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Older Moviegoers Have Box Office Clout, AARP Study Shows

U.S. moviegoers who are at least 50 years old comprise more than 30% of all admissions, a new survey by the AARP shows.

The Helen Mirren-Ryan Reynolds drama “Women in Gold” was a particular favorite among older moviegoers, who comprised 82% of its audience.

Similarly, the over-50 audience comprised 57% of the moviegoers who attended the Tom Hanks’ “Miracle on the Hudson” drama “Sully,” which generated $125 million domestically.

The study — dubbed “The 50-plus Moviegoer, An Industry Segment That Should Not Be Ignored” — was conducted late last year of about 500,000 moviegoers by marketing data analytics firm Movio on behalf of AARP. The conclusions were released Wednesday during CinemaCon.

Heather Nawrocki, director of AARP Movies for Grownups, touted the study as providing concrete evidence of the power of older moviegoers. “The 50-plus audience segment has disposable income, more leisure time and high loyalty to specific actors making this segment extremely valuable,” she added.

Movio’s research found that the 50-plus audience averaged 6.8 annual visits to cinemas, compared with 5.2 annual visits for the average moviegoer, according to the most recent MPAA data. The research also show that the older demographic was responsible for 75% of all visits at art-house movies; 56% of Christian films and 54% of independent film box office revenues.

Matthew Liebmann, Movio’s senior VP for the Americas, told Variety, “It’s a viable, vibrant segment because older moviegoers love going to the movies.”

It also found strong support among that demographic for “mature thrillers” starring veteran male actors such as Tom Cruise, Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan. A total of 51% the moviegoers who saw Cruise’s “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back,” Neeson’s “Taken 3” and “A Walk Among The Tombstones” and Brosnan’s “The November Man” were over age 50.

The research also found support among older moviegoers for blockbusters such as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” with 50-plus viewers making up 27% of  the total audience.

Finally, older moviegoers comprised an impressive 70% of patrons attending movies prior to 6 p.m. “They can go on their own terms when there are less likely to be interruptions,” Liebmann said.

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