There’s Big Business In The 50+ Moviegoing Demo, Especially During Oscar Season: Study

Paramount Pictures

Hey exhibitors — are you listening?

A recent Movio/AARP study recently highlighted that the 50+ age group is one of the more devoted moviegoing demos, particularly during Oscar season. During the period of Jan. 1, 2016-Feb. 5, 2017, those 50 and over repped 56% of the crowd for Oscar-nominated movies versus a 20% turnout for blockbusters.

Distributors, particularly those with upscale arthouse fare, often gripe that theater owners just don’t get it: The 50+ demo, though slow to show up during a film’s first weekend, eventually do make it to the cinema, thus yielding high multiples for movies. Too often, exhibitors are quick to push an older-skewing title out of auditoriums –even if the film is earning good money– for a new wide release, even if that movie is only going to last two weeks in the theater.

Sunny Pawar - LION
Mark Rogers

Those Oscar nominees that clicked with the 50+ crowd include Weinstein Co.’s Lion (76%), Amazon/Roadside Attraction’s Manchester by the Sea (71%), CBS’ Hell or High Water  (64%), Paramount’s Fences (61% — which also led with African American moviegoers at 30%), and 20th Century Fox’s Hidden Figures (58%). The Ted Melfi-directed movie also drew a similar amount of African Americans into the cinema as A24’s Moonlight at 21%.

In addition, the study assessed the top best picture nominees among men and women. Even with its mother-daughter-centered story, Paramount’s Arrival was tops with guys at 63%. That finding also correlates with the sci-fi pic’s opening weekend polls which showed a 57% turnout among men on PostTrak and 52% on CinemaScore. Hell or High Water at 60% was the second choice among men followed by Lionsgate’s Hacksaw Ridge at 58%. Women flocked to Lion (57%), Lionsgate/Summit’s La La Land (56%), and Manchester by the Sea (54%).

Separately, focusing on one movie, Moonlight, the study reported that 60% 50+ folk bought tickets to the Barry Jenkins’ title following its best picture drama win at the Golden Globes and its eight Oscar nominations versus 40% prior.

The rest of the chart is below:



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