Movie Revenues On the Rise While Number of Theaters and Employees Drop

Monica Sanchez | February 13, 2015

According to U.S. Census Bureau data released this week, the movie industry saw an increase in revenue while the number of movie theaters and employees dropped.

The data released Tuesday from the Economic Census Industry Series shows that total receipts for the nation’s film industry have increased $1.2 billion since 2007.

"Receipts for the nation’s motion picture and video industry—covering the entire process from production to projection—increased $1.2 billion (1.5 percent), from $79.8 billion in 2007 to $81.0 billion in 2012."

Receipt totals include ticket and concessions revenue, the U.S. Census Bureau reports

While the industry experienced an increase in total receipts, the number of both indoor and outdoor movie theaters declined.

Already diminished in number, drive-ins especially took a hit.

According to the United Drive-In Theaters Owners Assoc., drive-ins peaked in 1958 with 4,063 locations. U.S. Census Bureau reported 216 in 2012. 

Statistics will be updated state-by-state this year. 

With over 350 movie theaters total closing shop, annual payroll and employment saw cuts of 7.1 percent and 9 percent respectively.

While the industry faced setbacks at the movies, postproduction services—editing, closed captioning, animation, special effects, motion picture processing, and so on—rose in establishments, total receipts, and annual payroll.

“The number of establishments increased 7.2 percent, from 2,307 to 2,473. Total receipts went up 3.8 percent, from $5.2 billion to $5.4 billion, and annual payroll increased 13.3 percent, from $1.8 billion to $2.0 billion.”

For aspiring filmmakers, seeking a career in movie and video postproduction seems like the way to go. With a three-percent decrease in employment opportunities, however, it’ll be even more competitive than usual.