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Hispanics power box office, with 25% of U.S. admissions

Attendance per person declined slightly in 2012, according to Nielsen

Hispanics continue to be America’s driving force at the multiplex, as the demographic accounted for 25% of Stateside admissions last year, according to a 2012 market report released Tuesday by Nielsen National Research Group.

Meanwhile, attendance per person for new releases saw a slight dip in 2012: On average, moviegoers bought 6.8 tickets per person vs. 6.9 in 2011.

Attendance among Hispanics, which represent 18% of the total U.S. moviegoing population, increased 12% from 8.5 million in 2011 to 9.5 million last year, repping the largest year-over-year increase for any demographic group. Admissions among filmgoers 25-34 grew 7%, while men and those aged 12-17 each increased 3%.

Also according to the study, 70% of Americans 12 and up reportedly saw at least one movie in a theater in 2012.

Last year, the Motion Picture Assn. of America released its annual theatrical market statistics report, specifically highlighting the growth potential among Hispanic auds.

“Even in a down year for Hispanics, it is still the strongest part of the moviegoing public domestically,” said National Assn. of Theater Owners prexy John Fithian during last year’s conference call.

Several films last year saw significant boosts from Hispanics, including Open Road’s “End of Watch” and Lionsgate’s “The Expendables 2,” as well as scarers like Paramount’s “The Devil Inside” and the fourth “Paranormal Activity” installment.

The MPAA will likely release its 2012 report sometime in March; the study will include worldwide theatrical statistics as well.

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