Although revenues have mostly continued growing since 1980, movie theatre attendance in the U.S. hit its peak in 2002 at 1.6 billion tickets. Netflix, which launched in 1997, didn’t take off until 2004-2005, when it was still a mail-order DVD business. Prime Video launched a year after that, in late 2006, but took—and many will still argue is currently still taking time—to put up meaningful numbers. Then the iPhone launched in 2007. Far from any single factor, all of these developments combined has led to a diminishing reliance on the movie theatre, now unseated by the TV and increasingly the smartphone. Going to a movie theatre today is reserved for blockbuster movies from Disney and a handful of other creative powerhouses, or for the small indie movies among coastal viewers. Movie theatres, once the default, are now the outlier. The same transformation has occurred within the retail industry if you substitute theatres for stores.

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