Archive for Sunday, June 19, 2005

Most Americans say movies are becoming worse

June 19, 2005

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— Most Americans think movie stars are poor role models, and almost half say they think movies generally are getting worse these days, an AP-AOL poll found.

Australian star Russell Crowe's recent phone-tossing at a hotel employee is the latest in a long line of movie stars in less-than-flattering circumstances. Christian Slater faces charges he grabbed a woman's buttocks in a New York City grocery; Winona Ryder was convicted in 2002 after a shoplifting spree; and Hugh Grant was caught in a car with a prostitute in the mid-1990s.

Those concerns, combined with most Americans' preference for watching movies at home, suggest the industry faces challenges reversing a recent drop in attendance at movie theaters.

Movie stars just don't set a good example, said Earl Ledbetter, a movie fan who lives in Ventura, Calif.

"They just don't have the morals," he said. "They marry and divorce, sleep around a lot."

Almost three-fourths of respondents, 73 percent, said they would prefer to stay home and watch a movie on their DVD player, VCR or on pay-per-view. That's more than three times the number, 22 percent, who said they prefer to watch films at the movie theater, according to the telephone poll conducted by Ipsos for AP and AOL News.

Almost half, 47 percent, said movies are getting worse, while a third said they're getting better.

Hollywood's domestic revenues through last weekend totaled $3.85 billion, down 6.4 percent from 2004.

The poll of 1,000 adults was taken June 13-15 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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