Hollywood often produces movies that are a couple steps behind the times, meaning that with the recession now a year old we're almost certain to see a batch of back-to-basics storylines in 2009 like the just released New In Town starring Renee Zellweger, which is the story of a business woman who moves to a rural area and discovers a simple life. But where Hollywood storylines tend to lag the economy, movie goers as a group tend to lead the economy. So it was that the number of tickets sold dropped 4% last year, when film buffs collectively concluded that with money so tight they might as well make better use of their high-def home theater system. Watch for that trend to reverse. If movie ticket sales increase on a sustained basis (they were up a bit in January), it could mean nothing more than that there have been some blockbuster films released or just maybe that the economy is getting better. You can check for year-to-date movie ticket sales comparisons at ercboxoffice.com.