- If a theater only seats 100, and shows sell out, that's good. Indications are that the movie showing there is popular, and very possibly more could have been seated. If a theater seats 1000 in a large market, but only 100 buy tickets, that's not as good. Both count the same number of tickets sold, but there's likely a different thing going on in terms of popular interest.
Yeah but nation- or worldwide would average that out.
That's conjecture. What does it even mean in this case, to "average out"?
Once you've answered that, apply it to a different era, when there were far fewer theaters, like, say, the silent era in 1915.