Number of Frequent Young Moviegoers Plummets in 2013

Number of Frequent Young Moviegoers Plummets

Bizzers assert that technology can nonetheless spur interest in films

The number of frequent moviegoers in the all-important 18-24 age group plunged an unprecedented 17% in 2013, according to MPAA annual statistics released Tuesday at Cinemacon, while attendance in the 12-17 age bracket also saw a precipitous drop off, falling almost 15%.

Frequent filmgoers from 12-24 are likely spending much of their previous moviegoing time watching a variety of other screens.

But Chris Dodd, head of the Motion Picture Assn. of America, sought to reassure theater owners that technology is no foe to the movie industry.

Though Dodd struck an optimistic note with his pronouncement that all ages have love for the movies regardless of how they’re consumed, his theory seems to contradict the statistics showing double digit drops in the percentage of younger frequent moviegoers.

“We need to keep exploring fresh ways of leveraging our new technology to drive traffic to your theaters,” Dodd insisted during his keynote address delivered Tuesday at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.

“We can embrace technology, and use it to complement our offerings,” Dodd added.

In support of technology, the MPAA revealed that those who generally go to the movies more own more mobile devices — 74% of frequent moviegoers have at least four tech gadgets.

John Fithian, prexy of the National Assn. of Theater Owners, said that diversity in product and experience are the key ways to combat the youth decline, though he added that watching movies — even on tablets or mobile devices — can be beneficial for exhibitors.

“People having lots of ways to watch movies is great for us,” Fithian said during a press conference after the presentation. “They’re embracing the culture of loving the movies.”

On the bright side, the number of frequent moviegoers aged 2-11 grew last year to 4.3 million, up 54% over 2012.

Fithian said by making the moviegoing experience more diverse, exhibs can appeal to auds of all ages.

“For parents who want a night out, the idea of integrating the experience (to include the kids) helps makes movies more accessible to people who have time crunch,” Fithian said.

When it comes to technology being a friend to the movies, Dodd is sticking to his guns.

“This notion that somehow you have to choose sides is one that I couldn’t understand since the day I started this job,” Dodd said. “The reality is that technology without content is just technology.”

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  1. johntshea says:

    All-important? Only for ageists.

  2. vee705 says:

    At a time when the economy is bad, the price to get into a movie theatre is far too high.
    Most of the movies coming out of Hollywood are horrible. Instead of making good films, they try to appeal to the widest amount of people. Hollywood ends up making bland films because of this.
    In other countries people are allowed to actually make good films. Hollywood looks for these good foreign films so they can make American remakes of them. The remakes are usually HORRIBLE compared to the originals. It may be good to look for good foreign films to remake, but how about letting people actually make good films here.
    Look at what other countries are doing when they make good films and let people do that here!
    Here instead of allowing people to make a good film, the producers here rationalize and make people do what they THINK will appeal to the MOST people. Making good films is what will appeal to the most people! Trying to make films that you THINK will appeal to the widest range of people is probably turning out of bunch of watered down films that people don’t care about.
    Personally I don’t want to spend ANY money on the U.S. films coming out because most of them have been so bad. I definitely don’t want to spend $11 when it’s 90+% likely that the film is going to be bad or mediocre at best. It’s almost completely pointless.
    How about looking at what the countries that are making good films are doing, and do that! Instead of just making the good foreign films into horrific American remakes.
    Make some good films and people may want to see them. Word of mouth may get people to see a good film. Word of mouth will probably prevent people from seeing mediocre films.
    Make some good films.
    Also, if films were $5.00, I may go see SOME. At $11 it’s unlikely I will see many or any (given how bad they’ve been lately).
    I prefer to see films on the big screen, by the way.

  3. LOL says:

    Yeah, way to go making all that superhero crap and then your core market not bothering to turn up. Thank heavens for the Chinese who can’t get enough of that trash.

    • Tracy says:

      Uh most of the audience for blockbuster movies aren’t old people idiot LOL. Also, a lot of international audience love these movies so can’t be crap if they love them. Old people can still see crap movies like Lincoln if they want, it’s not the end of the world.

  4. I Don't Go To Movies.... says:

    Why go see a movie in a theatre when I can wait for it to be released on DVD or stream it on my home theatre system.

    I don’t have to pay $40 bucks for 2 hours worth of entertainment.

    I don’t have to deal with people or lines

    I can pause the movie when I want to go to the bathroom.

    But the number one reason why I don’t go to the theatre…. 99% of what is made nowadays isn’t worth my time or my money.

  5. Movies are too expensive for this age group. And they’re often very long. Young people don’t have the attention span to sit through such long movies. Plus they have lots of cool stuff at home to entertain them. When I was young, we often didn’t even have a working TV in the house. We WANTED to get out of the house. And we could sit there in the movies for a whole double feature without getting bored. And, in some cases, stay and watch the whole damn thing over again. (James Bond movies, hello?) And there were theaters everywhere. Today, theater locations are no longer convenient to get to. If you’re a teen or young adult and you don’t have a car of your own, you may not have a way to get to the nearest theater.

  6. Carl says:

    How were these statistics gathered? I’ve seen lots of movies at various theaters and not once was I asked my age/am

  7. Its simple to figure out (1) that age demo does not have the disposable income to spend on a night out at the movies and (2) there alternative delivery systems ( Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, ITunes, Hulu) that can provide the content. As technology advances, and this group ages into older demos, it will be interesting to see how they consume movie content.

  8. cadavra says:

    Just more proof that the studios are chasing the wrong demo. We baby boomers love seeing movies in theatres; it’s how we grew up. And we have the spare time and disposable cash. Make more movies for us–and they don’t have to be $200 million CGI-fests, either–and we will show up. Are the studios smart enough to grasp this? I wouldn’t bet on it.

    • Tracy says:

      Of course baby boomers have way more money since you guys ruined the economy and the younger generations have to pay for it. Which may be another reason why less youth are going to theaters because of high pricing. And the $200 million movies are much better just ask the international market.

  9. tommyflorida says:

    Our culture is becoming increasingly anti-social, most of these morons have no social skills and movie theaters are just the coal mine. BRIC aside…

  10. tommyflorida says:

    Chris Dodd is the rabid liberal Democrat who gave us the mortgage industry collapse in 2008 – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Now he’s a Hollywood movie expert? Chtris Dodd and Barney Frank should both be in jail for 60 years after what they did to all of us in the housing industry.

  11. Rose says:

    No kidding. It’s very simple. I’m 29 and live in NYC. The theater is way too expensive, and movies I want to see are on iTunes and Netflix within months. It’s much more enjoyable to watch them at my cozy apartment on my own big screen with a bottle of wine and affordable snacks than in a theater that should’ve been remodeled ages ago with a room full of (annoying) strangers.

  12. Nanny Mo says:

    It simple, going to the movies it too expensive. And since all the theaters now have assigned seats? I get on and if all the good seats are gone, I stay home.

  13. jay Wilson says:

    There is a whole new generation of Film makers, musicians and gamers out their that need to be engaged! I have been in youth Marketing most of my career and can tell you that the content mix is off the new voices in Music, games and movies is out there and some of the cool brands are beginning to understand this. You will see a greater mix of offerings coming to TV and online in the very near future. Movie going is like the networks they will always be there but the cablers are on the hunt. The 2-11 kids have seen a few great animation movies coming from Disney, like Frozen and all the music from the movie becoming big big hits a marriage made in heaven! Also look at what Illumination Entertainment has been able to do with Despicable Me 1 & 2 and PharrelI “Happy” content with legs and vision! Great creatives at work! Over the next few years you will see the gamers revisiting total Entertainment with games, TV and Movie combos in new formats. It is a very exciting time for creatives!!! Turn them loose experiment and bring it!

  14. Maybe because all the movies last year sucked?

  15. johntshea says:

    ‘Time Crunch’ the movie! Projected at 96 frames per second so it’s all over in a half hour.

  16. Dmk says:

    Enough with the reboots. How many Spiderman s, Supermans, Fantastic Fours and X-mens can we see. Movies for adults please. The younger generation 1) plays video games 2) lives on social media 3) has no money

    • therealeverton says:

      Those are films for adults and they aren’t making them because they won’t earn. Even the overly expensive Man of Steel and Amazing Spider-Man made money; and more of it from “adults” than kids.

      ALL types of films for ALL of us, not just what a few think is all everyone should see.

  17. Spike says:

    when are you studio bozos gonna realize it’s not technology that drives theater admissions. it’s story.
    the youth demo is fed up with your simplisitc, shallow, empty, fx and explosion laden trash and they’re staying home and playing video games. i can’t blame them.

  18. R.l. Procter says:

    When you have a group of people who cannot turn off their phones for the length of a movie and actually watch the movie….you will continue to lose these $$$$$$$

  19. Tom crotty says:

    Unfortunately, the truth could be not that 18 to 24 does not want to go nor the quality of movies every year there are gems and constant standards are met however this age group as others does not have the disposable income due to many reasons that need to be dealt with before this is corrected, we need each generatation to be a part of this great industry especially from the cheap seats!

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