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Survey: Biden Economy Crushing Movie-Going Habits

AMC's new ticketing plan arrives as consumers cut back on entertainment

Be careful what you wish for, Hollywood.

The industry pulled out all the stops to bring Joe Biden to the White House.

Now, two years into the 80-year-old’s presidency, Hollywood is in severe belt-tightening mode.

Major companies are scrapping nearly finished films and dumping completed shows rather than putting them on the air. Disney is cutting 7,000 jobs amidst a budget-conscious plan designed to stave off future economic woes.

Netflix is aggressively canceling shows and cutting projects that seem more woke than profitable.

A new study shows how the Biden economy, burdened by soaring inflation rates and sky-high gas prices, is forcing consumers to cut back on leisure time.

Solitaire Bliss, an online gaming company, surveyed nearly 2,300 Americans from Dec. 8-20 on a variety of entertainment-related subjects. The results should scare Hollywood, Inc. coming on the heels of a disappointing 2022 year in film.

Two highlights:

  • In 2022, 3 in 5 Americans (59%) declined some activities with friends or family because of their budget.
  • 71% say inflation impacted their entertainment budget in 2022.

The survey also showed that consumers are less willing to cut back on streaming-style entertainment. That finding, combined with platforms cranking out new, feature-length content with major stars, also suggests fewer people will be going to theaters this year.

Plus, gas prices are climbing again, and while some economic indicators suggest modest hope for a brighter 2023 other signs portend trouble.

This puts AMC Theatres’ recent announcement in a fresh light.

AMC Theatres announces seat location pricing system: 'The better the seat, the more you pay' l GMA

The theater chain will change the way it sells tickets by the year’s end. Movie-goers will pay more, per ticket, if the seat is in a prime theater location. 

Budget-savvy consumers can pay less per ticket, assuming they want to sit in the front rows or opt for seats at the ends of the theater space.

We don’t know how audiences will greet the AMC plan, nor if other chains like Regal will follow suit. What’s clear is that economic factors will be far more impactful on Hollywood’s bottom line this year than the kind of movies coming our way.


  1. We USED to enjoy a night out – dinner and a movie – but with the absolute TRASH that has infested most movies for the past ten years and the ever increasing costs of a small drink and popcorn combined with idiots on cell phones – NO THANKS!! We still do the dinners and then enjoy an OLD movie at home – without the distractions of unruly nitwits! I’m 70 and remember a time when our theatres were full of people watching a movie and any unruly idiots were shown the exit! Also, the movies were worth watching! I avoid liberal indoctrination for FREE so why would I PAY to be showered in it?

    1. You’re spot on there. Younger folks would rag on you and I as being too old and cranky (I’m 51), but you’re not wrong about the moviegoing environment these days. If you couple the lines, the expense (gas isn’t cheap these days, the tickets are higher and of course if you want snacks those are already priced through the roof at the theatres) and the potential rudeness of other patrons, the “moviegoing experience” isn’t what it used to be.
      Back before cell phones, yea, the crowd might be loud or rowdy before the lights went down, but 99% of the time, the crowd quieted down when the previews kicked in. Now you’ve got jackasses on their phones off and on through the whole movie most of the time. I’ve seen more than one fight break out (and been in a few actually) over someone telling someone else in the theatre to shut up and get off their phone. PLUS! Man, what’s with people that bring babies into theaters these days? What the hell is that all about? I’m not talking about little kids that might be able to get what’s going on in a movie, but actual babies that would have no clue what’s going on up on the screen. It’s like they want to see a movie, can’t find a babysitter, and don’t care that the rest of us don’t want to hear their screaming kid. I’ve been in theatres watching horror movies and people bring their babies or way small toddlers in because they want to see the movie, and if their kid screams or cries, ah, well, the rest of us just have to suffer.
      But you’re right. The main reason to avoid the theatres these days is that when I go to a move, I want to be entertained. I can live with a bit of social messaging (generic messaging that is, as in be kind to others, don’t be greedy, universal themes like that) as long as you entertain me overall. But too many movies these days amount to nothing more than a “woke” lecture and if I wanted that, I’d go back to college or turn on MSNBC.

  2. I think I went to one movie in a theater last year? I spend my money now on buying old movies and TV shows on physical media. That’s a better investment of my money and time. There’s very little content being made now I have any interest in seeing. Hollywood lost me, they could stop making content now and I’d never miss it.

  3. Uhmmm not… it’s not inflation. It’s the woke BS movies and Hollywood elitists who can’t keep their hypocritical mouths shut on social and political issues and attack everything of moral value in America. You’re witnessing a quiet boycott and Hollywood is in denial.

  4. Disagree with Phil, two movies doesn’t make up for the rest. I grew up a huge movie buff, went to a few movies a week back in the day but haven’t been to a theater in over ten years and don’t plan on ever going back no matter the movie. It makes no sense to spend outrageous amounts of money for the ticket and refreshments only to sit next to rude people on their phones and such. The time it takes for new releases to go from screen to home is so short that there’s no longer that feeling “I have to see this movie” especially made true when factoring all the woke crap coming out. I have no sympathy for any of the venues and especially none for the actors who make it plain they have nothing but contempt for the general public.

  5. Top Gun and Avatar showed people are still willing to go to theaters to see movies, even with the trend toward streaming, which was hastened even more by Covid.
    I have a lot of sympathy for the mom-and-pop theater owners who have no choice but to put all the woke crap coming out of the major studios up on their screens.

    1. @Phil

      It wasn’t just Avatar and Top Gun. Superheroes, horror, and dinosaurs (Jurassic World) also could still draw a crowd last year.

    2. Sympathy for small town theaters.
      None for Hollywood. Barring TWO movies last year, it was (and remains) largely cr*p that isn’t worth lines and $7 popcorn.

      Well played, Hollywood. Enjoy.

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