This article on the pending Loews-AMC merger notes the possible reason why there have been 17 straight down weeks at the box office:
One thing keeping moviegoers at home is the comfort of their home theaters, Harrigan said. As more consumers invest in flashy home-viewing systems equipped with big-screen TVs, they decide they'd rather watch a movie from their couch.I'd like to point out that it's not just the big TV and surround sound that keep us home. We went to see Revenge of the Sith again last weekend (before it leaves the digital projector) and found the moviegoing experience, well, not all that pleasant. Even in a nearly-empty theatre, there were the sounds of people loudly munching on popcorn over the dialogue, the awful smell of the clearly unwashed foursome in front of us, and a woman behind us explaining every little thing on the screen to her six-year-old after he asked--in a screech--"What was that?"
"People still want to go to movies, but HDTV and DVR and DVDs have siphoned off customers somewhat," Harrigan said.
I'm giving up the ability to control the volume, choose the start time, and pause to go to the bathroom for that? I don't think so. Blame the patrons for your problems, theatre owners--the ones who scare away everyone else.