In 1946, weekly movie attendance was a hundred million. That was out of a population of a hundred and forty-one million, who had nineteen thousand movie screens available to them. Today, there are thirty-six thousand screens in the United States and two hundred and ninety-five million people, and weekly attendance is twenty-five million.
The industry is short sighted (as usual).
In 1946, no one had television or Internet. Cinema was how you "watched the news" and there weren't nearly the multitude of other entertainment options then as there are now competing for everyones money.
25 million people out of nearly 300 million - better than one in twelve Americans is in a movie theatre once a week. Not too damn bad at all by my calculations. Not when you factor in the fact that people are getting taken to the tune of $5 for a bucket of popcorn; $5 for about 5 CENTS worth of product.
Going to the pictures is EXPENSIVE. Lets see... I can pay $50 to take my family to go watch it in a theatre, or I can wait and BUY the DVD for $15 in a couple months and watch it any time in my OWN theatre. Hmmm...
Of course part of the high cost of a movie ticket is the costs of distributing a film on celluloid. Digital cinema will drasticly reduce the costs of distribution, but its currently stuck in a catch-22 situation. Theatres dont wanna pony up $120,000 for a DLP projector unless they have movies (besides Star Wars) to show on them. Studios don't want to bother with digital releases unless there is a substantial number of screens they can play on...
Blockbuster is NOT the end of cinema. Its the same song they have been singing for the past ~25 years. When home VCRS came out in the late 70's "Oh, who is gonna bother to go to the theatre when they can watch it at home?"
I think the days of the 35 bazillion screen mega-plexes might be coming to an end, and maybe somewhat of a return to the larger theatres with fewer screens.
RE: Is the blockbuster the end of cinema?