How many movies did people used to go to back in the day?
A lot. A shitload.
This is an update of one of my famous and most popular old charts (which many people have since copied). Last year, for the first time since 1971, the number of movie tickets sold per American dropped below 4. That number, however, hasn't really changed much in the past 40 years, except for minor hills and valleys. The number was 3.97 in 1968, just as it is now.
The real story in the movie industry occurred during the quarter century from 1946 to 1971, when the American average dropped from 34 tickets per capita to 3.4. Yeah, you read that right. The decimal point moved one place to the left. That 1946 number represents 34 tickets sold for every single American, including infants and the institutionalized, so it's fair to say that the average adult American went to a movie every week. Of course in 1946 the average American spent no hours per week watching television, compared to 30+ today, so movies were just about the only game in town.