Millennials account for 29 percent of box office sales, according to a new study that dispels a prevailing assumption that Generation Y doesn’t like to go to the movies.
The new data comes from film industry analytics firm Movio, which reported in a new whitepaper that U.S. consumers aged 20 to 35 visit the multiplex 6.2 times per year. The study focused on more than 1 million millennials who are active theater loyalty members.
Now the world’s largest living generation, millennials are starting to enter their prime spending years. As a result, they are of growing interest to big businesses — including the film industry.
Box office revenue keeps growing due to increased ticket prices — but overall attendance was down last year, and many insiders blamed people who spend less time at movies than other leisure activities like watching video on YouTube and posting to social media sites like Snapchat and Facebook.
According to the study, titled “Understanding Millennial Moviegoers: A Data-Driven Playbook,” not all millennials act the same.
The younger members of the generation (ages 20 to 25) are twice as likely to watch a horror film than those 30 to 35, are 36 percent more likely to have seen an urban film, are 25 percent more likely to have seen a young adult comedy. They’re also 13 percent less likely to have seen an animated film — perhaps because they are less likely to have kids of their own.
Older millennials spend more money at the movies. That group spends 17 percent more at the box office per visit and 27 percent more on concessions per visit. They also choose the more expensive 3D over standard 2D presentation 27 percent more often.
Curiously, the 30-35-year-old moviegoers buy tickets online 21 percent more often than the cellphone-loving 20- to 25-year-olds.
“[Millennials] are in a transitional phase of their life,” said Movio CEO William Palmer in a statement. “They don’t exhibit consistent behavior as a group,” added the head of the New Zealand-based company, which bills itself as the largest aggregator of movie customer loyalty data in the world.
The study also found differing viewing habits among millennial men and women, with men in the group much more motivated to see a film right when it opens, rather than wait for a few to several days.
Younger millennials also prefer to see movies on opening weekend — making up 47 percent of those in Gen Y who go to the theater in that timeframe.
The entire white paper can be downloaded here.