Movie Theater Attendance Hits 24-Year Low, Ticket Prices Rise Nearly 4 Percent

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2017’s average ticket price was $8.93

The National Alliance of Theater Owners (NATO) announced Wednesday that the national ticket average for 2017 rose 3.7 percent year-over-year to $8.93, up from $8.65 last year.
At that average, the estimated number of movie tickets sold last year is 1.23 billion. While that is only a rough estimate that does not account for the higher ticket prices for premium formats and theaters in more expensive cities like New York and Los Angeles, NATO’s estimate is the lowest since 1993, when “Jurassic Park” was the top grossing film of the year and an estimated 1.24 billion tickets were sold.
“2017 highlighted once again the importance of a balanced, 52 week movie calendar,” said NATO in its analysis. “A record Q1 (in box office and admissions) was offset by a disappointing summer, with a range of sequels that were not embraced by audiences in the numbers we are accustomed to. 

Summer 2017 was 92 million admissions short of summer 2016. An unusually empty August accounted for half of summer 2017’s shortfall. Q4 2017 was nearly equal to Q4 2016, with 315 million tickets sold, compared to 319 million.”

Box Office Attendance decline
Source: NATO and Box Office Mojo

While annual box office revenue stayed above $11 billion for the third consecutive year, revenue over the summer season plummeted to 18-year lows. Historic lows were also reached for Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. The 2017 box office was a case of bookends, as the struggling summer sat in between industry record highs for March and September that were powered by family films like “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Boss Baby” as well as adult blockbusters like “Logan” and “It.”

Attendance has been on a downward trend since 2005, though small rebounds were seen in 2012 and 2015. A similar rebound is expected in 2018, with heavily anticipated films like “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story” expected to provide a more robust summer.

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Jerry Van Dyke, 'Coach' star and brother of Dick, dies at 86

 Aug. 25, 1992 file photo, Jerry Van Dyke, left, and his brother, Dick, laugh during a party in Los Angeles

by Mark Kennedy, AP Entertainment Writer
Jerry Van Dyke, the younger brother of Dick Van Dyke who struggled for decades to achieve his own stardom before clicking as the dim-witted sidekick in television's "Coach," died Friday in Arkansas, according to his manager. He was 86.

John Castonia said Van Dyke died at his ranch in Hot Spring County. His wife, Shirley Ann Jones, was by his side. No cause was immediately known.

Van Dyke had an affable, goofy appeal, but he spent much of his career toiling in failed sitcoms and in the shadow of his older brother, even playing the star's brother in "The Dick Van Dyke Show."

Until "Coach" came along in 1989, Van Dyke was best known to critics as the guy who had starred in one of television's more improbable sitcoms, 1965's "My Mother the Car." Its premise: A small-town lawyer talks to his deceased mother (voiced by actress Ann Sothern), who speaks from the radio of an antique automobile.

Other bombs included 1967's "Accidental Family," in which he was a nightclub comedian, 1970's 

"The Headmaster," in which he was a gym teacher and 1963's "Picture This," a game show that lasted only three months. He also joined "The Judy Garland Show" in 1963, to provide comic relief, but was fired at the end of the season.

"The show's writers wrote awful, awful, awful stuff," he recalled in a 1994 interview with The Associated Press, "and I was forced to do it. For instance, I had to come out and say to Judy Garland, 'What's a nice little old lady like you doing on television?'" He added: "And that was just the first week!"

In "Coach," he finally made it, playing assistant coach Luther Van Dam, comic foil to Craig T. Nelson's coach Hayden Fox. The two headed up a hapless Minnesota college football team, its follies aired from 1989 to 1997, and Van Dyke was nominated four times for an Emmy.

"I never knew what success was like, or having a hit series, or even doing something GOOD," Van Dyke told the AP. "Finally I got a job that I enjoy doing, that's not hard to do — and I get paid a lot of money."

Nelson, his co-star on the show, paid homage to his former onscreen partner Saturday: "I am incredibly sad to hear of Jerry's passing. He was such a brilliant comedian and we had a great time working together on 'Coach.' It is just devastating news."

Dawn Wells, an actress who starred with Van Dyke on an episode of "Fantasy Island," called him in a statement "one of Hollywood's funniest, kindest and personable comedians. He was a joy to work with. He will be missed."

Over the years, Van Dyke made guest appearances on numerous programs, among them "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," whose star had played his sister-in-law on "The Dick Van Dyke Show."

He also appeared on "The Andy Griffith Show," ''Perry Mason" and in such films as "The Courtship of Eddie's Father," ''Palm Springs Weekend," ''Angel in My Pocket" and "McLintock!"

His decision to take the "Car" role was one of two disastrous career moves in the mid-1960s. He also passed on a chance to play the title role on "Gilligan's Island" and to replace the departing Don Knotts as the deputy on "The Andy Griffith Show."

"My Mother the Car" lasted one season. (A New York Times critic cracked, "last night's premiere made a strong case for not fastening your seat belts.") But "Gilligan's Island" turned its star, Bob Denver, into a television icon and is still airing endlessly in reruns. Van Dyke said in 1990 that his brother told him "My Mother the Car" sounded good. (At the time, a show about a talking horse — 

"Mister Ed" — and other fantasy sitcoms were doing well.)

"I never asked him for advice after that," Jerry Van Dyke said.

He also rued the loss of a role in 1982 when he was up for a supporting gig in a series to star Bob Newhart, which would run for eight celebrated seasons. But Tom Poston got his role as George the handyman on "Newhart." In recent years, Van Dyke made recurring appearances on "The Middle" (where he and brother Dick starred in an episode) and "Yes, Dear."

Patricia Heaton, who played Van Dyke's daughter on "The Middle," tweeted her respects: "Jerry, you were hilarious and terrifically talented — what an honor to be able to watch up close as you and your brother create your special magic."

He was born in Danville, Illinois, in 1931, six years after his brother. He said he knew from childhood that he wanted to be a comedian, and grew up listening to the radio shows of Bob Hope, Red Skelton and others. By age 8 he had earned a reputation as class clown.

He had his first brush with acting in a guest role on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" as Rob Petrie's banjo-playing brother. "I came away thinking, 'TV is a piece of cake; I want more of this,'" he told the AP.

Van Dyke entered Eastern Illinois University, but his education was interrupted by service in the Air Force during the Korean War. He spent much of that time entertaining colleagues at military shows with jokes and banjo playing.

When he got out of the service, he took that act on the road, with little success. Eventually he followed his brother to Hollywood.

He is survived by his wife, two children from his previous marriage to Carol Johnson — Jerri and Ronald — and his brother.

Ridley Scott Defends Republican Tax Bill: Clever Business Owners Will Reinvest, Generate Economic Growth


Ridley Scott defended the Republican tax overhaul during an interview about his new film, saying the bill will result in business owners reinvesting and generating economic growth.

The topic came up as the legendary movie director spoke to the Denver Post about his latest movie, "All The Money In The World," which is based on the true story of a kidnapping in Italy in the 1970s.

"There’s a lot [sic] commentary in this film about the value of human life, class struggles and the role of wealth in society," interviewer John Wenzel said. "Do you think there’s anything to be learned from it at this moment in America?"

"Well, let’s take the tax bill," Scott said. "People say (Republicans) are doing it for the wealthy class. What they forget is if you get a clever, un-selfish business person—I don’t care if it’s a corner store or a big business—who’s suddenly saving 15 percent, they’ll put it back in this business."

"Then you’re going to get growth and therefore (people) will get employed," Scott added. "My concern is with the elderly, the infirm and the youth who need to have chances and shots for every level, and equality in education. But you have to use it. You have to get your (expletive) head down and use it."

President Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law last week. The bill, which was passed with only Republican support in the Congress, lowered the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent, in addition to cutting individual rates and repealing the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

Democrats have characterized the $1.5 trillion tax cut as favoring the wealthy and increasing the national debt, while Republicans say the overhaul will pay for itself with booming economic growth.
Scott is in his fifth decade as a director. His works include "Alien," "Blade Runner," "Gladiator," and "The Martian."