My criteria for going to a movie are very high; I didn't see any of the LOTR in the theater, which horrified my family.
I think the young people, professionals, are keeping the big metroplexes in business in the cities. Disposable income. Then there are people like me, who go once every few years. I saw Star Trek in the theater because I wanted to see the special effects. DD goes to see a movie she likes, more than once. She paid to see The Hobbit on opening night at an IMAX theater, including waiting in line for hours. She plans to see it again.
My reason for not seeing LOTR in theaters was simply that I didn't want to be that close to the ugly parts. There's a lot of fighting. Oh and more fighting. And then another war. And then some creatures climbing a mountain.
But yeah it's like sports. As long as there are enough people to support it, to pony up the big bucks, then the pros will continue to make as much money as movie stars.