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US movie theatre market feeling the effects of the recession

Industry Sector



22 November 2012


Matt Bodimeade

Type of News


The US movie theatre suffered declines in sales over the past few years as decreasing income levels together with higher gasoline and movie ticket prices resulted in a drop for the market. In addition, people started moving toward less expensive forms of entertainment such as Netflix streaming, video games and other digital media.

1.3 billion tickets were sold in 2011 which is 3% less than in 2010. According to MPAA, 3D movies saw over 15% decline in box office sales in 2011, while regular 2D movies declined by only 4%. This was a result of low consumer confidence and fears over a double-dip recession, which forced movie goers to cut back on leisure spending and thus opt for cheaper 2D films.

The US movie theatre market includes approximately 2,000 companies that operate around 5,000 indoor theatres and 300 drive-ins with combined annual revenue of an estimated $12 billion.

The number of local companies declined by 3% since 2006. Medium-sized enterprises saw the highest decrease and declined by 21% during the review period. Large companies, on the other hand, increased by 31% since 2006. Therefore, the industry is dominated by large service providers, which accounted for 79% of total turnover in 2012.

Major companies include AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, and Regal Entertainment. The industry is highly concentrated: the 50 largest companies generate about 85 percent of industry revenue.US movie theatre

Most movie theatres offer a wide variety of subsidiary revenue generators, generally in the form of food and drink in the foyer or lobby before entering the theatre. For those movie theatres that cater to the dinner crowd food becomes a major source of revenue.

Ticket admissions account for almost 70% of industry revenue, while food and beverage sales account for more than 20%.

For more information on the US movie theatre market, see the latest research: US Movie Theatre Market

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