As certain tentpoles fall by the wayside this summer, there’s been an increasing concern by Hollywood that we’ve lost millennials to the digital abyss of YouTube, iPads, streaming, videogames and mobile entertainment.
However, a new report this morning from Movio states that this demographic — defined as those ages 20-35, and born between the early 1980s and late 1990s — are devoted moviegoers, accounting for 29% of B.O. spending, attending the theater 6.2 times a year, with over a third committed to exhibitor loyalty programs. In fact close to half of all millennials under 25 head to the cinema during a movie’s opening weekend, a share that increases to 66% for those over 30.
Such stats aren’t that far from the MPAA’s annual report out of CinemaCon. While that PDF marveled at the boom in teen’s frequency at the multiplex (7.3 times a year), it also observed that those ages 25-39 and 18-24 accounted for over 13M admissions at the 2015 B.O. combined, with each respective group attending the cinema 4.2 times and 5.9 times annually, the next largest demos after teens.
Evidence of the millennials out in full force can be seen at last weekend’s box office with Finding Dory. Disney credited that movie’s $135M opening to “Generation Nemo”, the younger set who grew up on 2003’s Finding Nemo, are now older and ventured out to see the sequel in droves. Per CinemaScore, between Nemo and Dory, the under 18 crowd’s attendance shrank from 51% to 38% while the 18-24 doubled from 9% to 18%, and the 25-34 demo upticked from 13% to 14%.
In Movio’s whitepaper “Understanding Millennial Moviegoers: A Data-Driven Playbook”, the theatrical marketing analytics company splits millennials into 20-25 year olds and 30-35 year olds, recognizing some sharp contrasts between the two. The younger set flock out to evening showtimes after 6PM more, visit the cinema close to 9% more annually than 30-35 year olds, spend 22% less on concessions and are 18% less likely to buy their tickets online.
In addition, the 20-25 year old set are more likely than 30-35 year olds to watch horror films, urban titles, young adult comedies and animated films. Warner Bros./New Line’s Conjuring 2 drew a solid 24% 18-24 crowd, and 25% 25-34 crowd in its opening weekend according to CinemaScore, demos which largely remained intact since the 2013 original.
The Movio white paper arrives with the following note, essentially underscoring that millennials are a fickle bunch: “It is important to understand that while they (millennials) do share certain characteristics, such as an interest in franchises and a desire for instant access to content, they are currently going through a transitional period in their lives and therefore may exhibit significantly different preferences and behaviors depending on which stage of this transition they are in.”
Below is Movio’s chart on millennial moviegoers: