A recent CNN article claims When Times get Tough, Consumers Beeline to the Movies:
With "The Dark Knight" setting a record for highest-grossing opening weekend and "Pineapple Express" and "Step Brothers" also doing well, 2008 is on track for a record box office summer - suggesting once again that the movie business may be counter-cyclical to the economy.After reading that, I expected to see very different results when I broke down box office performance going back to 1980. Instead, what I see is a market that peaked in 2002 and is on pace to sell the least amount of tickets since 1996 (even with the massive turnout for The Dark Knight).
With the high price of gas, an average ticket of more than $7, and $5 for greasy (yet tasty) popcorn, many families do not see the value proposition...
Source: Box Office Mojo