moneyYeah, I know - you've heard, and it's old news. As we reach the year's end, however, the constant mutterings about low box office returns, shrinking audiences, and crappy movies can finally be quantified, thus giving the Crisis! actual numerical form. And, at least according to this morning's Guardian, the problem is very real: though prices today are much (much, MUCH) higher than they were then, the total number of movie tickets bought in the US this year is expected to be the lowest sold since 1997. Obviously foreign box offices are now very important to the major movie studios, but it appears that, even when those numbers are figured in, total Hollywood revenue for the year will be below $9 billion for the first time in four years.

No matter how you spin those numbers, they're bad news - but since we all know the grass is always greener everywhere but here, execs are already pointing to a massive 2006. The entire world, you see, will flock to theaters to see the brilliance that is Mission: Impossible III, X-Men 3, The Da Vinci Code, and Brandon Routh's package.