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Movie attendance fell 6% in 2017. Meanwhile, ticket prices hit a record

Movie attendance in the United States and Canada fell even more than expected in 2017, as the average ticket price hit a record high, according to new data from the National Assn. of Theatre Owners.

The number of tickets sold was 1.24 billion, down 6% from 2016, the trade group said Wednesday. That’s steeper than the 4% decline studio executives projected in December, and marks a 22-year low for the industry.

The association blamed the downturn on a historically weak summer movie season mired by multiple high-profile sequels and blockbusters that failed to entice moviegoers.

As sales shrank, moviegoing continued to get more expensive. The average ticket price hit a new high of $8.97, up 3.7% from 2016, according to the association, which calculates prices by dividing box office revenues by the number of tickets sold as reported by cinema owners.