To suggest a cloud of gloom hovered above the recent CinemaCon convention in Vegas would be an understatement…
Granted domestic ticket income this past year at the nation’s theaters amounted to in excess of $10.5 billion. But a sizeable portion of that $10 billion was owing to increased ticket prices and hefty up charges for 3-D releases of which there were many in 2010.
The really telling story was the actual theater attendance last year in which 1.34 billion tickets were sold at North American theaters.
That’s DOWN 74 million from 2009!
In fact, movie attendance in the US in 2010 was the second-lowest in the past 15 years!
And the first quarter of 2011 has yet to reverse that downward trend!
National Association Of Theater Owners president John Fithian sees some light at the end of that tunnel.
"The first quarter of 2011 has been difficult," he told attendees. "Beginning in May, we expect those comps to improve substantially. The strength of the studio product….demands confidence in the industry’s immediate future. The movies drive our business….Check with me in July and ask how the movies are doing."
So what is N.A.T.O.’s CEO talking about?
A powerful line up of tentpole titles that potentially could turn Hollywood’s fortunes—and those of your neighborhood megaplex—around this summer!
Granted, many are sequels, but on paper the 2011 movie summer looks strong!
Here’s a preview of things to come:
* May 6—-THOR (Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins.)
* May 13—BRIDESMAIDS (Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph)
* May 20—PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES (Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz)
* May 26—THE HANGOVER 2 (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis)
* May 26—KUNG FUN PANDA 2 (Jack Black, Angelina Jolie)
* June 3—-X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (James McAvoy, January Jones, Kevin Bacon)
* June 10—SUPER 8 (…from J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg)
* June 17—GREEN LANTERN (Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively)
* June 24—CARS 2 (…from Pixar Animation)
* June 24—BAD TEACHER (Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel)
* July 1—–TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON (Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, Rosie Huntington-Whitley)
Those are just the highlights before the 4th of July with summer blockbusters like HARRY POTTER & THE DEATHLY HALLOWS Part 2 in 3-D, COWBOYS & ALIENS and the new CONAN THE BARBARIAN waiting in the wings.
Suffice it to say CinemaCon’s mood had improved mightily by the time we left Sin City!