Moviegoers 50+ Make Up One-Third of Movie Theater Revenue

New AARP Study Reveals Moviegoers 50 and Older Make-up One Third of All Theatre Seats in The US and the Impact of Older Moviegoers on Movie Theater Box Office Revenue

The AARP study highlighted that older adults also demonstrate distinctive behavior around film release cycles. Movio research has shown this group is significantly less likely than moviegoers under 50 to attend films on opening weekend, with 60-percent of their visits coming after opening weekend, and on average, 15.2 days post-opening.

“A better understanding of 50-plus moviegoers can influence the entire movie value chain: from production decisions, to where and when to exhibit a movie and the most effective communication strategy to motivate their cinema-going behavior,” said Matthew Liebmann, Senior Vice President, Movio. “The ultimate opportunity is to drive incremental revenue for filmmakers and exhibitors whilst also enhancing the satisfaction of this vital segment.”

One of the most fascinating finding is how the 50-plus moviegoer has helped establish an emerging genre referred to as “mature thrillers” which includes action-driven films starring veteran male actors.

The AARP Study Findings

  • Moviegoers age 50+ make up 31% of all moviegoers over 14 and account for thirty-two percent (32%) of all domestic cinema visits. As a whole, they visit the cinema approximately two percent (2%) more than the general population.
  • Moviegoers age 50+ see an average of 6.8 movies annually, and those over 65 see an average of 7.3 annually.

Older adults are critical to the success of several genres of film.

  • Older moviegoers make up seventy-five percent (75%) of all paid ticket visits to Art House movies.
  • They contributed to fifty-six percent (56%) of Christian film visits and fifty-four percent (54%) of Independent films.

Moviegoers 50+ drive ticket sales on movies that are marketed specifically to them.

  • For example, the average person aged 50+ who watched Helen Mirren in Woman in Gold attended the cinema 14.5 times over the past year, compared to 6.7 times for the average American moviegoer overall.
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey, Philomena and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel had similar appeal among older moviegoers.

Moreover, older adults have helped establish and support a new genre of film, Mature Thrillers.

  • The study found that fifty-one percent (51%) of the moviegoers who saw Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, Taken 3, The November Man and A Walk Amongst The Tombstones, were over age 50 compared with thirty-two percent (32%) for the total American cinema audience.
  • As a whole, older moviegoers account for forty-nine percent (49%) of ticket visits to Mature Thrillers.

Other Interesting Findings

  • Moviegoers 50+ also contribute significantly to the success of tentpole films, making up twenty-seven percent (27%) of their audiences.
  • Older adults are less likely to see a movie on opening weekend than the general audience. On average, moviegoers age 50+ see a movie 15.2 days after its release.
  • Seven in ten (70%) of older moviegoers visit the cinema before 6:00 pm.
  • Although sixty-two percent (62%) of moviegoers 50+ visit the cinemas on the weekend, those age 65 or older are more likely to attend on Tuesdays (17%) and Wednesdays (10%) than younger adults.

This white paper was written by Movio on behalf of AARP. Analyses were conducted using Movio’s Movio Media Database and based on a sample of 500,000 U.S. moviegoers who viewed at least one film between August 1, 2015 and August 1, 2016. Quotas were applied to the sampling procedure to ensure demographic distribution that aligned with those cited in the MPAA 2015 Theatrical Market Statistics report.


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