U.S. movie admissions slid 2.5% in the second quarter of 2019 to 347.8 million, with box office receipts declining 3.8% to $3.22 billion on the heels of a record-setting year, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) reported Thursday.
The overall ticket price for the quarter slipped 1.3%, or 12 cents, to $9.26, compared to the same quarter in 2018. NATO’s Patrick Corcoran noted that the average price has gone down year over year for the last four quarters, driven by younger moviegoers using subscription programs.
“We may be seeing the effects of subscription programs combined with the product mix in this quarter,” he added.
NATO noted that despite the declining numbers, the second quarter represented a substantially better performance than the dismal first quarter, which saw admissions plunge 14.8% while box office was down 16.19%.
The second quarter declines came despite strong performances by a quartet of Disney movies: “Avengers: Endgame” with $852.4 million, “Captain Marvel” with $426.8 million, “Toy Story 4” with $354.4 million and “Aladdin” with $334 million. All four took in nearly all of their North American grosses during the second quarter.
It’s unlikely that 2019 will match last year’s record for North American box office grosses, which surged 6.9% in 2018 to $11.85 billion. The average 2018 ticket price increased 1.6% from $8.97 to $9.11.
The NATO report also showed that the biggest demographic groups were in the 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 groups, which accounted for about half of total moviegoing revenues in the second quarter with 26.6% and 23.4% respectively.