By Paula Bernstein | Indiewire March 26, 2014 at 3:55PM
The numbers are in and they're not encouraging. A report yesterday from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) found that domestic movie box office sales rose to $10.9 billion last year -- at first glance, that's good news, right? But not exactly. While ticket sales rose from $10.8 billion the previous year, the increase was due to higher ticket prices rather than more ticket sales.
Ticket sales dropped 1.5% last year to 1.34 billion -- down from 1.36 billion in 2012. At the same time, the average ticket price jumped to $8.13 last year -- up from $7.96 in 2012, according to the MPAA.
Obviously, there are a variety of factors contributing to the decline in movie ticket sales -- VOD and streaming options make it easier for folks to stay home and watch movies, there is more competition from quality TV and younger audiences are consuming content on their mobile devices.
The price of tickets probably factors in to the equation - and now the country's movie theaters are thinking that a discount ticket price at least one weekday could attract more moviegoers, The Wall Street Journal reports.
"There is a portion of the populace who can't afford to go to the cinema on Friday night," said John Fithian, president and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, speaking at CinemaCon, the annual convention for exhibitors and studios, along with Chris Dodd, head of the MPAA.
Exhibitors in Canada and some Latin American countries already have similar programs. "They have a discounted Tuesday in Canada that works extremely well, so we're looking at testing that model also in the U.S.," said Fithian.
Of course, all theaters would have to participate in such a program, as Fithian explained in his presentation at CinemaCon. The theater owners association could start such a program in one state as early as this year.