Ebert listed six reasons (below):
1. Absence of must-see mass-market movies in 2011
2. Expensive movie ticket prices (especially 3D movies)
3. Lousy movie theater experience (e.g. noisy fanboys and annoying cell-phone users)
4. Expensive refreshment prices
5. Competition from other forms of delivery (e.g. online streaming)
6. Too many movie theaters showing few overhyped disappointments instead of more unique titles
As a film critic, Ebert put the blame squarely on movie theaters (instead of on things like piracy).
The message I get is that Americans love the movies as much as ever. It's the theaters that are losing their charm, wrote Ebert.
He cited the following proof: on Dec. 28, the third most popular movie on Netflix was an Iranian work titled Certified Copy, the fourth most popular movie was a French work titled Love Crime and the fifth most popular movie was the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragoon Tattoo; these are not movies typical American theaters would show.
Regarding the cost factor, 3D movies typically cost $17.50 and 2D movies typically cost $13.50 in New York City. The cost of individual food and drink items are often north of $4. Taking a family of four to watch the movies with popcorn and drinks at the theater, therefore, can easily cost more than $100.
Meanwhile, renting a movie for one night at a Blockbuster kiosk is at most $3 and a Netflix streaming account is only $7.99 per month.
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