Hollywood imploding? Spielberg says yes, but don’t bet on it


by Lewis Chang, Featured Guest Writer

Recently, Steven Spielberg spoke at the opening of a new USC School of Cinematic Arts building. He shocked the entertainment community with his bold predictions of the implosion of the movie industry. Clearly, Box office flops are taking a toll on the movie industry, and the willingness of movie studios to absorb these losses is disappearing. With this happening, viewers can expect to see changes.

Spielberg’s good friend George Lucas weighed in on this topic, and he likens the future of the movie industry to Broadway; where fewer movies are released, they stay in theaters for long periods of time, and ticket prices climbing as high as $25. As a movie goer myself, I find this unlikely. How could a movie sit in theaters for months? Friday and Saturday night crowds produce the lion share of ticket sales, and attendance is driven by new weekly releases on these nights. Without new weekly releases, crowds won’t come. Adding to this, new movies experience huge drop offs in attendance after the first few weeks of their release. With few movies to choose from, moviegoers will find new entertainment venues to keep themselves busy on weekends. After all who would pay a higher price to go watch the same movie week after week? Additionally revenue to theaters is provided by concession sales, not from ticket sales which go back to the studios. Which means without those weekend crowds ordering up that overpriced buttery popcorn and sweets, the theaters themselves would suffer major hits to their bottom line. And movie theater companies, especially the likes of  AMC and United Artists, are major multi-million dollar business themselves and unlikely to just sit back and let their business fall into ruin. So relax movie goers, perhaps Spielberg and Lucas are in space in a galaxy far, far, away.


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