Which Age Group Goes To The Movies Most Often? You Might Be Surprised

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land
(Image credit: (Summit))

With the rise of exciting original content on streaming platforms to enjoy from the comfort of your couch, and big names moving to places like Netflix to produce their work, you’d think young people have fewer reasons to go out to movie theaters than the demographics with traditions more firmly rooted in the theatrical experience. Yet moviegoers aged 18 to 24 are the biggest age group buying movie tickets. Surprised?

Movie polling service PostTrak surveyed 1.25 million consumers for 1,002 films and found that 25% of tickets sold over the last seven years were bought by teens and early twenty-somethings (via Indiewire). Those under 25 actually made up about half of sold movie tickets. The other half of tickets belonged to those older than 25, with just 11% of ticket stubs belonging to movie fans over 55.

Looks like the movie-going experience very much belongs to the young! The 18 to 24 year-olds were willing to spend up to $20 on tickets even with their $10 Netflix subscriptions sitting there conveniently for them at home. This offers up a nice vote of confidence for studios. A trip to the movie theaters isn't dying away, and maybe cinemas can successfully coexist with streaming too!

Last year, domestic ticket sales actually skyrocketed to the biggest box office record for a single year since 2013, even if the first half of 2018 had a slow start: it was down almost 10% compared to 2017. A huge amount of box office earnings is going to franchises such as the MCU, since Avengers: Endgame recently beat out Avatar to become the highest-grossing movie of all time. Disney has produced a majority of the high earners in 2018. The studio even passed $5 billion in box office cash before August rolled around.

The top six movies of the year are all Disney produced, and sequels or adaptations as well. Some big hits so far this year were live-action remakes Lion King and Aladdin, Marvel’s three offerings, and Toy Story 4. Down at No. 7 is Jordan Peele’s Us, which impressed with $254 million globally. The poll also showed that while movie fans are primarily rating adventure films the highest, horror is second and gaining traction with viewers.

In the survey, about 35% of viewers also said they “frequently” stream movies and television as well. These results seem to note that the large amount of content on platforms such as Netflix and Hulu isn't exactly stopping movie fans from going to the theaters to enjoy entertainment that way.

Disney is planning to soon launch its own streaming platform called Disney+. They’ll cleverly be tying in their original content with their MCU film slate. This could help balance the scales for fans to switch between theatrical and streaming when choosing their entertainment.

Whew! This survey is a bit of a sigh of relief for traditional theater-goers.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.