Teens Are Back at the Multiplex Despite Texting, Snapchat, Netflix

CinemaCon 2016: According to annual MPAA market report, young people accounted for highest theater attendance of any age group

cinemacon screening room

Teenagers went to multiplexes at significantly higher rates in 2015 than the year before despite the distraction of home-bound entertainment including Snapchat, Netflix and texting.

Teens aged 12-17 went to the movies at higher rates than any other age category, accounting for 7.3 percent of per capita attendance, according to the annual theatrical market report from the Motion Picture Association of America. That’s up from 6.4 percent in 2014, a number that had been largely static since 2011.

“Those numbers really jumped out at us,” said former Sen. Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the MPAA. “They run counter to public perception.” While no hard data could be cited, Dodd ventured to guess that kids sought movies as an escape from the multitasking they do at home on multiple devices and social media.

He did not note that the reboot of “Star Wars” – which has taken in $2 billion worldwide – might have impacted this age group, though that may have been a considerable factor.

“They want to do something together offsite… experience something as a group,” he said during a Tuesday press conference at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, the yearly gathering of theater owners and exhibitors. “These numbers are encouraging.”

Eighteen-to-24 year olds came in second, representing 5.9 percent of theatergoers last year.

The report as a whole reflected 2015’s record-breaking year at the box office, accounting for $38 billion worldwide, up 5 percent from 2014.