70% of Americans would rather watch new movies at home

Forget the $12 popcorn: Survey reveals upcoming struggles for theater industry

SKY News
May 20, 2020 - 1:00 pm

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(LOS ANGELES) -- Studios have had to shift their release strategies swiftly as theaters remain shuttered over the COVID-19 crisis.  Companies including Universal, Warner Bros., and ABC News' parent company Disney are making their films available to streaming services -- in some cases without a theatrical bow. 

And while theater chains have been crying foul, it's apparently just fine with most Americans: a survey reveals 70% would rather watch new movies at home. 

The research, reported by Variety, comes from a poll of 1,000 people conducted by sports and events analytics firm Performance Research, in partnership with Full Circle Research Co.

The survey reveals that just 13% say they are more likely to watch a new movie at a local cinema if given the choice to also do so from the comfort of their own home, even if costs were comparable to box office ticket prices. Seventeen percent of respondents replied they weren't sure. 

"Just as the country begins to open up there has been a swing toward increasing caution, with a majority of Americans clearly saying 'not yet' when it comes to attending large public events," Jed Pearson, president of Performance Research, tells Variety.

Some 60% of respondents admitted "the idea of attending a big public event 'will scare me for a long time,' according to the trade.  That figure is up from 47% in March.

The findings are similar to an earlier study from the company, which showed that 52% of respondents admitted they would attend fewer large public events even after the CDC and local governments say it’s safe to do so.

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