Who Goes to the Movies?

 

Source: MPAA U.S./Canada Movie Attendance Study for 2010, March 2011.

 

All of these figures apply to Americans and Canadians seeing movies in theaters in 2010, the last year for which statistics are available. The MPAA will publish a new study of movie attendance in March 2012.

 

Moviegoers by Age Group, 2010

AGE

PERCENTAGE

OF MOVIEGOERS

PERCENTAGE

OF POPULATION

2-11

15%

14%

12-17

11%

8%

18-24

12%

10%

25-39

23%

21%

40-49

15%

15%

50-59

12%

14%

60+

12%

18%

 

Most Frequent Moviegoers by Age Group, 2010

AGE

PERCENTAGE

OF MOVIEGOERS

PERCENTAGE

OF POPULATION

2-11

9%

14%

12-17

18%

8%

18-24

21%

10%

25-39

22%

21%

40-49

10%

15%

50-59

8%

14%

60+

12%

18%

 

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 “Moviegoers by Age Group”). Meanwhile, teenagers are going to less movies, and children age 2-11 are going to more movies, which bodes well for attendance at clean family movies.

 

Even so, the age groups that also include parents and their children, 2-39, make up 70% of all moviegoers, but only 53% of the U.S./Canadian population, according to the MPAA. Also, for the first time MOVIEGUIDE® can recall, moviegoers age 18-39 make up the bulk of frequent moviegoers, 43% percent, compared to only 39% for moviegoers aged 12-24 according to the chart titled “Most Frequent Moviegoers by Age Group.”

 

Also for the first time, youths age 12-17 make up less than half of that 43%. Hollywood is starting to lose the interest of the young teenage audience.

 

Finally, the MPAA estimates there are about 35 million frequent moviegoers in the United States and Canada, with frequent female moviegoers purchasing fewer tickets in 2010 and frequent male moviegoers purchasing more tickets.

 

Here, it is very interesting to note that, instead of peaking between the ages of 18-24, as was typical, frequent moviegoing peaked at ages 25-39 in 2010, when a significant 7.9 million frequent moviegoers were aged 25-39 but only 7.5 million frequent moviegoers were aged 18-24.

 

Admissions by Rate of Moviegoing, 2010

FREQUENCY

PAID ADMISSIONS

Frequent (12+ a yr.)

51%

Occasional (2-11 a yr.)

47%

Infrequent (1 or less)

2%

 

Those who habitually see movies in the U.S. and Canada accounted for 51% of total box office admissions in 2010. This is a significant decline of nearly 38.6% compared to 2006, when 83% of total ticket sales were frequent moviegoers. Meanwhile, although occasional moviegoers account for a higher and higher proportion of the moviegoing audience, that group dropped by 1% in 2010.

 

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

 

Frequency of Moviegoing, 2010

FREQUENCY

PERCENT OF POPULATION

Frequent (12+ a yr.)

10%

Occasional (2-11 a yr.)

47%

Infrequent (1 a yr. or so)

11%

Never

32%

 

About 32% percent of Americans and Canadians never went to see a movie in theaters in 2010, compared to 26% in 2006. Of those who do see movies, only 10% go 12 or more times each year, 47% see up to 11 movies, and 11% people go infrequently, about one movie each year.

 

Tickets Sold Among the Sexes, 2010

SEX

TICKETS SOLD

Males

50%

Females

50%

 

According to the MPAA, females purchased much fewer movie tickets in 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 2010 compared to 2009, from 45% of the tickets sold to about 50%.

 

Tickets Sold by Ethnicity, 2010

SEX

TICKETS SOLD

PERCENT OF POPULATION

White

56%

66%

Hispanic

26%

16%

Black

11%

12%

Other

7%

6%

 

Hispanics bought a higher percentage of tickets in 2010 (26%) compared to their relative population size at the time (up from 21% in 2009). They have the highest moviegoing per capita, seeing about seven movies per year compared to about four movies per year for whites, blacks and other races.

 

Ticket sales among whites in the U.S. and Canada continued to drop, from 909 million in 2007 to 845 million in 2009 and about 750 million in 2010, according to the MPAA.

 

Meanwhile, internationally, box office for all movies outside the U.S. and Canada increased overall 13% in 2010. Also, a significant increase in box office occurred among moviegoers in the Asia Pacific region overseas, going from $7.2 billion to $8.7 billion, a 21% increase.

 

For the first time, box office in Europe, the Middle East and Africa accounted for less than half (49%) of the total international box office.

 

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