Wed. Dec 8th, 2021
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In the past decade, movie theaters have seen a significant decline in overall revenue as well as box office numbers due to lack of attendance and loss of popularity. Nothing shows this more than the past year that has affected all industries across the world. None more so than the economic nightmare that has been the question many movie-goers are thinking, will movie theaters survive the pandemic? Well, movie theaters are here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. 

According to IBISWorld, movie theaters have seen a significant drop in overall revenue, with the overall market growth falling a staggering 19.1% from 2016 to 2021. Movie theaters are also seeing a decline in overall popularity, too, which only made things worse leading up to the pandemic. Ever since the known “peak” of movie ticket sales in 2002, there has been a steady decline. In 2019 alone, only 1.23 billion movie tickets were sold across the United States according to movie statistics provider The Numbers. That may seem like a lot, however the COVID-19 pandemic seemed to look like the killing blow for the movie theater’s existence as a whole. 

Compared to 2019, 2020 had only 224 million movie tickets sold across the entire United States according to movie statistics provider The Numbers. That is a huge and unprecedented drop in theater ticket sales and something that has never been seen in the theater’s existence. Anything close to that was last seen during the Great Depression, but even then, there was nothing near to as fatal of a drop in overall revenue that 2020 gave. Movie theaters were locked down across the country, forced to shut down for months on end, and many even had to shutter their doors entirely due to lack of funds to keep the business going. 

What we have seen this past year in revenue across the entertainment industry have been record lows that we will probably never see again in our lifetime. However, many theaters still thrive on these low numbers of sales. Regal Cinemas and AMC saw their theaters close at the end of last year; however, with the online stock madness that is WallStreetBets, AMC was able to buy themselves out of bankruptcy and save their business from going under. Many underlying factors have come into play with how theaters are operating now, but as many shut down for good, some were also open the entirety of the year. In states like Texas, Florida, Mississippi and others, there were little to no restrictions in regard to the pandemic that was raging across the country. This in turn gave their local theaters a chance to still stay afloat in a seemingly endless whirlpool of economic turmoil. 

Many theaters across the country have gone, and those who have survived have begun to re-open as more and more people get the COVID-19 vaccine. It was a record-shattering time for the entirety of the entertainment industry, albeit for the wrong reasons. However, many theaters around the country and around our area here in West Chester are still alive and ready to bring back the theater experience that we all know and love.

Jedd Babcock is a fourth-year student majoring in communications and minoring in journalism. 

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