When Hollywood celebrates the 92nd Academy Awards on Feb. 9, one “winner” won’t be celebrated: the box office. Global theatrical receipts hit a new peak in 2019 of $42.5 billion, according to Comscore Inc., and Avengers: Endgame became the top-grossing movie of all time. Yet the number of tickets sold per person in the U.S. also hit a 92-year low.
In 2019 the average American visited a movie theater fewer than three and a half times, a third less than the peak in 2002. The last time attendance was this low was due to a smaller number of theaters and films, not because of audience interest. Today, there are 44,400 screens in the U.S., up 16% since 2000. There are also more annual releases than ever before: almost 800, more than twice as many as in 2000.