Expert: Summer box office up, attendance way down

By Sean O’Connell According to a new report, movies are making more money for Hollywood studios, even though less people are showing up to watch them.

These somewhat confusing statistics come to us from Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for He says attendance has dropped due to a “steep rise in ticket prices, heavily due to a surge in 3-D screenings.”

But it’s those exact same increases that have contributed to the rise in domestic receipts this summer, which Dergarabedian claims will total $4.35 billion for the summer (up nearly $100 million more from the previous year).

“To have record revenue built on the back of much higher ticket prices, in a way, it’s kind of a shallow victory. You want to see attendance go up every year, not down,” Dergarabedian said.

While multiple studios released money makers, from Disney’s “Toy Story 3” to Summit’s latest “Twilight” installment, the summer’s big winner seemed to be Sony, which had three $100 million-plus earners (“The Karate Kid,” “Grown Ups” and “Salt”) and a fourth (“The Other Guys”) on the way.

But Dergarabedian said, “Audiences were underwhelmed, and they voted with their absence. If you asked most people what they thought of the quality of the movies, it’s kind of a so-so summer. We could have done a lot worse were it not for films like `Inception’ and `Toy Story 3.'”

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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