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Earlier this week Star Wars broke the internet when tickets went on sale for The Force Awakens. Ticket purchasing websites crashed and many fans were met with error after error trying to get their own seats guaranteed. So who exactly were all those people sitting at their computers clicking refresh over and over again. Well, pretty much who you thought they were actually.
The Hollywood Reporter has published data from marketing firm Movio which has a breakdown of data they’ve pulled from those who purchased tickets two months before the film comes out. Tickets were primarily purchased by men between 18-49 with an average age of 34. In other, mostly unsurprising news, these same buyers regularly go to the movies once a month, and two-thirds go to new release films during their first week. They also tend to go to other major tentpole releases. These are people who normally spend their money on movies. They spend an average of 2.6 times more at the box office than the average moviegoer. That's just for tickets, before you even get to popcorn.
Overall these numbers are far from surprising. If you’re the person buying advance tickets to a Star Wars movie you probably go to other major releases and if you’re jumping to buy opening night tickets here you probably buy opening night tickets to other movies as well. If anything the interesting number is the one-third of ticket buyers who don’t normally go to movies during their opening week. While a minority, it’s still a sizable chunk of the audience for which The Force Awakens is that special film that has them breaking their habits. They may not care if they don’t catch Jurassic World during the first week, but they can’t wait for Star Wars.
The age range also contains some interesting statistics which show just how strong the Star Wars brand has remained since 1977. On one end of the spectrum, you have the 49-year-old, who was 10 or 11 when the first film came out. This makes sense as that’s about the perfect age to capture a young fan for life. On the other hand, you have the 18-year-old, who was two when The Phantom Menace was released. This is about the same age that 34 year old average was when Return of the Jedi came out. Anybody else feeling really old right now?
It does make us older fans wish somebody had collected demographic data on the people who camped out in front of theaters to buy Phantom Menace tickets back in 1999. The two groups probably have more than a little overlap, though it’s probably among the people older than that 34-year-old average.