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 away—but 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.