70% of consumers would rather watch new movies at home than in a movie theater – study

According to an exclusive new study reported by Variety, anxiety over health and safety in public spaces still greatly outweighs the desire to leave home, and that disparity has only gotten larger as the pandemic has unfolded. The results of a survey of roughly 1,000 people in mid-May by sports and events analytics firm Performance Research, in partnership with Full Circle Research Co. shows the long road the entertainment industry has in front of it to win back public perception that it’s safe again to attend and spend money on public events. No less than 70% would rather watch new movies at home than in a movie theater.

Tom Hanks WWII film ‘Greyhound’ to premiere on Apple TV+
Tom Hanks WWII film ‘Greyhound’ to premiere exclusively on Apple TV+

Adam B. Vary for Variety:

Take this answer to the question of whether respondents would rather see a first-run feature as a digital rental at home or in a movie theater, if both were available today: A whopping 70% say they are more likely to watch from their couch, while just 13% say they are more likely to watch at a local cinema (with 17% not sure).

Across just about every major industry sector, respondents have grown more fearful about stepping into public spaces: 39% say they’ll attend major indoor concerts less often, up from 33% in March; 36% say they’ll attend theme parks less often, up from 26%; and 33% say they’ll attend theater and performing arts venues less often, up from 29%.

For Broadway productions, a new line of inquiry in the May study, the news is especially worrying: 51% of respondents say it will take a few months before they will attend a Broadway show in New York even after it’s deemed safe to do so, and 16% say they may never go again.

The news for movie theaters is scarcely any better: 37% of respondents say they plan to attend less often, up from 28% in March, and 10% say they may never go again, up from 6%.

MacDailyNews Take: While it’s nice to have a study to put some numbers on it, the general gist was obvious.

Let’s see:

A) $19.99 for a first-run movie in the comfort of your own house on a large screen, with controllable audio volume (even closed captioning if you desire), with the entire family and your own all-you-can-eat popcorn, candy, and drinks for under $10 total for everyone


B) At least $80.00 for a family of four with criminally-overpriced often-stale popcorn, candy, and drinks at a potentially COVID-encrusted theater packed with uncouth idiots from who-knows-where talking, eating, coughing, sneezing, crunching bags, looking their phones, getting up to go to the bathroom, etc.

It’s such a difficult choice!

The $10 bucket of 10-cents worth of popcorn and the $6 cup of 6-cents worth of soda are obvious clues that theatre owners don’t have a sustainable business model.

Bottom line: It took a global pandemic to wake up Hollywood and drag it kicking and screaming into the new millennium at least a decade late. We’re sure Steve Jobs was telling Hollywood honchos this would happen long ago.MacDailyNews, April 28, 2020

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. I pay $25 per month to see 3 films per week on a HUGE screen at the theater. $20 for 1 film? Too much. I don’t buy popcorn at the theater. Parking is free. I go to matinees in the middle of the week that are pretty empty so disturbances are minimal.

  2. It was about 20 years ago for me that it became far more entertaining to enjoy movies at home rather than paying to be surrounded by utter assholes. No more waiting in line, no more people asking if I wouldn’t mind moving from the seat I waited 30 minutes for because they’re on a date, No more noisy kids. No more chattering immigrants throwing drinks and popcorn from the balcony. No more of my bros popping a cap off into the,screen to show their appreciation for the fine cinematography. The cinema experience long ago lost its appeal.

    Now there are some theaters that are really nice, but you have to go so far west, you should probably bring scuba gear, rent an airb&b and make a weekend of it. Those theaters have drinks and bars and real restaurant quality food and even sushi.

    So as soon as I could get recent movies on iTunes, I stopped going to the theater and never looked back. Movies I really like and anticipate watching again, I’m happy to pay about $20 for. Movies I watch suspecting I will barf before it is over, I wait to rent. You can rent recent movies on iTunes for less than $10.

    I have a fairly large film library now. I can call any of my movies up on any of my Apple computers, tablets, or phones. I don’t have an AppleTV or television, but if I had a family that would only add value to my collection.

    It’s nice being able to watch my favorite moment from Avengers Endgame, when Cap stands alone against Thanos, beaten, injured, and he tightens the straps on his broken shield, both to hold the shield, and to help stop his arm from bleeding. There is no hope, but Captain America does not surrender and even Thanos seems a bit moved when all of a sudden you hear the Falcon’s voice say, “Cap, on your left.” I can cry in private when I see that scene.

    1. I understand your POV, I guess I’m lucky to live somewhere where we don’t have many assholes in the theatres and regardless of how full it is It’s always a civil experience. There are some film experiences that cannot be reproduced in the home theatre regardless of your screen. Not very many but something like Gravity in 3D FULL IMAX just isn’t the same. Not that Gravity was a fantastic film but it was a fantastic IMAX experience.
      Also what about the experience of seeing Endgame with a bunch other people who love it and wanna cry like you during that scene? I’ll never forget seeing Star Trek III the search for Spock in the theatre on opening day with a bunch of Trekkies. In those final moments when Spock utters “Jim, your name is Jim”, one guy stood up and screamed yehaaw and the rest of the theatre erupted with emotion and it was a blissful experience. And funny enough, an almost more enthusiastic response at the end of Star Trek 4 when (Surprise) they get the Enterprise back.

  3. Even before pandemic, I went to movie theater maybe twice a year. I appreciate pausing any time and not watching for two hours straight, and NOT sitting through 10-15 minutes of trailers (and “PSA” stuff) before actual movie starts. Hey, drive-in movies were once popular too…

  4. The latest brand of cinemas are better than a decade ago. Being able to book seats, having a decent bar to get a drink (and not having to wear a dumb paper bracelet) make the experience a lot better. Minimal queuing and generally the theater is not full if you avoid the opening weekend.
    Still I would only go for special movies and often wait for PPV for the next best or wait until they are free on cable. Its a decent night out if the movie is good.
    Movie theaters may have to do the electrostatic spray between shows to really convince people to go back in the same numbers.
    Not sure when I would go back to the cinema once the restrictions are released. Having to be able to guarantee empty seats beside us would help.

  5. Used to love going to the movies but as they started getting more expensive and adding more and more commercials before the actual movie they ironically turned the movie going experience into more like watching TV.

    Then I bought a refurbished 3D projector and bought screen material and installed a 160 inch screen in my studio (downstairs family room) and it we’ve never gone back. We do have a pass for our local IMAX so we go there from time to time and the also show some of the bigger hollywood films for a few dollars if you’re a passholder so we go to see them but a regular movie theatre? Doubt it.

    1. I avoid going to the theater. only time I went the last several years is to see Star Wars and that was at a private showing. I detest the theater experience.

  6. Two completely different experiences for me.

    Wife and I watch movies a couple of times a week at home.

    However, going to one of the newer theaters near us about once every-other month (at least) to see a movie for date-night (especially if the big screen version is better than a 65″ screen) is still fun for us.

    Also about twice a year I take the 4-6 oldest grandkids (when in town) to see a new release.
    The difference in how they tune-in there vs home with no phones, commercials/pausing, talking, picking at each other and the huge screen is a real treat to them. They love it.

  7. Theatres are a relic of a bygone era. Hollywood just hasn’t realized it yet. But Mr. COVID informed them quite severely. Mr. COVID says “no more” hence it is no more.

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