May 20, 2020

According to a Study 70% of People Would Rather Watch Movies at Home

The theatrical experience is great, but many people are now prioritizing comfort and ease over going out. 

While stuck inside during the coronavirus pandemic, I have been dreaming of going to see a movie again. Getting the overpriced ticket, spending another $20 on snacks, settling in for 10 previews, and eventually being blown awaybut more realistically just having a good time out in the world. 

But it seems like many people disagree.

A new poll shared by Variety from a survey of roughly 1,000 people in mid-May by sports and events analytics firm Performance Research, in partnership with Full Circle Research Co., says that 70% of you would rather stay at home than go out to the movies. 

“Just as the country begins to open up there has been a swing toward increasing caution, with a majority of Americans clearly saying ‘not yet’ when it comes to attending large public events,” says Jed Pearsall, president of Performance Research.

Diving into the survey's results and data in Variety is definitely worth taking a look at but suffice it to say the basic trend is that people prefer home viewing. 

I think convenience obviously plays a huge role in these decisions, especially among parents with kids. You can pause, rewind, skip ahead, and watch in your pajamas. 

Also, not to be morbid, but it feels safer at home as well. 

But how much are people willing to pay for the convenience? 

In the same study mentioned above, they asked people to quote what they'd pay to watch a first-run movie at home. 

The most popular price was $10, with 47% respondents agreeing that seemed fair. That's interesting to me because recently Trolls World Tour made over $100 million charging $20. 

But only 20% of respondents say they’d pay $20. 

19% of respondents say they’d only watch if the film was free (though some respondents could mean on a subscription streaming service).

And 6% of respondents say they’d pay $30; 3% say they’d pay $40; and 1% say they’d pay $50, $60, and (somewhat inexplicably) $80.

These numbers tell an interesting story. If you ignore the outliers of $30-$80, you can see the vast majority of people would watch something for $20 or under. The real rub here is that most theater chains take 30-60% of the ticket sales from the studios. 

So if you're paying $15 or a ticket, studios may only take $8. If they list it online, they take it all. So selling new releases for $10 is a profit for them. 

The problem comes in when a family of 4 pays $10 and you're losing the other revenue. That's why I think the $20 ticket is the most realistic price point to keep everyone happy. 

But a large part of my heart mourns the theatrical experience. While I know I'll see Tenet there to get the most out of the experience, it does feel like event films like that one and like Fast & Furious and even James Bond titles will be the only reason to go out. 

It's no surprise people will want to laugh after all this insanity, but I am very surprised to see drama on that list. Maybe it will encourage the return of the mid-budget movie, but don't hold your breath. 

While these numbers reflect what people would most want to see, I still think any Marvel movie or the Wonder Woman sequel would be welcome in the summer movie season.  

It's going an interesting turning point for the industry. 

Only time will tell how things actually go. 

What do you foresee happening? Let us know in the comments.      

Your Comment

9 Comments

I might get downvoted for the comment below, but it's my honest to God opinion.

I love filmmaking, but I don't love the theater experience. My very first one, was at the age of 7, when my dad took me to see the Star Trek: The Motion Picture in a summer outdoor theater in Greece. I loved the movie (which made me a lifelong lover of sci-fi), but despite the cinema being outdoors, it smelled of piss (I'm serious).

Now, in modern theaters, considering all the dirt and bed bugs in the seats, the sick people that might be next to you, the uncomfortable off-the-center seat that you may find, and the fact that you're not allowed to have your own snacks or drinks with you (I get sick eating corn or sugar due to chronic digestion illness), no, I don't consider the overall experience great. On top of that, I'm very short, so if the person in front of me is tall, I can't see the whole screen!

So I bought a 75" TV instead, and I placed two IKEA foot-on chairs very close in front of it. Every Saturday, my husband and I have front row entertainment. We can pause whenever we want, and we can eat whatever we want. I don't mind waiting 3-6 months for a movie to come to streaming. It took as long for me to see the latest Avengers, or The Lighthouse. I'm cool with it. It's not a race about who's first to a cultural event. In fact, waiting in long lines to be able to see a movie in the FIRST weekend it's out, sounds like madness to me. As if your cool status depends if you can reference popular culture to your friends ASAP. I'm happy to say that while my digestion sucks, I don't suffer from any social anxiety diseases.

I don't really miss the cinema experience one bit. Last time I went to a theater was in early 2018, just because the kids next door wanted to see "Peter Rabbit" (so I joined in). My husband hasn't gone to a theater for nearly 10 years.

May 20, 2020 at 4:11PM

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Eugenia Loli
Filmmaker, illustrator, collage artist
446

According to this study 70% of people are barbarians.

May 20, 2020 at 9:01PM

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David West
Filmmaker
1293

Wow. This must be the level of intelligence of the pathetic 13% then, I guess...

May 20, 2020 at 10:51PM, Edited May 20, 10:57PM

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DingDong
2119

The large screen of cinema was a necessity of the time it was invented in. It was the only way you could show films to a lot of people and make as much money as possible. Given the nonsensical view of some film makers we should also keep barbaric events alive like gladiator fights. The big screen was a technical solution to the problem of not having distribution channels to a large audience. But today? Everybody has (at least) one TV, maybe even a large one (like me) with superb sound which we can play films at any time on, be it from regular TV, Blu-rays or the internet. And we have laptops, tablets and smartphones, plus a myriad other VR and game devices for recreation. Monolithic and overpriced theaters one has to share with filthy people are a thing of the dark ages long gone. It's only kept alive by nostalgia and through a big marketing machinery aka known as Hollywood and the Oscars, both losing their appeal extremely fast.

May 20, 2020 at 11:08PM, Edited May 20, 11:11PM

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DingDong
2119

TV's are getting better, larger and cheaper. Image quality equal or better than most 2k projectors at the theaters. Soon you'll have a cheap wall screen any size 4k. Unless industry invents some sci-fi type of holographic system that can't be at home, theaters will decrease like big malls.

May 21, 2020 at 12:58AM

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Javier Diez
Director/Writer
190

I totally understand that the theatrical experience is completely subjective. Growing up in the Bronx, it wasnt uncommon to be into a movie only for a fight to break out and shutting the theater down. My wife ad I only go to certain films, mostly action adventure ones because those are the most fun to watch in large groups. But movie lengths getting longer means I gotta be careful drinking too much just beforehand and Ive definitely been too close to some obnoxious audience members, so really staying at home is really the way to go nowadays. I just bought a beautiful 4K HDR screen for 300 dollars and a great sound system. Drama, horror, documentary, those I prefer to watch those in isolation so I can really get wrapped up in them. Plus a lot easier on the wallet.

May 21, 2020 at 6:24AM

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Nicholas Ortiz
Director/Writer/Stuntman
227

There isn't a feeling in the world like seeing your movie on a big screen with a room filled with people. That being said, I can't stand having to deal with people talking, tapping and not having a circle of awareness while in a public place like the movie theater. These days my 65" Sony and 5.1.4 surround just makes me wait until I can get it on 4k disc and not bother with ppl.

May 21, 2020 at 12:38PM

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Dylan Sunshine Saliba
Cinematographer
360

"Roughly 1,000 people." In what universe is that a serious sampling? Across what ages/ demographics/locations/income levels? Non-story.

May 21, 2020 at 9:55PM

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Bob Byars
212

I'm surprised so many of the comments below are mostly focusing on the TV screen size. For me the theatre offers that plus amazing audio quality and volume. I doubt anyone has anything that comes close to the IMAX audio experience and even if they do, less and less people are able to watch films at the volume you'd want either due to neighbors or other family members in the house.

For me the big reason is people talking in the cinema, I pay to go there and get a fully immersive experience, so it's extra jarring when people don't respect that and cinema chains do nothing. But unless you live on your own, watching at home isn;t guaranteed to give you an uninterrupted viewing session either.

Theatres need to double down on what it is they're offering, an escape. Focus around the core tenets of the viewing experience and maybe offer social pre-or post-film gatherings.

May 26, 2020 at 1:33AM

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TJ
91