Fewer people are watching movies, according to Cineplex’s third-quarter results released earlier this week.

The Canadian entertainment giant recorded 16.8 million in attendance in their third-quarter report, down from 19.2 million this time last year — a decrease of 12.8 per cent.

“Total revenue for the third quarter decreased 1.5 per cent to $370.4 million, primarily due to decreased attendance as a result of weaker film product during the period,” said Ellis Jacob, President and CEO, in the quarterly report released Tuesday.

Top performing films, according to the report, included: Spider-Man: Homecoming, It, Despicable Me 3, Dunkirk and War For The Planet Of The Apes.

Over the years, Cineplex has expanded beyond the business of showing feature films in an effort to discover new revenue streams as consumer media habits continue to evolve, according to Gabor Forgacs, a professor at the Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

He said it is a necessary shift in order for the company to survive.

(Graph by Joti Grewal)

“The whole industry is built on an ancient model … Cineplex is an example of a company trying to figure out how to make ends meet, and how to stay relevant when in the 21st century we have so many other options,” said Forgacs.

Last week Cineplex announced a three-year sponsorship agreement to bring NFL games to the big screen, including the Super Bowl.

NFL games will begin to broadcast live to 15 participating theatres across Canada starting on Nov. 12., and will increase to 50 locations for the Super Bowl, according to a press release issued by Cineplex last week.

“We are always looking for new and innovative ways to entertain Canadians and these events will drive incremental attendance to our theatres and provide fans with a viewing experience on the big screen,” said Jacob in the press release.

Forgacs said it remains to be seen what this new partnership means for Cineplex.

“The only challenge is that this is a seasonal league, so in the fall you have a couple of months when the NFL is on, and then after the Super Bowl you have to wait more than half a year,” said Forgacs. “So, it’s not a revenue model that can generate a steady revenue source every week, and you have 52 weeks to sell seats and you carry all those fixed costs.”

Mark Rogers, an industrial engineering student at Ryerson, said he doesn’t know if the partnership will be as successful in Canada as it would be in the US, but watching a NFL game at the theatre is something he would be interested in doing with friends.

A response from Cineplex was not received at the time of this publication.

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