Summer movies are better and moviegoers want to see more of those star extravaganzas during the rest of the year. That was the message National Association of Theater Owners president Bill Kartouzian gave to delegates at ShowEast last week.

The NATO study, conducted by Yankelovich Partners, involved interviews with 653 moviegoers recruited from theaters in seven cities – Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York and Phoenix – in August. And while not a clearcut endorsement of a more uniform release schedule, the poll certainly tilted heavily in that direction.

Cinephiles cited

Frequent moviegoers – those who go to movies two or more times a month – comprised 80% of those polled. Among the overall survey group, 68% said that they wanted to see or had seen six or more films during the summer. Only 17% responded with four or fewer titles.

In regard to viewing trends, 37% said they go to the movies more often during the summer compared with 7% who go less often. The vast majority – some 53% – answered that their movie-going habit was about the same year round. Of those who do go more often, 61% cited the prime reason as more time while 31% said it was because of a great number of movies.

Summer satisfaction

The perception among those polled is clearly that there are more good movies to see during the summer with 62% responding “yes, definitely” or “yes, somewhat” to the question. Though 30% saw no difference in quality, a slim 7% felt there were fewer good movies to see.

When it finally came to the question of a more evenly distributed release pattern for blockbusters, there was a 48% preference rating. Still, 40% responded “no preference” and coupled with those who liked the summer- 10%- it resulted in a split decision. In contrast, 46% of the polled group said they went to movies less often between January and April to 7% who were more frequent attendees during the frame.

Finally, among those who said they wouldn’t be able to see all the summer pictures they’d like to (72% of the polled group), 51% cited time and an equal percentage said it was due to the overall cost.

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