Theatre Attendance Plummets To The Lowest It’s Been In 19 Years

Man sitting in movie theatre
2014’s movie attendance numbers don’t look good. Deklofenak via Shutterstock

Last year was a terrible year for movie attendance, with audience numbers plunging to the lowest they have been in two decades.

Even with hits like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1,” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” the last time theatre attendance was this bad was in 1995, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

According to preliminary estimates, roughly 1.26 billion consumers purchased cinema tickets between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31. That’s the lowest number since 1.21 billion in 1995 and not that far ahead of 1994 (1.24 billion). The last time admissions fell below the 1.3 billion mark was in 2011, when only 1.28 billion people when to the movies.

Of course, these are still technically estimates. We won’t see the official numbers for last year’s movie attendance until the National Association of Theatre Owners reveals how much the average price of a movie ticket in 2014, but it’s expected to be north of $US8.15, which would be an increase from 2013’s average ticket price of $US8.13.

So why the low attendance numbers?

Aside from the increasing trend of watching movies at home using streaming services like Netflix, 2014 also saw some of its biggest films underperform at the box office, namely Sony’s “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and Paramount’s “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

Revenue for the U.S. box office is also likely to drop 5% to $US10.36 billion, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which would be the worst year-over-year decline in nine years.

The year’s biggest surprise hit?

That belongs to the highest gross film of 2014, Marvel’s “Guardian’s of the Galaxy,” which earned $US332 million domestically and over $US772 million worldwide.