Who Goes to the Movies?


Source:  MPAA U.S./Canada Theatrical Market Statistics, Attendance Demographics for 2012, March 2013.

All of these figures apply to Americans and Canadians seeing movies in theaters in 2012, the last year for which statistics are available. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) will publish a new study of movie attendance in March 2014.

According to the MPAA, the population of the United States and Canada totaled 331.7 million people.

All Moviegoers by Age Group, 2012

 

AGE

PERCENTAGE

OF MOVIEGOERS

PERCENTAGE

OF POPULATION

2-11

14%

14%

12-17

11%

8%

18-24

13%

10%

25-39

23%

20%

40-49

14%

14%

50-59

12%

14%

60+

13%

20%

 

Most Frequent Moviegoers by Age Group, 2012

 

AGE

PERCENTAGE

OF MOVIEGOERS

PERCENTAGE

OF POPULATION

2-11

7%

14%

12-17

15%

8%

18-24

21%

10%

25-39

24%

20%

40-49

14%

14%

50-59

8%

14%

60+

11%

20%

 The movie audience in the U.S. and Canada is getting slightly older, with a few more older people age 60 and up going to movies (see “All Moviegoers by Age Group”). Meanwhile, teenagers and seniors are going less frequently, young adults age 18-24 and adults age 40-49 are going more frequently, and children age 2-11 are going to about the same number of movies (when compared to last year).

 Even so, the age groups that also include parents and their children, 2-39, make up 61% of all moviegoers, but only 52% of the U.S./Canadian population, according to the MPAA. Also, moviegoers age 18-39 make up the bulk of frequent moviegoers, 45% percent, compared to 36% for frequent moviegoers aged 12-24 and 22% for frequent moviegoers aged 2-17, according to the chart titled “Most Frequent Moviegoers by Age Group.”

Finally, the MPAA estimates there are about 41.4 million frequent moviegoers in the United States and Canada.

Here, it is very interesting to note that, instead of peaking between the ages of 18-24, as was typical, frequent moviegoing was still peaking at ages 25-39 in 2012, when a significant 9.9 million frequent moviegoers were aged 25-39 but only 8.7 million frequent moviegoers were aged 18-24, 6.3 million aged 12-17, and 2.8 million aged 2-11. Compared to recent years, however, 2012 saw an increase in the number of frequent moviegoers in the U.S. and Canada across the board.

Admissions by Rate of Moviegoing, 2012

FREQUENCY

PAID ADMISSIONS

Frequent (12+ a yr.)

57%

Occasional (2-11 a yr.)

41%

Infrequent (1 or less)

2%

 

Admissions by Rate of Moviegoing, 2011

FREQUENCY

PAID ADMISSIONS

Frequent (12+ a yr.)

50%

Occasional (2-11 a yr.)

48%

Infrequent (1 or less)

2%

 

Those who habitually see movies in the U.S. and Canada accounted for 57% of total tickets sold in 2012. This is a significant percentage increase of decline of 14% compared to 2011, but a decrease of 31.3%, when 83% of total ticket sales were frequent moviegoers. The percent of occasional moviegoers decreased nearly 14.6% in 2012 compared to 2011.

It’s too early to see this last number as a new trend. However, skyrocketing ticket prices have had a bad effect on moviegoing in recent years.

Frequency of Moviegoing, 2012

FREQUENCY

PERCENT OF POPULATION

Frequent (12+ a yr.)

13%

Occasional (2-11 a yr.)

46%

Infrequent (1 a yr. or so)

9%

Never

32%

 

About 32% percent of Americans and Canadians never went to see a movie in theaters in 2012, compared to 33% in 2011, 32% in 2010, and 26% in 2006. Of those who do see movies, only 13% go 12 or more times each year, 46% see up to 11 movies, and 9% people go infrequently, about one movie each year.

Tickets Sold Among the Sexes, 2012

SEX

TICKETS SOLD

Males

50%

Females

50%

 

According to the MPAA, females purchased much fewer movie tickets in 2012, 2011, and 2010 in the U.S. and Canada compared to 2009, going from 55% of movie tickets sold to 50% of tickets sold. Males purchased more tickets in 2012, 2011, and 2010 compared to 2009, from 45% of the tickets sold to about 50%.

Tickets Sold by Ethnicity, 2012

RACE

TICKETS SOLD

PERCENT OF POPULATION

White

56%

64%

Hispanic

26%

17%

Black

11%

12%

Other

7%

7%

Tickets Sold by Ethnicity, 2011

RACE

TICKETS SOLD

PERCENT OF POPULATION

White

58%

65%

Hispanic

22%

16%

Black

11%

12%

Other

9%

7%

 Hispanics bought a higher percentage of tickets in 2012 (26%) (up from 22% in 2011). However, they bought fewer tickets in 2011 than in 2010. They still have the highest moviegoing per capita compared to whites and blacks, 6.4 per capital compared to 3.8 per capital for blacks and 3.6 per capita for whites.

Although the percentage of whites buying movie tickets decreased slightly, ticket sales among whites in the U.S. and Canada increased slightly in 2012, from 750 million tickets in 2010 and 742 million in 2011 to 760 million tickets in 2012. They bought about 909 million tickets in 2007 and 845 million in 2009, according to MPAA reports.

Meanwhile, internationally, box office for all movies outside the U.S. and Canada increased overall about 6.7% in 2012, compared to a 6.7% increase in 2011 and an 11.7% increase in 2010. Also, an increase in box office occurred among moviegoers in Latin America, going from $2.6 billion to $2.8 billion, nearly 7.7%. However, Asia Pacific saw a 15.56% increase, from $9 billion to $10.4 billion!

Finally, for the third year in a row, box office in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa continued to decrease in 2012, accounted for less than half (45%) of the total international box office.

Note:  Box office numbers for 2013 are published elsewhere in this Annual Report.

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