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April 21, 2013

If we take a look at the domestic number of tickets sold per capita, things don’t look too great for this segment of the film industry’s revenue stream. But with the data about 3D vs. 2D ticket prices being so fuzzy, I felt this needed a deeper look, to determine just how bad the situation is, or if it really is that bad. Let’s start with this deceptive graph:

Domestic Box Office: Number of Tickets Sold and Tickets per Capita

*Data for number of tickets sold is from; U.S. Population from US Census

The average American went to the cinema a little more than 4 times in 2012. This is down from 5.49 a decade ago. That’s a 20.6% decline. But the problem with looking at this data as is, is that it mixes together 3D ticket sales with 2D ticket sales. And hiding variables like 2D sales behind the totals of 2D+3D in such a way is like a petri dish for funky business. I don’t have enough publicly available data to untangle this matrix completely, but the next two posts will be my best shot at separating 2D data from 3D data and substantiating a couple of theories about the real status of these two segments (spoiler: 2D is doing much worse than it seems, just like a kid that had his parents invest all their resources in his younger sibling – he will need some serious rehab…).

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