Great Recession escape: In tough times, we go to the movies


Since the silent film era, a certain trend has held true: In tough financial times, people go to the movies.

That trend is now being seen during the worst recession since the Great Depression. Movie theaters in the South Bay and throughout the nation are packing them in, reporting sizable increases in ticket sales and overall attendance. Just this week, for instance, the latest Harry Potter movie had the biggest midnight opening ever.

"When people give up other entertainment options because they're too expensive, they go to the movies," said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for "During the Great Depression, moviegoing was huge. People need that inexpensive escapism, and movies provide it."

Indeed, attendance at the theaters this year has seen a surge of more than 60 million — an 8.7 percent increase from the first half of 2008, according to statistics put out by Combined with a nominal increase in ticket prices due to inflation, this new wave of moviegoers has shelled out about $5.7 billion this year — an 11.2 percent leap from the same period last year.



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