I assume most of us miss going to the movies. Most movie theaters began shuttering nationwide on March 16 due to the coronavirus pandemic and that followed a series of high profile releases delaying their release dates indefinitely because of the uncertainty regarding how long the current state of affairs will last. Since then, several more films have vacated their planned release dates and theaters remain closed for the foreseeable with AMC hopeful they can open again by mid-June. What's on a lot of our minds is if we will WANT to head back to the cineplex right away once this thing has subsided. Will we feel uneasy sitting in a crowded theater worried that we could get sick, even if they'll have a hold on the virus by the time it's ok for theaters to open again? A new survey gives a little insight into this and the results will make you wonder what category you fall into.
Analytics company EDO issued a report on “Social Distancing Moviegoing and TV Habits” which polled 6,800 respondents nationwide last week (March 24-28). The people polled were largely moviegoers about their at-home viewing habits during this quarantine time, as well as their readiness to return to the multiplex. The news, based on this poll, is a bit promising with more than 70% of those polled indicating they were likely to return to theaters once they reopened, with a substantial 45% saying they were “highly likely" to return. A combined 45% said they would come back very soon, broken down as 20% returning immediately and 25% a few days later. However, 45% said they would wait a few weeks to head back to the cinema once they reopen, with 11% of respondents saying they’d wait several months.
While the poll showed most moviegoers were eager to return to the movies, it also showed their willingness to embrace video on demand services. Once movie theaters went dark, about 75% of those in the study said they were likely to purchase movies on-demand. This bodes well for studios that decided to release many of their current theatrical releases early on VOD when "stay at home" orders began to spread nationwide. Titles such as THE GENTLEMEN, THE WAY BACK, THE HUNT, BIRDS OF PREY & THE INVISIBLE MAN hit home viewing early and their first week on the service fared well with 8 of the top 10 premium rentals on FandangoNOW's chart being the theatrical releases that arrived early.
In home consumption, as reported yesterday, definitely saw a surge with approximately 85% of those polled saying their at-home TV and movie watching had increased to some degree since the outbreak began, with almost half stating that their intake grew by 50% or more. Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Now saw, by far, the biggest gains in consumption at 80% following the outbreak.
The poll is encouraging for studios and exhibitors since it shows a strong willingness to return to the movies but this also isn't a nationwide poll. It's hard to say how many of those in the country will feel comfortable going back right away it. The polling also shows a trend that has been growing even before the pandemic and that's the consumption of home-viewing versus going out to the movies. The theater shutdown only allows video on demand and streaming to grow so it will be interesting to see how this all plays out once things go back to normal.
Do YOU think you'll get back to the movie right away once they reopen?