According to from the National Alliance of Theater Owners (NATO) reported by TheWrap, average price for a movie ticket “rose 3.7 percent year-over-year to $8.93, up from $8.65 last year.” Using a little math (something I want to stress I absolutely hate) you see that the estimated number of movie tickets sold in 2017 was 1.23 billion. It sounds like a lot, but that would also be the lowest number of tickets sold in America in 24 years.

While that is only a rough estimate that does not account for the higher ticket prices for premium formats and theaters in more expensive cities like New York and Los Angeles, NATO’s estimate is the lowest since 1993, when Jurassic Park was the top grossing film of the year and an estimated 1.24 billion tickets were sold.

NATO points the blame for the bad sales squarely at a disappointing summer season, and particularly the number of sequels that audiences didn’t want. (coughTransformersTheLastKnightcough) “A record Q1 (in box office and admissions) was offset by a disappointing summer,” NATO wrote, “with a range of sequels that were not embraced by audiences in the numbers we are accustomed to. Summer 2017 was 92 million admissions short of summer 2016.”

This is on top of a host of other issues facing theaters, from competition at home and online to increasingly rowdy and unruly audiences. 1.23 billion is still a lot of tickets, and a lot of customers, and 2018 has a lot of highly anticipated movies, including Black Panther just a few weeks away. But theaters need to stop losing customers, and start creating new customers if they want to turn this bad news around.

Gallery - Old Movie Ticket Stubs You Can Buy on eBay:

 

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