Best known for registering opinions on presidents and policies, Gallup has turned its pollster powers to the state of the box office, finding that 48% of Americans say they go to movie theaters less often than they did five years ago.
As a statistic, it’s pretty damning for Hollywood’s film business — but people saying they go to the movies less is a very different thing than people actually going to fewer movies.
So here’s another statistic: Compared with five years ago, U.S. theaters are selling far more in tickets: $4 billion worth of tickets have been sold so far this year. Through this point in 2000, box office receipts stood at $3.25 billion, a 24% gain.
Of course, ticket prices have also gone up over that period. But even if you factor the nearly $1 rise in the average ticket prices, admissions have increased nearly 5% in the past five years, from an estimated 603 million in the first half of 2000, to 631 million this year.
The phone poll of 1,006 adults — of whom, it might be noted, 100% were at home when Gallup called and not out at the movies — may be more useful for figuring out what people don’t like about going to the movies.
For instance, just 19% said they would be much more likely to buy tickets if there was a two-year delay until a movie came out on DVD. That ranked below other potential moviegoing improvements, including better auditoriums and better behaved audiences.
However, 36% did say they would go out more often if the films themselves were better. But the No. 1 recommendation, according to Gallup, was cheaper tickets and popcorn, a step 43% said would make them much more likely to head to cinemas.