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Going Down?

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There is something missing at the movies this year. Butts. No, not on screen, although perhaps you didn't notice. No, we're talking about in the theaters. As in, theaters have more empty seats. People are not going to see movies as much as they did last year and the year before that.

Perhaps many people didn't realize that the summer movie season has started? Or, they are just not very excited about medicore remakes of classic horror films, like House of Wax. Even if they do have Paris Hilton in them. Or, they don't realy care about big-budget movies with stars that perhaps are not ready to carry a big movie on their slim shoulders, like Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever their motivation, audiences are finding other things to do than go to the movies.

If you look at ticket sales, movie studios threw a party but not very many people decided to attend. Maybe they don't like who was invited? According to industry watch group Exibitor Relations, which tracks these things, ticket sales declined 22 percent this year versus last year at the same time. That's a big drop which represents quite a few dollars, and for that matter, butts. And, overall box office is down about 11 percent for the year compared to last year.

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Also, movie studios are releasing at least a dozen fewer films this year than last year and the time it takes for a film to hit DVD is getting shorter and shorter. All of these factors contribute to the less than stellar business for the movies and for the people that make the movies.

With so many people in Los Angeles having their livelood tied one way or another to entertainment, how long will it be before this box office slump, if it continues, becomes a problem for them? If the trend continues, many of those people may be forced to look elsewhere to make a buck and that buck may be smaller than they are used to. In that case, they may be forced to spend less and buy less.

That reduction in spending could potentially have a negative effect on the entire economy of Los Angeles. With less money out there, other services and businesses could be effected. So, help save Los Angeles. Go out and see a movie this weekend.