This was an interesting article. I have some comments, though not really a cohesive reply...
Eighty-three percent of its respondents said they were satisfied with the content of the films they saw, but 60% nevertheless expected to spend less of their income on moviegoing in the future, citing dissatisfaction with the moviegoing experience and the emergence of better alternatives for their time and money.
This is the thing I understand the least. I love the experience of going to the theater, I like the sound and the big screen and I like, as the author indicates, the communality of it. I can sit on my couch alone and do a million things. In a town like this one, where the bars are shite and we haven't had a good concert in months, the movies are a way for me to at least be *around* people in a public place, and for only 10 bucks. Not bad. My movie going has increased dramatically in the past year or so. I now see between 2 and 4 movies per month at the theater and another 4 to 6 on DVD (though some of those are re-viewings of favorites). I know I'm the exception because I see less and less people at the theater.
We're becoming homebodies. I know it's asinine for *me* of a all people to say that, who rarely goes out socially, but it seems to be the trend.
...another phenomenon has battered the motion picture industry, attacking one of the very fundamentals of moviegoing: the movies' communal appeal. Before demographics became the marketing mantra, the movies were the art of the middle. They provided a common experience and language — a sense of unity. In the dark we were one.
Now, however, when people prefer to identify themselves as members of ever-smaller cohorts — ethnic, political, demographic, regional, religious — the movies can no longer be the art of the middle.
In effect, the conservative impulse of our politics that has promoted the individual rather than the community has helped undermine movies' communitarian appeal.
This I agree with wholeheartedly. I had a coworker about a year ago tell me that she refuses to go to the movies, even ones she's otherwise interested in "because of Hollywood's left-wing agenda". It was a politically motivated choice not just to not see particular movies, but to boycott the entire industry. This is that niche mentality at it's extreme, in which nothing outside one's personal belief system can be tolerated, because tolerance is a form of approval. I was floored by that moment... it really brought home just how divided we are these days.
Anyway, I do think the industry is endangered, for the reasons above and a number of others. I haven't even the faintest suggestion for a response. The world has to change and i guess the democratization of media (which I argued strongly in favor of a couple of days ago) has some negative aspects we ought to be concious of as we move forward. Primarily, we have to keep in mind that the point of all these media is to connect people... if we're all just sitting in our living rooms, connection is harder.
The movie magic is gone