Troubled Movie Theatres

A gradual recovery in business and consumer spending and the lagging recovery in unemployment continue to hinder demand for the Movie Theaters industry. According to IBISWorld industry analyst and report author Agata Kaczanowska, “enhanced cinema experiences, such as 3D technology and luxury theaters, attract a steady audience, partly counterbalancing low consumer spending. However, industry revenue is expected to decline at an annualized rate of 1.2% over the five years to 2012; this growth includes an increase of 0.2% from 2011 to 2012.” IBISWorld anticipates that increasing consumer spending, driven by disposable income growth, will contribute to revenue of $12.9 billion in 2012.

The Movie Theaters industry competes with many video product viewing and access alternatives, including cable and satellite TV, iPods, cell phones and internet movie downloads to computers and game consoles. According to Kaczaowska “this competition is a major driver for investment in theaters, but it has also spurred some companies to consolidate or declare bankruptcy.” Several major players have closed locations and made significant acquisitions, such as Regal Entertainment Group’s purchase of some AMC Entertainment theaters and AMC’s acquisition of Kerasotes ShowPlace Theaters.

Major operators are investing in digital screens, improved Dolby sound equipment and stadium seating. The popularity of 3D movies has supported these theater investments. Operators charge premium prices for 3D movies and offer an experience that very few people can replicate at home. Industry profitability continues to improve as admission prices escalate and attendance rises. However, promotional discounting still prevails, thanks to weak low disposable incomes and consumer sentiment.

In the five years to 2017, the industry will benefit from increasing personal disposable income that is expected to stimulate consumer spending. During this time, revenue is projected to increase at an average annual rate of 1.2% to $13.8 billion in 2017. IBISWorld forecasts that companies will continue to invest in acquisitions and digital and 3D technologies, keeping profit fairly steady during the next five years.

In 2011, the industry’s top four players are expected to control about 55.9% of revenue, influenced by the continuing consolidation of operators. This concentration has increased from about 45.9% in 2006, because a number of the major operators purchased many small and larger operators after their release from Chapter 11 proceedings. The major industry players are Regal Entertainment Group, AMC Entertainment and Cinemark Holdings.