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Movie Theaters - US - November 2014

“The movie theater industry is facing threats from all sides, with studios trying to shrink the exhibition window, consumers increasingly staying at home for their entertainment, and a new generation of moviegoers who expect entertainment content to be customizable and on-demand. Movie theaters can embrace the customization trend by tailoring more screenings to specific audiences while still celebrating moviegoing as one of the few shared experiences left in an increasingly fragmented media landscape.”
– Dana Spencer, Research Analyst – Lifestyles, Travel and Leisure

This report answers the following questions:

  • How high can ticket prices go?
  • Why should viewers go to the movies when they are already paying for multiple video subscriptions at home?
  • Will new media channels erode movies’ core demographic?

Many Americans devote the majority of their leisure time to on-screen entertainment. They are drawn to movies and want to see blockbuster hits, but where they go to do so is of little significance beyond the price of tickets and movie theaters’ proximity to their homes or work. Exhibitors face an ongoing challenge to make their facilities stand out in the crowd and show they can offer patrons something other movie theater chains cannot. At a more basic level, movie theaters are competing with the dizzying array of small-screen entertainment options available to consumers.

This report examines how exhibitors can make their specific theaters go-to locations for movie viewing and what it will take to give Americans more incentive to go out rather than settle for cheaper and more convenient in-home entertainment options. This report builds on the analysis presented in Mintel’s Movie Theaters – US, November 2013.

For the purposes of this report, Mintel concentrates on commercial cinema venues. Festivals, army bases, schools, museums, libraries, prisons, airlines, restaurants, cafés, and other venues that license films for profit are not included; only sites whose primary day-to-day function is the commercial display of cinema are considered.
Companies that own, lease, manage, or operate facilities for the day-to-day commercial display of films are the subject of this report, and will be referred to interchangeably as “movie theaters” or “exhibitors.”

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Sales data
            • Consumer data
              • Abbreviations and terms
                • Abbreviations
                  • Terms
                  • Executive Summary

                      • The market
                        • Sluggish growth expected to continue
                          • Figure 1: Total US retail sales and fan chart forecast of movie theaters, at current prices, 2009-19
                        • Market drivers
                          • Buzz and exclusivity drive viewers into theaters
                            • Movies still present an affordable night out
                              • Figure 2: Average movie ticket cost, at current prices, 2009-14
                            • Home theater equipment (and content?) approach cinema quality
                              • Leading companies
                                • The consumer
                                  • Pool of moviegoers shrinking
                                    • Figure 3: Past six month movie visitation, by gender and age, August 2014
                                  • More people prefer watching movies at home; cost is a top barrier
                                    • Figure 4: Venue preference to watch movies, August 2014
                                    • Figure 5: Barriers to more frequent movie attendance, August 2014
                                  • Frequent moviegoers important to the bottom line
                                    • Figure 6: Services worth a price premium, by all and frequent moviegoers, August 2014
                                  • Moviegoers are eager for more premium services
                                    • Figure 7: Average amount willing to pay for premium service (excluding zeros), August 2014
                                  • What we think
                                  • Issues and Insights

                                      • How high can ticket prices go?
                                        • The issues:
                                          • The implications:
                                            • Why should viewers go to the movies when they are already paying for multiple video subscriptions at home?
                                              • The issues:
                                                • The implications
                                                  • Will new media channels erode movies’ core demographic?
                                                    • The issues:
                                                      • The implications:
                                                      • Trend Application

                                                          • Trend: Sense of the Intense
                                                            • Trend: Old Gold
                                                              • Mintel Futures: Access Anything Anywhere
                                                              • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • Total movie theater revenues stagnant
                                                                    • Figure 8: Total US movie theater revenues and forecast, at current prices, 2009-19
                                                                    • Figure 9: Total US sales of movie sales and rentals, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2009-19
                                                                  • Fan chart forecast
                                                                      • Figure 10: Total US retail sales and fan chart forecast of movie theaters, at current prices, 2009-19
                                                                  • Segment Performance Overview

                                                                    • Key points
                                                                      • Admissions driving revenue growth for theaters
                                                                        • Figure 11: Total US movie theater revenues, at current prices, by segment, 2012-14
                                                                    • Segment Performance – Box Office Admissions

                                                                      • Key points
                                                                        • Declining attendance to limit admissions growth
                                                                          • Figure 12: Total US retail sales and forecast of box office admissions, at current prices, 2009-19
                                                                          • Figure 13: Total US sales of movie sales and rentals, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2009-19
                                                                      • Segment Performance – Concessions

                                                                        • Key points
                                                                          • Concession sales grow despite attendance declines
                                                                            • Figure 14: Total US retail sales and forecast of concessions, at current prices, 2009-19
                                                                            • Figure 15: Total US sales of concessions, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2009-19
                                                                        • Segment Performance – Advertising

                                                                          • Key points
                                                                            • Advertising now a mature market
                                                                              • Figure 16: Total US retail sales and forecast of advertising, at current prices, 2009-19
                                                                              • Figure 17: Total US sales of advertising, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2009-19
                                                                          • Market Drivers

                                                                            • Key points
                                                                              • Buzz and exclusivity
                                                                                • Changes to release window crimp exclusivity
                                                                                  • Key analysis: The potential of independent production
                                                                                    • A night out
                                                                                      • Figure 18: Average movie ticket cost, at current prices, 2009-14
                                                                                      • Figure 19: Average movie ticket cost, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2009-14
                                                                                    • 3D loses pop
                                                                                      • Figure 20: Preference for 3D, April 2010-June 2014
                                                                                  • Competitive Context

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • The home video challenge
                                                                                        • Face off with 2K, 4K, and 8K
                                                                                          • Best seats in the house
                                                                                            • Golden age makes TV content competitive
                                                                                              • One month of Netflix = a single movie ticket
                                                                                                • Key analysis: Future of home video and theatrical release intertwined
                                                                                                  • Figure 21: Barriers to more frequent movie attendance, by visitation frequency, August 2014
                                                                                              • Leading Companies

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                  • AMC loses share but increases profits
                                                                                                    • Regal retains top market share
                                                                                                      • AMC leads in growth of revenues per screen
                                                                                                        • Cinemark gains share through acquisitions
                                                                                                          • Carmike sees whopping 34.5% two-year growth
                                                                                                            • Figure 22: US box office revenues, by theater exhibitor, 2011 and 2013
                                                                                                          • Regal casts a wide net; AMC sticks to most profitable markets
                                                                                                            • Figure 23: Selected statistics for major US theater exhibitors, 2013, as ex
                                                                                                        • Innovations and Innovators

                                                                                                          • The living room comes to the multiplex
                                                                                                            • Reserved seating: soon to be a “prerequisite”?
                                                                                                              • Dine-in theaters
                                                                                                                • AMC covers its bases with a range of dining concepts
                                                                                                                  • Other exhibitors start small with dine-in theaters
                                                                                                                  • Marketing Strategies

                                                                                                                    • Overview
                                                                                                                      • Loyalty programs
                                                                                                                        • Social media and online presence
                                                                                                                          • Mobile apps
                                                                                                                            • Other promotions and special events
                                                                                                                            • Attendance

                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                • Smaller audience begets changes in strategies
                                                                                                                                  • Key analysis: TV and home video in leadership roles
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 24: Past six month movie attendance, May 2006-June 2014
                                                                                                                                  • Moviegoing most common among parents and 18-34s
                                                                                                                                    • Key analysis: Taking a second look at over-45s
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 25: Past six month movie visitation, by demographics, August 2014
                                                                                                                                    • Evidence of elasticity in attendance record
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 26: Past six month movie visitation, by household income, August 2014
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 27: Barriers to more frequent movie attendance, by venue preference, August 2014
                                                                                                                                    • One in four moviegoers attend at least monthly
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 28: Past six month movie visitation, August 2014
                                                                                                                                    • Highest attendance seen among 25-34s and young men 18-34
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 29: Past six month movie visitation, by demographics, August 2014
                                                                                                                                    • Women feeling the pinch of ticket costs
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 30: Barriers to more frequent movie attendance, by gender and age, August 2014
                                                                                                                                  • Teen Moviegoing

                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                      • Moviegoing less important to today’s teens
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Teens' spending money, January 2007-December 2013
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 32: Teens' attitudes toward TV and the movies, January 2007-December 2013
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 33: Teens' attitudes toward TV and the movies, by gender and age, November 2012-December 2013
                                                                                                                                    • Preference for Viewing Location

                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                        • Home edging out movie theaters as preferred viewing location
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 34: Venue preference to watch movies, August 2014
                                                                                                                                        • Women more selective about which movies they see in the theater
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 35: Venue preference to watch movies, by demographics, August 2014
                                                                                                                                      • Desired Theater Attributes – Viewing Experience

                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                          • Price top reason to choose a less convenient movie theater
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 36: Reasons to choose a less convenient movie theater, August 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Men 18-34 most likely to value sound and picture quality
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 37: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Viewing experience (have gone or would go), by gender and age, August 2014
                                                                                                                                          • More high-income moviegoers choose a better viewing experience
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 38: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Viewing experience (have gone or would go), by household income, August 2014
                                                                                                                                        • Desired Theater Attributes – Environment, Convenience

                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                            • Women 55+ value cleaner theaters
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 39: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Environment and convenience (have gone or would go), by gender and age, August 2014
                                                                                                                                            • People of all incomes seek a better theater environment
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 40: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Environment and convenience (have gone or would go), by household income, August 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Desired Theater Attributes – Concessions

                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                              • Young adults enthusiastic about dine-in theaters
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 41: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Concessions (have gone or would go), by age, August 2014
                                                                                                                                              • Better concessions options could succeed at all price ranges
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 42: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Concessions (have gone or would go), by household income, August 2014
                                                                                                                                            • Desired Attributes – Prices

                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                • Bargain tickets could drive more frequent moviegoing among women
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 43: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Prices (have gone or would go), by gender and age, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                • Loyalty programs have missed opportunity with lower-income moviegoers
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 44: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Prices (have gone or would go), by household income, August 2014
                                                                                                                                              • Services Worth Paying a Premium

                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                  • Better seating worth a premium for most moviegoers
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 45: Services worth a price premium, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                  • Men 18-34 best market for premium-priced features
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 46: Services worth a price premium, by gender and age, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                  • Can 4D be the next 3D?
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 47: Services worth a price premium – Average (excluding zero's), by gender and age, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                • Impact of Race/Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                    • Hispanics most likely to be moviegoers
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 48: Past six month movie visitation, by race and Hispanic origin August 2014
                                                                                                                                                    • Asian and Hispanic moviegoers see 25% more movies than average
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 49: Past six month movie visitation, by demographics, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                    • Blacks and Hispanics willing to pay more
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 50: Services worth a price premium, by race/Hispanic origin, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                    • Hispanics head for theaters with lower costs
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 51: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Prices (have gone or would go), by race/Hispanic origin, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                  • Custom Consumer – The Frequent Attendee

                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                      • Frequent attendees see value in premium offerings
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 52: Services worth a price premium, by visitation frequency, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Frequent attendees more willing to go out of their way
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 53: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Viewing experience (have gone or would go), by visitation frequency, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 54: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Environment and convenience (have gone or would go), by visitation frequency, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 55: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Concessions (have gone or would go), by visitation frequency, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 56: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Prices (have gone or would go), by visitation frequency, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                          • Movie theaters visited
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 57: Movie theaters visited, April 2013-June 2014
                                                                                                                                                          • Desired theater attributes: Viewing experience
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 58: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Viewing experience (have gone or would go), by gender, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 59: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Viewing experience (have gone or would go), by age, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 60: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Viewing experience (have gone or would go), by race/Hispanic origin, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 61: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Viewing experience (have gone or would go), by venue preference, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 62: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Viewing experience (have gone or would go), by would pay extra for something, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 63: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Viewing experience (have gone or would go), by viewing experience-have gone, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                          • Desired theater attributes: Environment and convenience
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 64: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Environment and convenience (have gone or would go), by gender, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 65: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Environment and convenience (have gone or would go), by age, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 66: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Environment and convenience (have gone or would go), by race/Hispanic origin, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 67: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Environment and convenience (have gone or would go), by venue preference, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 68: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Environment and convenience (have gone or would go), by would pay extra for something, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 69: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Environment and convenience (have gone or would go), by viewing experience-have gone, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                          • Desired theater attributes: Concessions
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 70: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Concessions (have gone or would go), by gender, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 71: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Concessions (have gone or would go), by age, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 72: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Concessions (have gone or would go), by gender and age, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 73: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Concessions (have gone or would go), by race/Hispanic origin, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 74: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Concessions (have gone or would go), by venue preference, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 75: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Concessions (have gone or would go), by would pay extra for something, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 76: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Concessions (have gone or would go), by viewing experience-have gone, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                          • Desired theater attributes: Prices
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 77: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Prices (have gone or would go), by gender, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 78: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Prices (have gone or would go), by age, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 79: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Prices (have gone or would go), by venue preference, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 80: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Prices (have gone or would go), by would pay extra for something, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 81: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Prices (have gone or would go), by viewing experience-have gone, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                          • Desired theater attributes: Convenience
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 82: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Convenience (have gone or would go), by gender, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 83: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Convenience (have gone or would go), by age, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 84: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Convenience (have gone or would go), by venue preference, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 85: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Convenience (have gone or would go), by would pay extra for something, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 86: Reasons to choose a less convenient theater – Convenience (have gone or would go), by viewing experience-have gone, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                          • Services worth a price premium
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 87: Services worth a price premium, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 88: Services worth a price premium, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 89: Services worth a price premium, by gender, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 90: Services worth a price premium, by age, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 91: Services worth a price premium, by household income, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 92: Services worth a price premium, by venue preference, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 93: Services worth a price premium, by would pay extra for something, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 94: Services worth a price premium, by viewing experience-have gone, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 95: Services worth a price premium – Average (excluding zero's), by gender, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 96: Services worth a price premium – Average (excluding zero's), by race/Hispanic origin, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 97: Services worth a price premium – Average (excluding zero's), by venue preference, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 98: Services worth a price premium – Average (excluding zero's), by viewing experience-have gone, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                          • Barriers to more frequent movie attendance
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 99: Barriers to more frequent movie attendance, by gender, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 100: Barriers to more frequent movie attendance, by age, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 101: Barriers to more frequent movie attendance, by household income, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 102: Barriers to more frequent movie attendance, by race/Hispanic origin, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 103: Barriers to more frequent movie attendance, by venue preference, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 104: Barriers to more frequent movie attendance, by would pay extra for something, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 105: Barriers to more frequent movie attendance, by viewing experience-have gone, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                          • Preferences for movie type
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 106: Type of movie usually seen, May 2006-June 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 107: Type of movie usually seen, by I am a regular movie theater goer, April 2013-June 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 108: Type of movie usually seen, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2013-June 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 109: Timing for seeing a new movie, May 2006-June 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 110: Timing for seeing a new movie, by demographics, April 2013-June 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 111: Preference for 3D, April 2010-June 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 112: Preference for 3D, by demographics, April 2013-June 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                          Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                          • AMC Entertainment Inc.
                                                                                                                                                          • Carmike Cinemas, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                          • Cinemark, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                          • IMAX Corporation
                                                                                                                                                          • Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corporation
                                                                                                                                                          • Netflix, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                          • Regal Entertainment Group
                                                                                                                                                          • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

                                                                                                                                                          Movie Theaters - US - November 2014

                                                                                                                                                          £3,277.28 (Excl.Tax)