2013 was Hollywood’s most profitable year ever, ranking in nearly 10.9 billion dollars. But that doesn’t mean that it was Hollywood’s best year. Because even though profits are up, ticket sales are down. How is this possible? Inflation. The National Association of Theatre Owners recently announced the average ticket price for 2013: $8.13, up from last year’s average of $7.96.
Americans purchased just under 1.336 billion movie tickets in 2013. In 2012, Americans purchased 1.36 billion tickets. However, the 2% increase in ticket price more than makes up for declining sales. But inflation isn’t the only thing driving prices up. More and more films are being released with premium ticket prices for 3D and IMAX presentations. Take a look at the following films: Iron Man 3, Despicable Me 2, Man of Steel, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Monsters University, Gravity, Frozen, Oz the Great and Powerful. All of these films were released in 3D at premium ticket prices. They also represent eight of the top ten films from 2013. The other two films from the top 10: Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Fast and Furious 6 were released in IMAX, also for premium ticket prices.
Does this make 2013 a victory for Hollywood or a defeat? That depends on how you define success. If you consider more revenue a success, then it was. If success is based on butts in the seats, then it wasn’t, nor was it a good thing if you’re just the average consumer trying to see a movie. But regardless of how you spin it, judging success in Hollywood is getting more and more complicated.