According to the Associated Press, movie crowds dipped to a 16 year low.  “Just what has kept the movie business in the dumps the rest of 2011 is anyone’s guess — though safe bets include the tight economy, rising ticket prices, backlash against parades of sequels or remakes, and an almost-limitless inventory of portable and at-home gadgetry to occupy people’s time.”
The AP did not use the word TV. I wonder why? My guess is TV has caused the downturn in movie attendance.
TV has recently made quantum leaps in consumer TV’s. I remember the first TV sets. E.G., 1948, a 10 inch screen, Emerson Console. Three channels, only black and white, live shows, limited commercials and a sense of wonder at having moving pictures in the living room.
The essence of a movie is movement. Whether on a movie screen or in the home, the essentials are the same. Sure it’s far better to see an action thriller or a mystery on a large screen with powerful sound systems and no commercial breaks but home TV has become Home Theatre. The AP article didn’t report on the number of movies viewed at home but it’s larger that the number of movies viewed in a theatre.
Most people watch movies at home on a huge digital set with a remote to calm down the commercials. TV’s with remotes viewed at home. That explains what happened to the viewers at the large theatres.