Audiences have been slow to get back to theaters, but those who have recently watched a movie on the big screen have felt safe doing so.
According to a new study from Fandango that surveyed more than 4,000 of its ticket buyers about their recent cinema experiences, 93% said they were satisfied with their return to theaters and 87% said multiplexes made them feel comfortable being back in a darkened, enclosed space.
Granted, Fandango has a vested interest in the revival of movie theaters, so the company is hardly an impartial observer. Still, the survey could help shed a light on moviegoing habits as the U.S. box office attempts to shake off a brutal 14 months.
“Moviegoing has taken a hard hit during the pandemic, but theater chains have done an excellent job implementing new safety features so that moviegoers can return to the cinema with confidence,” said Fandango’s chief commercial officer Kevin Shepela. “Our study shows that exhibitors’ hard work has paid off, with moviegoers thrilled to be back in theaters and excited for summer movie season.”
Theater operators have taken steps amid the pandemic to ensure patrons feel protected against COVID-19 in their venues. According to the Fandango study, 76% of moviegoers felt that increased safety measures, including social distanced seating and contactless ticketing, have made their experience more enjoyable. Though many cinemas are still operating with reduced capacity, 77% of those surveyed said they would feel safe inside the auditorium when capacity increases to 100%.
At the same time, audiences have been doing their part to protect themselves and others against COVID-19. Of those surveyed, 70% said they were vaccinated and another 14% said they plan to get vaccinated.
Though its a sample that’s likely skewed to the more active moviegoer, 96% of ticket buyers surveyed plan to see more than one movie in theaters with summer — with 64% specifying they plan to see five movies or more on the big screen.
Participants said the movies they are most excited to see on the big screen are Marvel’s “Black Widow” (July 9), “A Quiet Place Part II” (May 28), “F9” (June 25), “The Suicide Squad” (Aug. 6) and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (Sept. 3).
Fandango conducted its Return to Theaters study between May 3 and May 23. The demographic breakdown of participants was 65% between the ages of 18 to 54, with 56% identifying as female, 43% as male and 1% as non-binary. Roughly one-third of participants hailed from the western United States, with 29% from the south, 20% from the midwest and 18% from the northeast. Nearly two-thirds described themselves as Caucasian, while 22% were Latino and Hispanic, 9% were Black, 6% were Asian/ Pacific Islander and 5% other.