More People Went To The Movies After 9/11 Than In The Last Two Weeks

By Katey Rich 2011-12-12 12:30:30discussion comments
More People Went To The Movies After 9/11 Than In The Last Two Weeks image
There's not much good to say about this past weekend of moviegoing. Both of the new wide releases, The Sitter and New Year's Eve, weren't all that good, and though New Year's Eve managed to win the box office, it did it with just $13.7 million, on top of the lowest weekend box office since September of 2008. But in fact, the picture is even grimmer than that, and the past two weeks of box office represent a new low that hasn't been matched in almost exactly a decade. Now, what could have been happening in the fall of 2001 that would have depressed the box office?

Yes, believe it or not, according to an analysis at The Associated Press, there were more people going to the movies in the weeks following 9/11 than there have been in the past two weeks. The AP talked to a lot of studio heads for the article that also tackles the overall box office slump for the year-- total receipts are down about 4% from this time last year, even with massive hits like the last Harry Potter film to buffer things. And when you account for the inflation in ticket prices, the situation is even more dire-- in the two weeks following 9/11 about 22.3 million people went to the movies, while they estimate an attendance of about 19.8 million people in the last two weeks. The deck is a little stacked given that there were zero wide releases last weekend, but it's still a pretty grim situation for an industry that seems to be good at getting nothing but bad news these days.

Granted it should get better soon-- this weekend marks the release of two sequels, Sherlock Holmes and Alvin and the Chipmunks, and next Wednesday comes a deluge of new movies, with everything from the grim The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo to the family friendly War Horse competing for attention. As someone who roots for Hollywood by default, I'm hoping they pick things back up. I'm glad to see something as lazy and crappy as New Year's Eve get punished, but the idea that people are less interested in seeing movies now than they were after 9/11-- when Mariah Carey's Glitter was in theaters, for god's sake-- is just depressing. Let's pick up and move on from this please.

(Movie theater image via Shutterstock)
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