Movie attendance is way down this spring | EW.com

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Movie attendance is way down this spring

Movie attendance is way down this spring -- Last year's ''The Passion'' sold more than twice the tickets of 2005's top movie ''Hitch''

If the last movie you saw at the multiplex was Meet the Fockers, you’re not alone. For eight weeks, theater attendance has been down, compared to a year ago. True, last spring’s box office was goosed by the anomalous smash The Passion of the Christ, which sold some 58 million tickets — a near-impossible act to follow (2005’s top-grosser, Hitch, has sold 27 million tix). ”Maybe audiences are waiting for the big summer movies,” says Paul Dergarabedian of Exhibitor Relations. While ever-increasing DVD revenues fill studio coffers, theater owners can only hope the trend will be reversed by the summer slate — which accounts for 40 percent of annual theatrical earnings. ”Once Star Wars opens [big, on May 19],” Dergarabedian adds, ”this spring slump stuff will be a distant memory.” From his lips to Darth’s ears.