Historically, people going to the movies has been an indication that the economy is getting sluggish, and now box-office sales are historically high.
- The success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, grossing $906 million, has led to a resurgence in box-office revenues—marking the return of pre-pandemic levels of moviegoing, Quartz reports.
- The recent Avatar: The Way Of Water comes in at the third-highest-grossing film of all time at $2.3 billion.
- As a new report on summer moviegoing from the Cinema Foundation argues, this may not be good news for the rest of the economy.
- The survey of 1,500 customers notes that 30% of respondents say that theaters were the best value experience for their money compared to music concerts, sports events, amusement parks, and live theater performances.
- While movies may be recovering from low pandemic sales, it may be a sign that audiences are seeking cheaper entertainment due to tighter wallets.
Why It’s News
The theatrical experience has made a notable comeback since late 2021 when movie theaters began to slowly open again and release blockbuster films again after a year and a half of quarantine lockdowns. Films like John Wick: Chapter 4, Air, Creed III, Scream VI, and Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves have seen modestly successful to highly successful box office returns. This is in addition to Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way Of Water setting box office records last year.
This has emerged at the same time that the U.S. economy has begun to slump. As we previously reported, the Commerce Department has reported two consecutive months of declining consumer spending, particularly on large purchases. This reflects overall negative trends, with high inflation, high-interest rates, and a tightening labor market affecting everyday Americans’ spending power.
The box office has traditionally been a refuge away from the challenges of economy insecurity, with box-office sales increasing tremendously during the last eight recessions to affect the U.S. People still want to get out of the house but have to choose cheaper options, according to Quartz.
“Consumers recognize that moviegoing brings the biggest bang for their summer buck. Not only does the cinema remain the most affordable venue for out-of-home entertainment, but it’s also seen as offering the highest value, according to our survey of consumers. The movie theater provides that great escape we’re all demanding and the chance to share exciting experiences and tasty concessions with our family and friends this summer,” says Cinema Foundation President Jackie Brenneman.