SBD/March 1, 2011/Research and Ratings

Back To The Future: Older Demo Returning To Movie Theaters

Over the last few months, "an older audience has made a startling reassertion of its multiplex power," according to Barnes & Cieply of the N.Y. TIMES. New data from media research firm GfK MRI indicates that "while the percentage of moviegoers in the older population remains relatively small, the actual number of older moviegoers is growing explosively" -- up 67% since '95. Fox Searchlight co-President Nancy Utley said, "There is an older audience that is growing, and it's an underserved audience, which makes for an obvious and important opportunity." Barnes & Cieply noted that data also showed the "very young still go to the movies more than anyone else -- especially on those all-important opening weekends -- but distribution executives say they are getting harder to lure in huge numbers." Those in the 18-24 demographic "bought an average of seven tickets per person in 2010, down from eight in 2009." Data from the Motion Picture Association of America shows that in '10, "North Americans ages 12 to 24 made up only 18 percent of the population, but bought 32 percent of the 1.34 billion tickets sold." By contrast, "people over 50 made up 32 percent of the population, but bought only 21 percent of the tickets" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/26).

PROPORTION OF POPULATION VS. MOVIE TICKET BUYERS
IN U.S. AND CANADA LAST YEAR

AGES 2-11
AGES 12-24
AGES 25-59
AGES 50+
Proportion of population
14%
18%
36%
32%
Movie tickets bought
11%
32%
36%
21%
 




NUMBER WHO ATTENDED MOVIES ONCE EVERY SIX MONTH
OR MORE IN U.S. AND CANADA
AGE
'95
'10
% CHANGE ('95-10)
18-34
43.9 million
49.0 million
11%
35-49
35.7 million
40.5 million
14%
50+
26.8 million
44.9 million
67%
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