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)
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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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