How Much Time Do Americans Spend At Movie Theaters?

How much time do Americans spend at movie theaters? There is no clear cut answer to this question. The time Americans spend at movie theaters is never set in stone. When the United States reaches an economic crisis, Americans want to spend time forgetting their troubles and get lost in another world. This observation can be measured in history, surveys and the box office.

In 2004, the United States economy was the highest it had been in five years. In October of the same year, a survey was done by Humphrey Taylor of Harris Organization where 24 percent of the participants preferred to spend time in front of the television and/or spend time with their families. Going to the movies, along with other activities, were at a measly seven percent.

Americans once used the movie theaters as a place to escape their troubles during The Great Depression in 1930s. It would prove to be a case of history repeating itself when the 2008 recession rolled around. In a February 2009 article by the "New York Times," cinemas were reporting a sixteen percent boost in their attendance. The article outlined other eras in history when going to the movies helped the American people get through tough times and as a result, some of the biggest blockbusters were cemented in film history. During the recession, James Cameron’s “Avatar” (2009) topped over two billion dollars at the box office. It became the highest-grossing film of all time surpassing “Titanic” (1998). The escapism for some audience members who saw “Avatar” was so intense that they reported feeling depressed because they felt the overwhelming need to live on Pandora and further escape reality.

There have been predictions that movie theaters may become extinct within the next decade because of the new at-home rental subscriptions and rise in home theater systems. Despite this, no one is certain of the fate of movie theaters. Many loyal movie lovers have contested that there is something special about going to the movies that neither at-home settings can replicate.


NY Times

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