"What we do is go to the movies."

Reel Blog   

That’s a quote from a wonderful L.A. Times article on this year’s booming box office under the comically generic headline “Box-office revenue up for 2009”.

The piece goes somewhat deeper than the headline suggests, considering whether booming box office and increased attendance this year are economically-driven or if something fundamental is underway in the way people want to watch movies. It even notes that new social media technologies like Twitter may be powering positive word of mouth far longer and more broadly than anticipated.

The box-office boom has not only surprised many in Hollywood, but provided a much-needed source of revenue growth as DVD sales have plunged more than 13% so far this year.

And it has proved that despite a digital revolution in the ways audiences consume content, one of the oldest methods has not lost its appeal.

“When the economy is down, people start cutting back, but after a while they want to go out and be entertained,” said Ed Mintz, the president of market research firm CinemaScore. “Even at $10, or $15 for IMAX or 3-D, going to the movies is still a cheaper night out than almost anything else.”

The economy is clearly part of the equation, but perhaps something else is happening. I’ll leave Sony’s Jeff Blake with the final word:

“There was a feeling that the business was recession-proof, but this is more than that,” said Jeff Blake, vice chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

“This is people rediscovering going to the movies.”