MPAA’s 2011 report says movie business is booming globally but 3D is not

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has proudly released their annual Theatrical Market Statistics Report for 2011, and members of the MPAA have released a statement bragging of world growth – up 3% internationally from 2010 – claiming the movie industry is still one of the most affordable forms of entertainment for consumers, and at the same time brandishing piracy for stealing their works and threatening to undo the industry.


Meanwhile the details of the 2011 TMS Report are intriguing, as movie goers in the US and Canada went to see the silver screen less than they did a year ago, despite ticket prices remaining relatively the same (up 1% on average).

There is no doubt that the MPAA is doing very well.

For instance, international box office is up thirty-five percent, in US dollars, from what they were just over five years ago. Global box office for all films released in each country around the world reached $32.6 billion in 2011, up 3% over 2010’s total (PDF).


While this is a lot of pie to be spread around movie creation moguls and the creative people that work for them, the box office in the US – home of the MPAA and Hollywood, folks – has seen a 4% decline in their numbers, down to $10.2 billion from $10.6 billion in 2010. And the TMS Report that this decline in the US and Canada box office sales is due to a 4% decline in admissions.

The MPAA’s reaction to this loss is simple: in the 2011 TMS Report and the MPAA statement on the Report, aptly titled “GLOBAL BOX OFFICE CLIMB CONTINUES IN 2011,” it is pointed out that despite recent losses the US and Canada box office is still up 6% from five years ago and the preliminary US box office statistics to date, in 2012, are up 14% in a year with a number of blockbusters looming on the horizon.

A 4% drop for the MPAA’s home region might be a slap in the face, but it is a relatively small drop-off for them, when global sales have continued to increase and have more than made up for any failing enthusiasm at home.


Part of the US box office drop in sales may be due to the abundance of 3-D films that were pushed ad nauseam on consumers, despite an overall lack of quality in their filming methods, as the MPAA states: 3D box office was down $400 million in 2011 in comparison to 2010, which is not surprising given that 2010 included Avatar’s record-breaking 3D box office performance (PDF).

But the 2D sales remained the same as they were in 2010, which means that they did well and the myriad of poorly shot 3-D blunders cost a great deal of the sales to shrink. Avatar clearly accounted for a lot of sales, but there were barely any other 3-D movies in 2010 besides it, because it started the trend. 2011 had more movies and should have had more 3-D sales, because there were more opportunities, yet the public seems to have grown tired of the fad.

Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the MPAA, took the news of the enormous success of the MPAA from the 2011 TMS Report and then pointed to piracy stating: “online content theft continues to threaten the economic success of our industry . . . We should protect that success, not undermine it by stealing products and cutting the revenue it puts into the U.S. economy.”

Why the MPAA’s statement with regards to their annual report’s renowned international success, despite a struggling global economy, would conclude with reference to piracy and “stealing” is another proof that – regardless of your take on digital file transferring and piracy – that the US Senator and the MPAA continue to promote a witch hunt of any online pirates sharing a movie.

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