While overall movie theater attendance has dipped in the US over the last several years, and movie theater revenues declined from 2013-2014, new research from Mintel reveals that estimated domestic 2015 revenues reached a record-high $16.6 billion, mainly due to the massive box office successes of Jurassic World and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. What’s more, 65 percent of consumers report that they have seen a film in a movie theater in the last six months*, and one quarter (27 percent) have gone to see at least seven movies over the same span.

However, while box office admissions account for 64 percent of overall revenues, estimates indicate that 2015 is the third consecutive year that theater ticket sales declined. Mintel research indicates that cost is a prohibitive factor for many Americans as expensive ticket prices (52 percent) and concession prices (32 percent) are the top reasons consumers who have not attended a movie in the last six months have stayed away.

76% of non-moviegoers would rather watch a movie at home and 41% would rather watch via streaming video subscription

Another 28 percent of non-moviegoers report that they aren’t attending movies because it is easier to wait and rent the film. Three in four non-moviegoers said they would rather watch a movie at home (76 percent). What’s more, two in five (41 percent) non-moviegoers would rather watch a movie via streaming video subscription, such as Netflix or Hulu Plus. It is only becoming easier for consumers to wait out a movie’s run in theaters, as the average window of time between a film’s opening weekend at the box office and its release on VOD, DVD or a streaming service is shrinking.

“After a down year in 2014, movie theater revenues are estimated to have reached new heights in 2015 thanks to the successful revivals of the Jurassic Park and Star Wars franchises. However, there is reason for concern in the industry overall as ticket sales continue to decline and consumers remain deterred by high ticket prices,” said Dana Macke, Lifestyles & Leisure Analyst at Mintel. “Facing increased pressure from within the market and now from streaming video services, major theater chains are retooling their offerings and maximizing revenues in areas they have been less reliant on in the past. To appeal to consumers, theaters are providing a more luxurious all-around experience by replacing old stadium-seating with recliners and expanding menus to include full meal courses, complete with alcoholic beverages.”

While cost plays a major role in why non-moviegoers do not visit movie theaters, moviegoers display less concern over prices. When selecting a theater for the last movie they attended, 45 percent of moviegoers say they chose the theater because it was the closest to them, while one third say they chose based on familiarity (35 percent) and convenience of movie times (33 percent). Just one in five moviegoers chose a theater because it had the lowest ticket price (21 percent).

Movie theaters have long been associated with romantic dates, but Mintel research shows that moviegoers are much more likely to go see a movie with friends (29 percent) compared to going on a date (16 percent). This is seen among both single and married Americans, as 39 percent of single consumers saw a movie with friends compared to just 15 percent on a date the last time they attended a theater. Among married consumers, 24 percent last went to a movie with friends (vs 16 percent on a date).

“Our research shows that moviegoers are less concerned with pricing and more concerned with convenience. Moviegoers are more likely to be looking for the right movie at the right time instead of looking for greater value for the cost of admission. Mintel research also shows that theaters may have lost their luster as a date location, but as efforts continue to revamp the movie-going experience to include in-theater bars and social areas, cinemas could regain appeal as a popular date option in the near future,” continued Macke.

77% of parents with children at home have gone to the movies in the last six months vs 59% of non-parents

Some things hold true as movies continue to be widely popular with families. Parents with children at home (77 percent) are much more likely than non-parents (59 percent) to have gone to the movies in the last six months. Parents (38 percent) are also twice as likely as non-parents (19 percent) to have seen at least seven movies in the last six months.

Nine in 10 (89 percent) children age 6-11 report going to the movies in the last three months. What’s more, a full three quarters (75 percent) of kids report choosing the movies they see at least some of the time, compared to one quarter (27 percent) who said the reason they saw a movie was because their parents wanted to see it.

“Children often have a say in which movie their family will see, and our research indicates that families are going to the movies quite frequently, as parents are much more likely than non-parents to go. While many theaters have made significant changes to appeal to adult consumers, there is still huge opportunity to cater specifically to children through concessions and additional forms of entertainment for kids  to enjoy before and after a movie in an effort to bolster declining revenue streams,” concluded Macke.

*Figures based on research conducted during the six months leading to August 2015

Press copies of the Movie Theaters US 2015 report and interviews with Dana Macke, Lifestyles & Leisure Analyst, are available on request from the press office.

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