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Both Ticket Sales And Revenue Down At The Box Office This Summer

Turns out Leo DiCaprio and a band of nostalgic toys can't do all the heavy lifting in theaters. Overall box office revenue and ticket sales were down from last year's numbers this summer, according to THR. The projected revenue for the season lasting from May 7 until Labor Day is $4.24 billion, around 1% less than last year. Ticket sales were even worse, down as much as 6% from 2009.

Several factors come into play here, starting with the rise in ticket prices. The national average was up 4.5% this year to $7.88, primarily thanks to the spread of 3-D venues. The higher prices helped offset the dip in admission, but some have speculated that moviegoers are scared off at last by the unreasonable cost of a trip to the movies. More than anything, though, the prevailing storyline has been that studios unable to satisfy audience tastes. In the past few months we've covered both the studio's bad decisions and the bizarre and unpredictable season as a whole. Years ago, The A-Team and Knight and Day would have been surefire bets for box-office success, but cookie-cutter actioners thin on imagination apparently aren't cutting it anymore, as the broody Inceptions and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse emerged as the summer's rare success stories.

Still, we learned it's important to stay somewhat grounded in reality. Because one thing's for certain--if you're going to set a movie in the Middle East (Sex and the City 2, Prince of Persia), for the love of Christ just don't make it magic-carpet escapist fare. Turns out Americans do pick up on irony.