While movie die-hards debate whether “La La Land” or “Fences” will take home the Best Picture honor at Sunday’s Academy Awards, Hollywood is facing a tough reality – how to keep people coming to the theater.
Box office revenue and ticket sales have plateaued over the past few years, and even faced a slight decline from last year, according to The-Numbers, a site that analyzes movie data and trends. What might be most alarming is the lack of millennials choosing to go to the theaters; the demographic has seen a steady drop in admissions since 2012, according to a recent report from the MPAA.
The decreasing amount of millennial moviegoers isn't news to Hollywood producer and CEO of Lin Pictures Dan Lin. Lin specifically targeted the millennial demographic while producing the LEGO Batman movie, the second in a series of films following the LEGO movie, which topped the box office for two straight weekends after its release earlier this month.
“There’s just so much competition for eyeballs. You know I look at millennials who work in my office and they’re constantly on social media, they’re watching movies on their phones, they don’t necessarily go to the theater that much – it [must] be a big event to go,” Lin said.
And as millennials turn away from the traditional movie experience, streaming services are thriving.
Between Q4 2014 and Q4 2016, the total number of domestic online streaming subscriptions increased 26.3 percent, according to Netflix data. Netflix subscriptions alone rose nearly 11 percent.
In 2014, over 40 percent of U.S. households used some type of streaming services, according to a Nielsen report. And in 2016 during a conference in Las Vegas, Nielsen revealed that number rose to 52 percent according to The Wall Sreet Journal.
But rather than viewing cord-cutting and streaming services as the impending doom of the big screen, Lin said he is “fully embracing” the technology.
“I believe they can coexist, that streaming services and movies can coexist. Services like Netflix are great for our business because they just encourage that type of great story telling, great filmmaking that then encourages studios to take bigger risks,” Lin said.
He even has plans in the future to build a “combination of a live action and animation Pixar in Los Angeles.”
“You know the movie business is tougher than ever, it’s flattening out, some say it’s declining, technology is really challenging us. But the one thing that I believe that will usurp all that is great storytelling. So, what can I do to create an environment for great storytelling? That’s my focus.”