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Study: Millennial Moviegoing Changes Dramatically After Age 30

Millennials aren’t a monolithic group when it comes to watching movies, a new study finds.

The catchall term for the denizens of Generation Y usually comprises people born between the early 1980s to the late 1990s. It’s a wide age gap, whose members exhibit widely different theater-going habits. Data analytics firm Movio crunched the attendance numbers and found that millennials under 25 visit the movies 8.5% more frequently than those over the age of 30.

There are also certain genres that have more appeal to that age group than others. Moviegoers under 25 are twice as likely to see a horror film as those over 30, 25% more likely to see a young adult comedy, and 13% less likely to have seen an animated film. They also are 45% less inclined to check out a drama and 52% less amenable to an indie production.

“We bundle them in one bucket, but the data suggests that as they get older they behave differently,” said Movio Chief Executive and Co-Founder Will Palmer.

Even though audiences in the under 25 age group contribute more to the overall box office, they are tighter in other ways. They spend 22% less on concessions each time they visit, tend to only buy tickets for themselves instead of say a family, and are 27% more likely to opt for 3D showings over 2D showings, which tend to cost less. Overall, they spend 7% less during each stint at a cinema than the over 30 crowd.

Interestingly, the gender differences in visitation frequency remain relatively constant over the entire age range. The gap between women’s and men’s average tickets per visit increases as Millennials age, presumably due to the fact that women would be more likely to take children to the movies.

There’s a gender gap in viewing habits. Millennial women comprise 17% of cinema loyalty program members, while men in that age group account for 13% of members.

There have been widespread fears that millennial audiences are abandoning movies for streaming services like Netflix and video games. Those entertainment options may be siphoning off some customers, but the group visits theaters an average of  6.2 times a year and, accounts for 29% of box office spending.

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