To hear Hollywood execs tell it, piracy is the greatest threat the movie industry faces today, requiring extraordinary legislative measures to combat it. But there’s another, more fundamental problem lurking that the studios don’t want to talk about and isn’t fixable with legislation: the long-term erosion of movie audiences. Total ticket sales have been declining for the past three years, but the effect has been masked by a handful of popular 3D titles that carry higher ticket prices and raise total grosses. Without a lot of 3D in the market at the moment, however, the missing audiences are harder to miss. Where did everyone go? A lot of them seem to be playing video games, helping make Activision’s Call of Duty 3 the fastest selling entertainment product in history. It took CoD 3 only 16 days to reach $1 billion in sales, one day faster than Avatar.
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