill in name of indie movie here”? Because no one else wants to get off there butt and pay $10 unless it’s a spectacle anymore.

  • Anonymous

    Either get rid of 3D or make it actual 3D. despite what the movie industry may think, people are not stupid and they will not pay more money for a crappier movie quality (or not what is being advertised) I have actually taken a stance against fake 3D and don’t plan on seeing any movie in that format and i’m sure other people have done the same or can’t pay the extra money. I used to see any movie that looked like fun, but now I only see ‘must sees’ and the last movie i saw in theaters was Toy Story 3. The movie industry thinks they pulled a fast one on people, but all they’re really doing is making it easier to say ‘eh, i’ll watch it on dvd.’ With Red Box and on demand taking up a significant share of the market, theaters should be keeping their prices low, not raising them over false promises. I’ve thought this since they first introduced ‘3D’ that they are ruining their own business and need to pull back before they destroy the market

  • Mordalo

    It’s not just 3D. It’s having to pay an extra couple bucks (at least) for the glasses for 3D movies. And then you’re supposed to turn in the glasses when the movie’s over? Rip-off.

  • Drone


  • darkknight

    Costs too much. And movies that people want to see, like Buried and Black Swan, don’t have wide enough releases.

  • Ian Explosivo

    I don’t care about this topic.

  • IronManThing

    At my AMC, really the only chain theaters in the Midwest, all movies are five dollars during the week for any movie. I can hold out on opening weekend and spend half the price on Monday or any other day of the week that is convenient for me. I refuse to pay 10 to 12 dollars for a movie.

  • fromMarkHall

    My theory:movies and tv are no longer separate mediums; even more so now with 3D television (I’ve had one for over two years!) What’s needed is BETTER MOVIES. And FEWER sequels. Maybe lots of people ran out to see Toy Story 3, Alice In Wonderland, How To Train Your Dragon, and Inception–but I’d be even more compelled to stay home if they’d release them to home viewing same day as they’re released in theaters.

  • JAlexander

    As a bit of a movie snob I found this years movies very disappointing. No great word of mouth.

    I feel that if the movies were great, then box office would have been a lot better. Inception, Dragon, and Harry Potter excluded the big blockbuster movies were lackluster.

    In my opinion the best movies based on comics were Scott Pilgrim and Red.

    Hopefully 2011 will be better

  • Jedigraz

    Bad Economy? Anyone? Anyone?

  • Mhxander

    Couple reasons:
    1. Economy. It’s just like the government is seeing right now. They did a stimulus, and everyone paid off their debt, instead of buying stuff. It’s the right thing to do, but it didn’t really help the economy.
    2. Poor quality movies. While there were some rather good ones(Inception, HP7, IM2, etc.), the bulk of the movies were over-hyped, or were badly-made sequels that were only made to make money.
    3. Too much 3D. Because of every other movie being in 3D, and the increased price, even people that weren’t really following a budget could only see two movies now, for the price they could see 3 before. I think they’re overdoing 3D. Avatar was made to be 3D. I saw Alice in Wonderland, and regretted paying the extra money for 3D. I think there needs to be a separation. Some movies should be made in 3D. Some are great just the way they are. And don’t go and make the last movie in a series 3D, while the rest weren’t(::cough:: Harry Potter ::cough::)

  • Pooper

    Ok, im not going to bust your balls much because i know this is mostly opinion based..but Iron Man 2? really? I think your going to find a lot of debate if your going to lump it in with the stinkers.

  • Dave

    Cost to go to movie with a date – $25.00
    Cost of popcorn and drinks with date – $20.00
    Cost of parking to get to movie theater for 3 hours – $15.00
    Cost to download movie on torrents before movie shows up on theater – $0.00

  • Dandoruinn

    Definitely too much 3D. The first movie I saw in 3D was Clash of Titans. And now I definitely think 3D should be for a select few. This turns me off to seeing any movie in 3D because I’ll be disappointed (well, Titans was disappointing anyway, 3D or not).

    I also think that many theaters are being infiltrated by bedbugs. The Cincinnati area is horrible and many theaters in the area have them, but bedbugs have been heavy in Cincy for a few years now.

    Movies are also coming out faster onto DVD. With many more home theaters, better quality TVs and DVDs and people renting from Netflix and such, it’s much less expensive to do that.

    I had to see Kick-Ass and Scott Pilgrim immediately, and I’m glad I did, but I didn’t see any of the Kristen Bell or Betty White films in the theater, and I see everything by them. I fully planned on seeing You Again, but it just didn’t happen.

    Overall, I think this year lacked the blockbusters of previous years.

    Like MarkHall said, TV and movies are not so different anymore. It seems every TV show is like a continuing movie, which is awesome. But my problem is that I now watch more TV than I ever have because there is a lot of good TV. I read much less now, and my academia and writing careers are slipping away.

  • Ollywood38

    i’ve pretty much decided to boycott 3d movies, to be fair the only one i saw was alice in wonderland and that movie sucked without the retrofit 3d crappiness. it’s a nnoying having to wear those dumb glasses on top of my actual glasses, if a film only comes out in 3d then i’ll wait for dvd/bluray.

    just out of interest, how much is a ticket to a 3d movie in the states? i just looked on the website for my local odeon cinema here in england and it says a 3d ticket is about £11 which is just over $17.

  • Leewan17

    Even in bad economy’s movies typically do well and sometimes better because of an escapist mentality, but some theaters forcing me to watch movies in 3d that were obviously not shot in 3d really turned me off. Why pay money for something that hurts my eyes. Avatar and Jackass, believe it or not, are the only movies were 3d looked good. Film execs and theater owners looking to make a quick buck will hurt long term viability of 3d.

    Also not as many great movies. Compared to past movies.

  • Knightmare10880

    The correct answer is D, all of those reasons along with the fact that with modern technology HD TV’s and a majority of DVD and Blu-Ray players have made the home experience so much more enjoyable, also with the at home experience you don’t have to worry about tickets being sold out, rowdy crowds that keep acting up during the movie and the expensive price of Popcorn and soda as well.

  • Azriel

    It’s a myriad of problems right now honestly. The main culprit would have to be the economy, people who have the money to go to movies are using that money to save up and pay off bills right now, plain and simple. There’s also the fact that, at least in my personal opinion, people are tired of being told that they have to see every movie in 3D, it’s just not catching on and costs way too much to see (I’ve only seen Avatar in 3D and honestly I enjoy it better at home on blu in 2D). I also think that there just aren’t that many must see movies out there right now, the quality of movies these days are horrible, too much cgi-filled lifeless movies (The Last Airbender anyone?) and sequels and remakes. I won’t get too much into the Iron Man 2 debate other than to say I enjoy both films, but the first one is by far the best, but think 2 is a lot of fun and very enjoyable. But then again, I’m the target audience for that movie and I enjoyed all the set up to the Avengers movie (though I could understand how that was probably too much for the casual audience!).

  • Fdfhieda

    Price. The theater I go to has a Buy one Get one Free special on Tuesdays. Also, if you buy a large popcorn it comes with a coupon for a free refill. Me and my girlfriend bring in 2 bottles of water. Parking is free at the mall. But much cheaper than going on opening night, buying a popcorn/soda combo, and dealing with crowded theaters.

  • Sekhem

    The obvious answer is the economy. Movies are expensive compared to other forms of entertainment. With so many people unemployed or with diminished wages and housing values, people are more cautious with what they spend money on. I honestly would have expected revenues to be even lower.

    The other issue is convenience. If one is willing to wait a few months, instead of dealing with going out in traffic, waiting in line, and then having to deal with all the inconveniences of a theater, one can just wait a few months, maybe a year, and see the movie at home via a streaming service (Netflix, Zune, etc.) or buy the DVD to watch as many times as they want (with as many people as they want).

    As for the “theater experience” of 3D or Imax drawing people out. . .maybe not so much. I don’t think those are the draws that movie studios and theaters think they are.

  • Akirajak

    its being too fucking expensive

  • William Hodge

    Here’s my reason why the year was down. I took my family to see Harry Potter. 4 of us. Total bill $90.

  • Autobot73

    Didn’t you answer this in your article? There was no must see blockbuster (a la Dark Knight or Avatar). That plus a bad economy equals disappointing year. The other arguments (movies too expensive, quality of movies slipping, lack of originality… etc.) have been spouted off since I can remember.

  • Anon

    I keep seeing the economy written here but past economic history says it runs deeper. People are continuing to buy high ticket items. Apple’s sales continue to be up and video companies sales are on the rise and continued to increase prior to new technologies that were released.

    CNBC and fox business noted during the summer that in previous recessions the movie industry continued to do well.

    Not saying the economy isn’t part of the problem, but there are factors involved that go deeper. Forcing people to watch inferior 3D versions, thus turning them off of even wanting to see the well done 3d movies is one problem I’ve seen.

  • Cforshaw67220

    Well, the reason why people are going to the cinema less is:

    (a) We are in a global recession.


    (b) Cinema is competing with consoles, television, books, apps, and a whole bunch of other stuff, too.

    But, can I ask, what gives you hope for 2011? ‘Transformers 3: Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon’ sounds as bad as the two previous films, but without the one reason most grown men went to see it as Megan Fox has opted out; ‘Green Lantern’ looks terrible off the one trailer I have seen so far; I found the ‘Thor’ trailer underwhelming; ‘X-Men: First Class’ is an unknown quantity, but nothing I have heard about it has made me jump up and down and clap my hands with glee; ‘Cowboys and Aliens’ looks boring; ‘The Thing’ prequel is pointless; ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ was four-hundred pages of camping and moaning too long, so I’m not giving them twice the money I would have normally spent on watching a bunch of talented actors wasted by poor directing; ‘Sucker Punch’ has been made by one of the least talented music-video-directors I have ever seen; ‘Pirates of the Carribean’ out-stayed its welcome when it decided to hang a kid at the start of part three; ‘The Hangover’ was mirthless rot that I was convinced people only found funny because they were told that the film was funny; ‘Captain America’ will probably be another in the long-line of films that claims white Americans won the second world war on their own; and, oh yes, Paul Well Sh*t Anderson’s version of ‘The Three Musketeers’.

    In fact, the really interesting films seem to be ignored: ‘Tintin’, Brad Bird’s live action debut with ‘Mission:Impossible: Ghost Protocol’, ‘Super 8′, ‘The Muppets’, ‘Dream House’, ‘Spy Kids 4′ (complete with Machete!), ‘Scream 4′, ‘Winnie the Pooh’, ‘The Tree of Life’, and ‘Source Code’. Even then, most of these are sequel, remakes or adaptations… :-(

  • Cforshaw67220

    What? You liked going to see an action movie with only two action scenes in it, one of which was shown repeatedly in the trailers and promos? It was boring, too long, and goes down as yet another movie to waste Sam Rockwell.

  • Cforshaw67220

    ‘Monsters’, ‘REC 2′, ‘I Saw the Devil’ <— all top films from this year, although nothing on 2009's triumverate of 'Let the Right One In', 'In the Loop', and 'Anvil: The Story of Anvil'.

  • Cforshaw67220

    3D is used as an anti-piracy measure, and so they can charge people more – it has nothing to do with presenting you with quality. Once you’ve bought the ticket, they really couldn’t care less about whether or not you enjoy what you’ve paid to see.

  • Cforshaw67220

    Also, there weren’t enough films with either Billy Zane or Bruce Campbell in them.

  • Deanslist

    For me, it’s the 3D. When given the option, I chose the 2D version. The 3D gimmick is just that. There are several movies I might be willing to see now, but it’s not worth it to me to pay more than $5 or $6 to see ANY movie, and there’s no way in hell I’m buying theater popcorn and drinks.

    For few movies I went to see this year, I bought a DVD at Best Buy that had movie cash and then went.

    Theaters and studios need to do one of several things:
    -lower prices (brings in more people which in turn help concession sales)
    -include the 3D glasses for free
    -stop marketing 3D movies that aren’t 3D from the beginning
    -offer package pricing for tickets (not selling “movie cash”, but sell me FULL VALUE tickets good at any time if I pay in advance or buy in bulk)

  • oy

    Didn’t see much this year as nothing really looked that interesting. Iron Man 2 was seen more outta loyalty to being a comic book fan for over 30 years. Inception was something my girlfriend wanted to see as well as For Colored Girls and Salt. The only great flick i saw that was worth paying for was Avatar. That pretty much sums up my movie watching at the theaters for 2010.

    Also, who can afford a $9.00 ticket when most movies are out on DVD in a few months. It’s just too damn expensive to see a flick in the movie

  • Sijo

    No offense, but- do movies HAVE to break records every year? Don’t they make enough money already? Isn’t that getting used to an impossibly high standard? Maybe this was just an average year, no reason to panic over it.

  • Kirbylee70

    So many reasons (and this from a movie fan and ex-theater manager)…
    1) The price…way too much during bad economic times
    2) 3-D…who cares? Its a novelty that has worn thing twice before and this time around offers nothing extra…if the movie sucks what difference does it make if its coming at ya!
    3) Theaters themselves…what plus is there to sitting in a theater with a group of gaggling friends, kids who find it funny to comment out loud at the film or a theater packed to the gills with people in small seats too close together?
    4) The movies have been disappointing…why pay that extra money to see a lackluster film when within months you can see it on dvd? And the hype surrounding almost every movie made is ridiculous.
    5) The speed with which these movies arrive on dvd…yes, within months they arrive…and many times their arrival dates are posted the same week they come out in theaters!
    6) Too many screens offering too little…when an 18 screen complex is showing only 6 movies and the small films are ignored why bother? A movie used to have “legs” meaning it would stick around if good. STAR WARS (the first one) played in Indianapolis in one theater for well over a year! These days they’d be lucky for a month.
    7) Concessions…who wants to pay $!5 for a bucket of popcorn and a Coke that perhaps has a cost of .50 tied up in it?

    All in all the reasons to wait to watch a film at home outweigh going out. Personally I feel sorry for teens trying to date these days. How can they afford to go to movies now when to do so costs them a week’s paycheck?

  • Thom Vane

    Exactly. I’m not spending $50+ on a couple hours entertainment. (Two tickets, two lots of overpriced popcorn and premix). I’d rather spend that money towards going out for drinks, or a decent restaurant. In a few months time I can own the film on DVD for a fraction of the cost.

  • DanAR

    To hell with spending all of that coin on a movie. It’s almost 2011, I can enjoy a movie at home (or at a friend’s place) for a fraction of the price with the advent of modern technology and not have to deal with idiots at the theater.

    Just do the math. $20 just for tickets alone for myself and my wife ($40 if I bring the kids along), add in concetions and gas, and it’s almost $70-80. Sod that, I’ll wait til it comes out on Blu-ray or DVD.

  • Vpelletier

    Going to the theater is too expensive! I spend $50 for a couple of tickets, popcorn, and soda.

    If I wait a couple of months I can buy the film for $20 on DVD, and supply my own popcorn and soda.

  • Batman732732

    Two main reasons for not going to the movies: (1) lack of disposable income and (2) movie ticks cost as much as buying the DVD. A 3D movie costs 16 dollars a ticket while I can own it on DVD for 17.99 or get it from red box for a dollar.

  • Raphael Barros

    Please… Stop those damn annoying 3D movies =/

  • ghettojourno

    According to BoxOfficeMojo, 2008 was slightly down from 2007, so it’s not the first time 4 years an up year has been followed by a down year. As of now, there have been fewer films released this year than 09. Even considering projected releases for the last weeks of the year, there will still be fewer films released this than last year. Yearly box office totals don’t stop at tickets sold within the calendar year; they include sales in the following year for films released before Jan.1. Considering another 15 films will be released this year (more limited releases than wide) and the upcoming wider releases of films for the Oscar season, the current $695.8 million gap between yearly totals will shrink.

    When all the numbers come in, 2010 will have been only the second time ever that the totals have crossed $10 billion domestically. The story of the totals not continuing to increase considering another average price increase is relevant and will be reflected to some extent in 2011, but for me there is another story. Even if it’s by 10 films, this looks to be the second consecutive year of declining film releases. I will pay attention to both ongoing stories, but reduced film releases will be my primary concern.

  • ghettojourno

    correction: 3rd consecutive year of declining film releases. 2007-631, 2008-607, 2009-521, 2010-510(estimate)

  • Crjansson

    I haven’t seen a movie in a theater since two Harry Potters ago. And that was a date that ended up costing $42.00. We could have gone to a decent restaurant for that price, and enjoyed ourselves much more. I can’t think of any movie in years that is worth that much money, much less dealing with the sticky floors, cellphone and baby interruptions, commercials, etc. I’d rather kick back with a few friends, a few beers, and a flat screen with a decent sound system. I just don’t enjoy the “theater experience” I guess.

  • Rashaun Jackson

    Here are few reasons:

    1) 3D. Add up what everyone else said.
    2) Economy & Pricing
    3) Bedbugs. When the report of bedbugs in theaters in NYC hit, people would stop going.
    4) Crap Movies.
    5) Home theater systems. If are going to spend a lot of money on a home system, wouldn’t you wait for a good movie to come out on Blu-Ray to show it off.

  • Rashaun Jackson

    Here are few reasons:

    1) 3D. Add up what everyone else said.
    2) Economy & Pricing
    3) Bedbugs. When the report of bedbugs in theaters in NYC hit, people stopped going.
    4) Crap Movies.
    5) Home theater systems. If you are going to spend a lot of money on a home system, wouldn’t you wait for a good movie to come out on Blu-Ray to show it off.

  • ingenuus

    was it supposed to be an action movie? aside from the fact that this goes against the genre in marvels reinvigoration of their adaptations, i remember seeing favreau say over and over again that he wanted it to be a character driven movie about relationships. i guess that means action to some people =/

  • William Brennan1

    It’s true, the economy in alot of countries are in the toilet, the film industry just didn’t preform (for the most part) well, and the ticket prices have increased (along with 3D price increase). This is what happened.
    But the problem with this is that these are issues that won’t change. The economy is going to need time to get into a better state. Hollywood isn’t as creative as it used to be. Film companies don’t care, they will never realistically lower prices (if anything the prices will be increased due to the downturn). It’s awful but that’s the world we live in.

  • Jaded Devil

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t some of the movies that came out this year the ones that were affected by the writer’s strike of 2008? So they had to go in front of the cameras before the cutoff date? I seem to recall the A-Team (which I enjoyed) getting a greenlight right before the strike hit. I wouldn’t be surprised if something like Prince of Persia and Sorcerer’s Apprentice were the same way.

  • Paperwarrior99

    Studios are making terrible movies and advertising them as THE GREATEST THING EVER! I took my family to see ‘the Last Airbender’ and later ‘the Princess and the Frog’ these were garbage. My kids, wife, and I were bored and I spent a small fortune.

    If the studios tries to make good movies instead of just trying to take my money we would go back to the theatre. I’d rather take my kids to the park for free, they’ll have more fun and I won’t feel like I just got robbed.

  • Mikesteinberg

    The answer to why was 2010 so bad is simple to me. Most of the movies that came out were concepts I’ve seen before and didn’t earn my money or simply the movies sucked. Looking at the top 20 list of films this year, most of them just aren’t very good movies.

  • Powerbomb1411

    3D is my answer. I’ve paid to see all three Toy Story’s and Avatar all in 3D and the 3D technology just isn’t here yet. It’s just a gimick at this point. So now I am refusing to see any more films in 3D which can hurt the results. If the movie is good enough I’ll see it three times, but if it’s in 3D I won’t see it a single time. I skipped Jackass and Saw this year. I might not be able to see Tron for the same reason and we’ll see if we get 2D prints of Thor, Captain America, Green Lantern & Transformers.

  • Drfunkphd

    The look on your face as the FBI kicks your door in and arrests you— Priceless

  • Allen

    I thought this year was one of the best years in recent memory as far as film quality. Oh no we are down 3% on money made. Maybe it is because no one wants to spend $20 to see a movie that was sloppily made into 3D? *shrugs*

    All I know is that besides the Expendables, every movie I saw in theaters was quite good, with Inception, Toy Story 3, and Scott Pilgrim being my favorites of the year. Compare that to last year where I saw maybe one movie in theaters that I enjoyed, I will not complain one bit. To top it all off there is still True Grit left to finish off the year!

  • Cfrosch1

    Too damn expensive. Instead of continuing to boost the prices of admission & concessions, theaters need to look for ways to lower them.

  • Digger2307

    prices! prices! prices! – lower the prices even a little and more people will feel they are paying less to go to the cinema and dont feel like they have to rape there bank account to take their partner out. 3D movies aswell, yeah its a fun fad but get over it, only so many people are gonna pay to constantly watch blurry images.

    solution – lower prices, less 3d movies… hear the peoples roar as they face the machine!!!

  • Cforshaw67220

    Who goes to see a film advertised as being about a guy in a technologically advanced suit of armor that can fly, shoot things, and cause big explosions, and then expects them to have next to no action in it? I’m not saying that having more depth to the characters and their relationships wouldn’t be a good thing, but generally, they didn’t advance a lot with that either.

  • Jemurr

    Some movies lost a year because of the writers strike. I think Thor might have come out this year if it hadn’t been for the writers strike. 2012 on the other hand is going to be huge. Sequels to Men in Black, Star Trek, Batman, new Spiderman, not to mention Avengers! Plus a new Wolverine and Superman movie might be out that year too. Mark my words 2012 is going to be epic,… then the world will end LOL.

  • IrishArtSlut

    I love the Cinema, the whole expeirence of it but this year was the year I went the least, ticket pricees were rediculas,and my local cinema started selling cheap nachoes and cold cheese. I know it sounds like a small thing but when your going with the “expeirence” aspect of the cinema the food they serve is part of it.I think they should make tickets cheaper to get more asses on the seats.
    oh and check your numbers on the A-team, it was a hit. or they wouldnt be making a sequel!

  • Deanjsimons

    I think it’s a mixed bag of reasons. The rising use of 3d as a gimick started stagnating as soon as everyone and their grandmother saw Avatar. Movies like Clash of the Titans are using “3d” as a gimic to boost sales for a lacklustre or average product.

    Then there’s the fact that we are still crawling out of recession, with the US economy (overall) being on it’s knees with a high unemployment rate. Here in the UK its the same. Perhaps the savings and benefits are running thin due to new legislations so ‘disposeable income’ has dwindled.

    Then there’s the rise of piracy. But that has been a steady rise in the background that has become more and more prominant. So it’s not necessarily a reason in and of itself for declining sales.

    Plus movies seemed to be treading water this year. The Losers, Expendables, and A-Team looked like exactly the same movie to me. Superhero movies are becoming old hat, too. You need something fresh to get any motion in sales.

  • Brian from Canada

    Historically, bad economy equals better ticket sales. With inflation, the best years were the Depression years in the US, believe it or not.

    And I don’t think 3D had anything to do with it either.

    3D is symptom of a bigger problem in Hollywood, and that’s CGI. And before anyone jumps on me for saying that, consider this: When the Zanucks were asked about Airplane! for its anniversary, they said it worked because it was a good story first with great jokes on top. Nowadays, it starts off as a joke and gets a story jammed in there — much as movies are being made based on the CGI versus the story.

    Like Inception. Like Avatar. Strip away the effects and, at the core, is a story that’s far too simplistic. And the plot of these movies all tends to be the same: pathetic hero with a hint of sarcasm, crisis that threatens the world, hero saves the day.

    Movies USED to be about stories. The best movies still are. And I think that’s why Toy Story 3 keeps leaping up — it’s got a story to tell, it’s got a message to tell, and it does it very well. We’re moved by that.

    But all we hear about is special effects, big budgets and box office take — as if the dollars that keep stock prices up are all that matters. And having critics that take one point and make it the judgement point of the movie (like the animation or the effects) just makes it worse.

    Bottom line: if the movie makes a profit, it’s a hit. If it makes a big profit, it’s a big hit. And if the movie is worth watching without the effects, it’s a good story behind it. Because today’s economy allows you to access crap much easier — DVD, TV, Internet — and much cheaper and *still* recognize it as crap.

    It’s like I say: no matter how high def or laden with special effects you have, no amount of technology is going to cover a bad performance or a terrible story.

  • nWoJeffDW

    I feel it’s a backlash against 3D movies. Prices were hiked so high and the so-called “experience” was not at all worth it. Most 3D movies loose their luster about 10 minutes into the film where you don’t even remember you are watching a 3D movie. “Avatar” is one of the few that really made the 3D aspect a necessary component. All other movies have used it to lure moviegoers but not really needing it to make the movie what it is. Add that to too many 3D movies and people are already sick of it.

    Cost is a big factor. People don’t want to pay the extra.

  • Eightiesologist

    Money is only partially it. As much as people want to (justifiably) point out how ridiculous the cost of seeing a movie is, whether in 3D or not, the fact of the matter is that Avatar came out a year ago and made bucket loads of money. Why? Because it was an event movie that people felt they had to see in theaters. That’s where Hollywood has dropped the ball. They don’t make many movies that are either begging for big screen viewing OR make people so anxious they just can’t wait for home video release. Hollywood just wants to keep rolling out stupid crap like Yogi Bear and The A-Team (and every other bad TV remake) and Jack Black movies and cookie cutter Pixar rip-offs. Go ahead and point out Iron Man 2 or Clash of the Titans if you want but that’s a boneheaded argument. Those movies still made huge cash and had a good chunk of people who liked the movie. The issue is that the majority of movies that come out are more like Macgruber or Jonah Hex or the like, and nobody wants to see those movies at all. That’s why Inception did so well. It didn’t insult the audience and was an unlikely breath of fresh air. If Hollywood made more movies like that, they’d have a better chance pulling in people based on concept, and not on some unfathomable trend. But if they want to roll out movies that are so bad in concept that people don’t even want to wait to rent, then they’ll continue to see box office receipts go down and contempt for the industry to rise.

  • knightoftomorrow

    Personally, I have yet to be impressed with any movie that I have seen in 3-D or in IMAX. Add to that the fact that it costs more, and I’d rather just see it in 2-D on a slightly smaller screen, if I even decide to see it at all. So with more movies being released in 3-D, it’s less movies that I’m interested in seeing.

  • Rosesarah6

    Why on earth should we EXPECT the record to get broken every year? Four years is an absurdly small sample size. Overall, Hollywood has been taking more of the people’s money each year for a long time. There are a few abrasions here and there, but generally–DON’T WORRY–Hollywood will find new little entertainments with which to take your money with. When they own our souls to such an extent that we write articles and gasp when they don’t take more of our money than ever during the current year–please don’t feel bad for them. Feel bad for yourself for caring.

  • knightoftomorrow

    You don’t HAVE to. They wouldn’t know if you kept them. I kept mine. Of course, I still have to pay extra and receive an additional pair if I go to see another movie in 3-D, which is not likely to happen anytime soon.

    Of course, they realize that there is no practical use for those glasses outside of the theatre, so they recycle them in some fashion rather than letting them go to waste in a trash can somewhere.

  • knightoftomorrow

    I’ve never even heard of those movies…so it could be that the movies with more potential aren’t promoted well enough. I wouldn’t assume that people want to see all the smaller movies that I want to see.

  • knightoftomorrow

    Hate to break it to you, but that might just be your AMC location..the rest of the chain, particularly around major markets like Chicago are $6 before noon Friday-Sunday and that’s the lowest ticket price, period. Normal matinee and evening prices apply every day of the week. I used to work for the company.

  • Nicholas N

    The problem is ticket prices are too high and the “3D” movies weren’t in 3D. *cough* Clash of the Titans *cough*

  • ingenuus

    having action in a movie does not make it an action movie. the term “action movie” is about a specific sub genre of film…saying that word implies a certain tone to the movie. from all that i have read, iron man was not written, shot or meant to be an “action movie.”

  • brianobx

    Who needs movies when you have brianobx on

  • RunnerX13

    There’s also too many movies, a new one almost every week.

  • Dex

    The first third was decent (and just that). The second third was an ad for the Avengers and the formation of the Marvel universe. Terrible. It’s like the two plots were competing for screentime (and Iron Man’s plot lost). The last third… A new element?? Really??? An awful macguffin horribly developed. Disappointing was putting mildly.

  • DRWilson

    And if you have kids, the ability to pause while they go to the bathroom five times during the movie (usually at the best or most crucial parts) makes watching at home a much better proposition.

  • buck

    Has anyone heard of this thing called the “economy?”

  • Azriel

    I should also add that the growing popularity of blu-ray is also added to theaters woes. Why would you go to the theater and have to deal with rude people who won’t get off their cell phones, high priced snacks and high ticket prices when for about $5 more you can own a super high quality copy of the movie a few months later and watch it at home! The number of lcd/led/plasma tv’s has grown greatly over the last few years and people knowing that going to the movies equals shelling out a lot of cash for more than one person (it would cost me and my ex about $60 for tickets, drinks, and popcorn or nachos). I love the theater experience, but I have to admit that it’s nice to come home and have the ability to watch a movie at home in a very high quality picture and sound without having to drop a ton of cash just to see the movie!

  • Macbeth

    Man I love living in Canada

  • Rich

    Rising ticket costs priced me out. When the cost of movie ticket reached $8.50 locally, I just couldn’t say I was getting enough value for the money. I do hit the local second-run theater fairly often–tix there are $2, and I’m patient enough to wait.

  • brianobx

    Tell the CBR forums to reinstate brianobx.

  • Frank Furbush

    Haven’t read all the comments, so forgive me but –

    How about people not going to the movies because they don’t want to pay a premium to see 3D? Especially if it is 3D tacked on just to make more money. I am happy with the films the way they are, I don’t need to pay an extra $4 or more for 3D.

  • TVanBruggen

    Why is the movie business down? You answered the question in your first paragraph . . .

    “According to the Hollywood Reporter, this year’s box office take is currently estimated to be 3% down on last year – the first fall for four years, despite tickets costing on average 4.7% more than they did in 2009.”

    With record unemployment and more people concerning about their income, movie theaters RAISED ticket prices. People have less expendable income and have to make wiser choices with their money, and dropping $9-12 a person and at least that on concessions doesn’t make a lot of sense. Especially with DVD and Blu-Ray prices coming down (not to mention players and TV’s) that can give you a near-theater (or better in some cases) experience in home for less money, and you can continue to watch the film as much as you want. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

  • Psygote

    Dude, whatever happened to you as a child, whatever it was: I’m sorry.

  • Joelmeadows

    It was a very strange year at the cinema. Iron Man 2 was very underwhelming compared with its progenitor and Potter felt like all the rest. Can’t remember the last big Hollywood blockbuster that mostly worked. Either Avatar or possibly Star Trek. Inception was pretty good but was a tenpole movie with a bit of a brain…

  • therantguy

    It’s not complicated

    Higher prices + crappy economy + few movies worth seeing = lower ticket sales

  • Talmerian

    Three things are wrong with this entire article: Why must every year be bigger than the last? Its not as though 3% under a record breaking year is exactly bad. Why should 3D affect how many of us go to movies. Its been done before, I know “This is a different 3D.” It was in the 80s when the movie theaters rolled it back out again as well. Why doesn’t anyone consider that perhaps we are done going to see trite and poorly written movies. I have seen more movies this year than in the past 3 years. Most in second run theaters though, because I was not paying more than $2 to see “Clash of the Titans”!

  • Josh

    I have a good tv, sound system and blu-ray player at home. I can watch good movies without having to pay $5.00 for a bag of popcorn and $20 dollars for a babysitter.
    But most of all; most movies were very underwhelming. There were good movies, but not many great ones. Iron Man 2 was better than good but not great. Scott Pilgrim was underwhelming to me (the books were incredible!). Toy Story 3 was great, my pick for best movie of the year.
    Otherwise; Predators, Kick Ass, The Expendables, Date Night, Due Date, Clash of the Titans and others were good. But good in a rental way. I got burned enough times paying high theater prices that I started waiting for the rentals.

  • Chronomaxx

    I think one of the reasons for the drop was 3-D and IMAX. It is very easy to justify seeing a movie a second or even a thrid time when they only cost 7 bucks for a matinee. When that same matinee cost 15 – 19 dollars for 3-D and IMAX presentations it is less likely to attract those second and thrid viewings, especially when so many people are pinching pennies. Add to that the rapid rate at which movies are released on DVD, and many people choose to wait it out to see it again. Perhaps the movie theatres would see better returns if they let us keep the glasses and not charge us $3.50 for another pair every time we want to see a 3-D movie. Iknow I would take care of my glasses to save a couple bucks.

  • ingenuus

    not sure if you know or not, but hte new element is vibranium making the connection with black panther presumably. not that i am saying it was great, but by your analogy, that makes the last two acts the same thing.

  • Jm4416

    Yeah thats why this summer had almost no blockbuster films, but next summer has a glut of them (not that I’m not excited to see HP7, Thor, Cowboys and Aliens, and most of the rest)

  • Mr_Wayne

    It was still disappointing. Whether it was a “character driven film” or “action”. It was WAY too Avengers crowded. That “Initiative” took away from the film.

  • FredH

    Your first sentence answers itself.

  • Tym

    It’s not the movies, it’s the economy. No one has the loose money to see an overpriced movie, no matter how good it is.

    I loved some movies this year, but I only saw them once, for the cheapest price possible. That’s unusual, but that is the reality.

  • Zor-El of Argo

    It should have been an action movie. Iron Man is an action hero, and action heroes are meant to appear in action movies. This is where Superman Returns went wrong: treating an action hero like a dramatic hero. Giving action heroes and thier relationships depth is fine, even encouraged, as long as we get to see the hero kick a lot of butt and take a lot of names, too.

  • King Chest Hair

    Iron Man 2 was putrid. I can barely remember what happened in that godforsaken movie.

  • ingenuus

    different strokes i guess, i liked all the avengery stuff in it.

  • ingenuus

    agree to disagree i guess…i have never read iron man as an action hero. i have always read him as a conflicted character whose pathos drives his actions (which were not all “actiony” actions).

  • Skatonic10

    The Social Network made $91M and The Last Airbender, as bad as it was made $131. Whether it should/ could have made more is a different argument.

    I think part of the problem is that a lot of movies that came out is something you’ve seen before. As you pointed out, there are only 5 movies out of the top 15 grossing films this year, that were not based on previous material. Of those 5 movies, 2 of them are super villain-centric, 3 are animated, and only 1 was truly original.

  • Thetaz-man2

    The ticket and snack stands at the movie theatres have completely priced themselves away from the average viewer.
    For myself even the cheapest night available is nearly $20 for a pair of tickets. And another $15 for a drink and snack(to Share), not to mention the 15-20 minute drive to the closest multiplex for me.
    All of this has combined to keep me home and waiting for DVD releases.
    I can count on 1 hand the amount of movies I’ve seen in the theatre in the last 5 years and none of them have been in the last 2 years.

  • Brian from Canada

    Have to disagree with you here. People did want to see movies like Macgruber and Jonah Hex… until they saw the trailer and said “video.” And by the time it reached video, those who saw it in the theatre were saying “tv” instead.

    The problem here is money. Period. Big profits are being expected on formulas, but the formulas don’t always work. Sure, Macgruber was a popular skit, but was the plot strong enough or the jokes varied enough to make the movie more than a skit? Sure, Jonah Hex had all the coolness of other comicbook movies, but was there anything to the plot to make you root for the hero? It falls apart at script level, always.

    Call Toy Story 3 a “Pixar rip-off” all you want, but the movie stands on its own. And it does so for the same reason Star Trek stood out last year: the writers focused on a good script first, knowing that audiences expect a level of quality they need to deliver.

    Money is also the reason we have the wrong actors in these movies. If they’re supposed to be in love, there has to be a spark or some chemistry — something couples like Date Night or countless other romantic comedies lack. If they’re supposed to be friends, let them act like friends, not just claim a shared history. The A-Team didn’t have that tightness that The Expendables had, and you felt it. Or the camaraderie of Grown-Ups, which really feels like a buddy movie.

    Give us characters we can believe and care about, and people will like the movie. And then they’ll tell their friends. And then the movie will be a smash success.

    (Though I disagree with your impression of Inception: the movie didn’t give us a reality, so it was all a hoax, and the characters were just plot devices without any real motivation — but it did well because it looked really amazing visually in a way that had not been done before.)

  • Jaradams

    There are never enough movies with Bruce Campbell in them

  • MadJohnFinn

    what a load of rubbish,,,I dont agree with any of this. Just like to add that I dont think we should have black characters in comics. I dont agree with blacks in principle and wish to one day have a comic book industry that is all white.

  • Spidey

    KirbyLee70, you nailed every single reason why I only saw two movies in the theater this year. I thought #3 really hadn’t been mentioned yet, surprisingly. I anticipate seeing certain flicks with bated breath for months(sometimes years), and the biggest turn-off for me is to sit near some jackhole who’s busy entertaining his equally annoying friends. I go to the theater for an entertainment experience–the movie itself! I’ve already anticipated the expense, the time out of my schedule, but you never know how your movie-going neighbors are going to behave.
    As far as movie quality goes, that’s always going to be subjective. While IM2 wasn’t nearly as good as the first, there was enough in it to entertain me. Plus, I always make it a point to go to a matinee and smuggle in my own Skittles so I don’t feel like I got completely ripped off. . . ;)

  • Rich

    Man, that’s not even decent trolling. I recommend that you practice offline and try again.

  • Drew

    I don’t have the figures, but I’d bet that if you compare this year to last year and you ignore Avatar, we’re actually ahead of last year. Avatar is the biggest grossing movie in years (even adjusted for inflation) so it’s not surprising that you’d see a drop, year to year.

  • dani trejo (si como el actor)

    actually Jackass has been, in the past 2 years, the movie that uses 3D the best. I would say it was used in the smartest way ever.

  • Kirbylee70

    True, in past hard times people went to see movies. But the movies then offered more escapism than most of those we see today. They also offered more original movies than the same old same old the Hollywood has decided they need to make over and over again. The term “franchise” holds more value in Hollywood these days than original does.

    I disagree with comparing movies to items like Ipods or Ipads though. Those items are long term investments that you’ll have day after day until the next one comes along or you upgrade. A movie is in and out in under 3 hours usually with nothing but the memory to carry out with you. And with movies that aren’t worth remembering past that 3 hour mark we go back to the idea that the quality of films just isn’t what it used to be.

  • Lol

    Ticket prices are too high. No one wants to go often if it’s going to cost them that much…

  • Mikkithedon

    it actually was. nowhere near as good as the first one.

  • Inane Geek

    Yeah i totally agree with what you say but i did like Iron Man2 and oddly i probably went and saw more films this year than any before. I would say the price hikes and people being short of money probably led to the downturn

  • Evil_s2003

    What’s wrong with movies in 2010…well, remakes. Comic book based movies that, for the most part, don’t even feel like the books their based on. remakes. 3D. remakes.
    I think that about covers it.

  • Malthis

    Hate to break it to you but not all people live in USA, there appear to be other countries in the world too. Other countries where the police doesn’t give a damn about movie piracy as well.

  • Omegasaga

    IRON MAN 2 was good if you LOVED the first movie or the actors. Otherwise it wasnt that good really. ( i personally liked it ALOT)

    id say 99.9 percent of EVERYSINGLE event film in 2010 was horrendously beyond bad.
    Couple that with the fact that there is a MAJOR economic crisis going on. ….. im not talking about some little recession— this is THE GREAT DEPRESSION of the 21st century.

    people cant afford to eat– you think they can afford the movies??? lets be real people.

  • Jordan Dorsett

    are you kidding? your a freaking psychopath racist

  • nik

    you must have skipped over all those parts where he’s flying around in a robot suit blowing shit up.