Where Did The Movie Audience Go?

Jack Valenti is getting a send off as he retires after 38 years heading the Motion Picture Association of America. But Michael Medved says Valenti has some answering to do. “Despite his unquestioned eloquence, elegance and charm, Mr. Valenti presided over history’s most disastrous decline in the audience for feature films. In 1965, the year before he left the Johnson administration to assume his plush position as chief mouthpiece for the entertainment industry, 44 million Americans went out to the movies every week. A mere four years later, that number had collapsed to 17.5 million. In other words, some potent, puzzling force drove more than half of the nation’s film fans to break the habit of movie going.”