US Movie box office receipts for 2011 was down 3.5% compared to 2010, with the fewest number of tickets sold in 16 years, but critic and film expert Rober Ebert has refused to blame web piracy for the decline.
Box office revenue, which still exceeded $10 billion dollars, has been on the climb in the last few years, breaking records along the way. But even during these good times, Hollywood studios have been lobbying the US government, and governments around the world, to adopt tougher copyright laws to deal with copyright infringement, and will most likely use these latest set of bad results to further push their agenda.
But Ebert says 2011's failure is down to 6 major factors, none of which relates to Internet piracy.
First and foremost, Ebert blames the 3.5% decline in revenue on the lack of a major blockbuster the like of The Dark Knight or Avatar in the previous years.
Greedy studios and cinemas charging too much for movie tickets and refreshment is also on Ebert's hit-list, with high premiums for 3D tickets particularly offending the movie critic veteran, who has been reviewing movies since 1967.
Ebert's last couple of points concentrate on choice, in that movie lovers now have more choice than ever when it comes to how they watch their movies. Whether it's at home on their large screen TVs, or via Netflix and (legal) Internet delivery options, moviegoers no longer have to put up with noisy kids, or interrupting cell phones, at cinemas that have begun to relax rules in a bid to get more people through the doors. And choice isn't only in the viewing platform, but also the choice of different types of content, with Ebert pointing out indie, documentary and foreign film showings all recorded positive results in 2011.
While most of these issues won't be addressed in 2012, the release of The Hobbit, The Dark Knight Rises, Prometheus and the new Bond film, Skyfall should at least address one of the concerns, and push 2012 box office figures back into record territory.