Keller @ Large: Better Movies Will Fill Theaters

BOSTON (CBS) – How many times over the year gone past have you said to yourself or a friend or significant other – “Hey, let’s go out to the movies tonight?”

Not very often? Maybe, not as much as you used to?

You are not alone. reports that the number of movie tickets sold in 2010 was the lowest in the past fourteen years.

Why are people losing interest in movie night out?

During that same period of time, the average cost of a ticket nearly doubled, with last year’s 40-cent per ticket increase being the biggest one-year jump ever.

Add in gas, food, maybe parking, and it’s no cheap evening.

Meanwhile, without leaving the couch, you can order up and watch almost any movie you want at home for much less. Not to mention video games, TV, snow-shoveling, and other popular forms of entertainment.

No wonder only a dozen or so people were in the theater this weekend when my wife and I shelled out $18 to see “True Grit,” popcorn and bottled water not included.

Unless you’re a parent desperate to keep young kids amused for two hours or teenagers desperate to get away from their parents, why would you bother?

That’s the big question facing the movie industry, and what do I know, I’m just a lowly customer, who doesn’t go out to the movies as much as I used to, just like all other Americans.

But my advice to them is, make better movies.

“True Grit,” while too violent for kids, was a very well-made Western, the kind of movie that not only had great acting and a compelling story but also visuals that needed the big screen to really do their thing. Apparently, it’s doing very well at the box office.

Message to Hollywood: these days, if we want junk, we can get it more cheaply and conveniently elsewhere. Give us less junk and more quality content, and we’ll come. It’s that simple.

Now, all half of Hollywood has to do is look up “quality” in the dictionary and we’re on our way.

Listen to Jon Keller’s commentary here:

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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