How Hollywood keeps movies "recession-proof"

American audiences have been drawn to the silver screen no matter what the country's current economic climate uis. In the Great Depression, it was "Casablanca." Today, it's Harry Potter.

This summer's movie box office ticket sales are currently up 4.48 percent and attendance is up 2.27 percent, according to Hollywood.com.

Box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian, of Hollywood.com, said on "The Early Show" the main factors that keep audiences in the seats is quality and a following -- both of which are "recession-proof" commodities.

"If the movies are good, people will go," he said. "People fixate on the price of the movie when they don't like the movie. If you have a great time and enjoy that experience, you come out of there and don't say, 'I just paid $14 for that, I can't believe it, I'm not going back.' If you have a great experience, you don't think about the price. It's like a great meal. If you go to a restaurant and spend a lot of money and have a great meal and wonderful experience, you don't care what you paid. You only care when you had a bad experience, and that's why Hollywood has to deliver on every movie -- otherwise you could lose the audience."

Dergarabedian added films like those in the Harry Potter series will always do well because people love the books so much. 

"They showed up there with an emotional response, and what you want is an emotional response from the audience, almost to the point of irrationality," he explained. "In other words, they'll line up at midnight to spend money to go see these films."

Dergarabedian said "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," which did better than anticipated last weekend, has the draw of the original "Planet of the Apes." Other movies out, such as "The Help," have books that have a loyal, already-interested fan base.

'Apes' rises to top of weekend box office
Photos: Summer Movies 2011

"People who read that book will go out and see that movie no matter what, and that's what you need from the audience, so that they are not fixating on the price," he said. "They're fixating on the fact that they must go see something."

Other movies that have done well in the current economic downturn are R-rated comedies, such as "The Hangover Part 2," "Horrible Bosses," "Bridesmaids" and "Bad Teacher."

He said, "They're all R-rated, kind of raunchy comedies; they're just as escapist as something like 'Planet of the Apes,' because... you're laughing, you're having a great time, and you're in a communal environment."

Last year, the average ticket price in the U.S. rose five percent to an all-time high $7.89, and with so many other distractions available to audiences, from Facebook and iPhones to video games, are movies still worth the price of admission to moviegoers?

One woman told CBS News, "(The prices are) too high and concessions are ridiculous."

A man interviewed by "The Early Show," said, "My movie-going habits have gone from like once a month to like twice a year. "

"I like to go," another man said. "But $14 a ticket is just too much. It's a bummer.

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