Three-quarters of the US population went to a movie at the cinema at least once last year, reports the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) [pdf], and roughly 1 in 8 (12%) could be deemed frequent moviegoers in claiming to attend at least once a month. These frequent moviegoers accounted for an estimated 49% share of tickets sold, roughly 4 times their population share.
Who Goes to the Movies?
The gender composition of moviegoers was evenly split between men and women last year, but the age representation diverged more.
Adults ages 25-39 in particular seem to be keen moviegoers. This bracket, which represents 21% of the 2+ population, comprised a larger 24% of moviegoers and 26% of tickets sold.
The 12-17 and 18-24 age groups are also more densely concentrated in the moviegoing than general population, while the 60+ segment under-indexes in cinema attendance.
On a racial and ethnic basis, the MPAA study reveals that Hispanics are avid moviegoers. At 18% share of the population, they represented 20% of moviegoers and 23% of ticket sales.
Who Are the Frequent Moviegoers?
The study indicates that similar patterns apply to the frequent moviegoing population, which tends to be over-represented by teens, younger adults, and Hispanics.
For example, teens comprised 13% of frequent moviegoers last year, as compared to 8% of the population. And 18-39-year-olds collectively represented 38% of frequent moviegoers, as opposed to 30% of the population at-large.
Hispanics, for their part, represented almost one-quarter (24%) of the frequent moviegoing audience, a proportion one-third higher than their share of the population (18%).
Caucasians/Whites, by contrast, comprised a smaller share of frequent moviegoers (54%) than of the general population (61%).
How Often Did They Go?
The typical moviegoer bought 4.7 tickets last year, meaning that average per capita attendance (counting those who did not go) was closer to 3.6 tickets.
Per capita movie attendance was higher among men (3.7 tickets per year on average) than among women (3.4).
On an age basis, the highest per-capita attendance figures were reserved for teens (12-17), who averaged twice as many movies (4.9) as those ages 60 and older (2.5).
Not far behind, 18-24-year-olds averaged 4.7 tickets bought per capita, while 25-39-year-olds averaged 4.4 per person.
Children (2-11) – as estimated in this case by their parents – averaged 2.9 tickets bought per child. As such, children represented a smaller share of tickets sold (10%) than of the general population (13%).
Finally, Hispanics were the most frequent moviegoers last year among the races and ethnicities identified, with each averaging 4.5 tickets bought. That was slightly ahead of Asians (4.3 per capita), with African-Americans/Blacks (3.4) and Caucasians/Whites (3.2) lagging.
About the Data: The results are based on a survey commissioned by MPAA and conducted by Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) International among a representative sample of 8,087 adults, comprised of 4,045 men and 4,042 women ages 18 and older. The online survey was fielded from January 4-31, 2018. Where the respondent indicated the presence of a child or children in the household ages 2-17, the respondents was asked to provide estimates of the frequency of each child’s motion picture attendance, as well as the child’s age and gender.