Are you an avid movie watcher? Where do you watch most of your movies? Between waiting in line at the theater opening night and waiting for a film to come out on DVD, there are a lot of options for movie-goers to see their favorite blockbusters.
Back in the 1930s, a lot of people went to the movie theater to see the latest silent film. Although movies still make millions at the box offices, the question we have to ask is: are these increased sales due to a higher ticket price or due to a higher population going to the movies regularly? Sure some of us see movies multiple times in theaters, but many of us would rather wait until it can be streamed at the convenience of our living room couch.
People Who Actually Go to Movie Theaters
Although Avatar made a worldwide gross of $2.7 billion in 2009, the next film on that list is Titanic in 1997 with $1.8 billion and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King with $1.1 billion. Does this trend with overall grossing mirror movie-going trends?
According to statistics, for people ages 18-49, about 10% less of the population in 2008 that age group actually says they go to the movies once a month than in 1995. Although the older population has a higher percentage relatively to 1995, when compared absolutely, they hardly make a dent in the movie going population. Overall, from the years 1995 to 2008 people go to the movie theaters 8% less now.
But Who Actually Prefers to Stay Home?
In all age groups, people would prefer to stay home more in 2008 than in 1995 in all age groups.
This is most likely due to the availability for movies to be retrieved right at home. You have to wait until the movies are out of the theater, but sometimes it's worth it.
How many times have you and your friends said "I'll just wait to see it until it comes out on video?" Due to streaming and renting sites online and through your cable provider, watching a movie at home is much easier than getting dressed up and going to the movie theater.
Another factor playing into movie-theater goers, is the cost of the movie ticket itself. From 2000 to 2009, the movie ticket has gone up over $2. On average people pay $7.50 per movie to see it in the theaters. In urban areas, movie tickets can get up to $15 for a regular viewing, and $22 to see it in 3D or IMAX. Most people see this as a waste of money, and would rather stay home.
Plus the old-time allure of the movie theater is lost. Now movie theaters are dirty, covered in popcorn and leftover candies. Unless you are going to a nice theater (which usually comes at a higher price as well), you are not going to be more comfortable (or more sanitary) than being at home. In the age of the internet, we are more likely to get our movies there rather than leaving our homes.