Research & Insights – May 2024

Creating New Kinds of Magic at the Movies

A trip to the movies is still regarded by consumers as the most cost-friendly yet entertaining out of home entertainment experience over sporting, live concerts, and amusement parks*. While pressures from at-home streaming are significant, movie theaters are still the leading place for out-of-home entertainment, providing large-format viewing experiences that cannot be achieved at home. In this report, we look to understand and identify the viewing experience elements that deliver the most value to consumers and the on-site amenities and activities that can elevate the traditional movie-going experience beyond what was expected.

*Cinema Foundation 2023

The full report is available for download at the bottom of this preview. Take me there now!

What We Learned – Consumer Personas Defined

Per our investigation, each of our respondents self-identified with one of the following consumer personas, providing a deeper look into their moviegoing preferences and the amenities and activities that would deliver the most value to them:

35%, Movie Minimalist

Defined as individuals who go to the movies every once in a while but does stream movies at home often; comfortable with the more traditional cinema and box office experience (popcorn, soda, big screen) without all the bells and whistles.

28%, Entertainment Seeker

Defined as individuals who go to the movies typically as a way to spend the afternoon or evening; may or may not have kids – values when there are attached options that complement the experience such as recreation, restaurants, or retail.

21%, Social Cinemagoer 

Defined as individuals who go to the movies typically for the social component of the experience; appreciates that cinema will always be a place for an intimate date night or taking part in the cultural buzz of the moment (i.e, Barbenheimer).

17%, Film Fanatic 

Defined as individuals who go to the movies often and prefer the experience to streaming; passionate about film as an art form from the storytelling to production and values cinemas that emphasize an immersive viewing experience.

What Moviegoers Want From the Cinema Experience

Consumers will pay for a heightened experience, as demonstrated by amusement parks, Broadway shows or immersive art installations, and movie theaters share a similar opportunity. Audiences want to be entertained and even with at-home streaming available to them, there is still a desire and an appetite to go in-person to the theater. While comfortable seating, a good view and popcorn have always been table stakes, consumer behaviors and expectations of the movie theater experience are evolving. They have come to expect convenience in all things, especially with the use of smartphones, and post-pandemic being comfortable is no longer negotiable. Additionally, many consumers today identify as “foodies” and are interested in an elevated and unique food and beverage experience while watching a movie. These changing behaviors and preferences illuminate an opportunity for cinema operators who want to expand their offerings in order to surprise and delight consumers, giving them more than one reason to visit the theater. 

Interested in More? Download the Full Report!