Media research firm OTX (Online Testing eXchange) released an interesting study about the decline in theatrical attendance this year. During Summer 2005, ticket revenues fell to $3.62 billion, their lowest
level since 2001, while the number of tickets sold — 541
million (est) — was the lowest level since 1997, according to box office
tracker Exhibitor Relations.

Drawing conclusions similar to our prior discussions (Why is Movie Theatre Revenue Attendance Declining?), OTX cites 3 major factors in the decline of the theatrical movie-going audience:

-Rising overall costs of going to movies;
-The improving home media experience;
-On-demand digital entertainment options.

While the quality of the films are not a key issue, quality combined with price is:  "Consumer attitudes about the quality of theatrical movies did not change. Most believed that the quality of movies remains relatively good. But the most commonly agreed to statement among consumers was that "with the price of tickets being so high, I’m more selective about which movies I see (in the
theater) than I used to be."

OTX’s study noted this perspective — costs and the increasing competition from in-home entertainment — was most prevalent within "the most prized movie going audience — males 13 to 24 years of age."  This past summer, "male moviegoers between the ages of 13 and 24 reported seeing on average about 24 percent fewer films than they did in 2003."

Why? Here are the prime factors:

– Lack of appealing, targeted content: In 2003, 60 percent of males under 25 said "there was an excellent selection of films to choose from." That number dropped to 35 percent in 2005. (That’s a huge fall off, and points to the Long Tail alternative)

– DVD consumption: In 2003 this group reported watching an average of 30 films on DVD/VHS. That number soared to 47 in 2005. (Greater than 50% increase — definitely Long Tail)

– Videogames and the Internet: This demographic also shows a rising interest in home-based entertainment options: 62 percent now regularly surf the web, 53 percent Instant Message with friends, and 53 percent are now playing console video games (Playstation, Xbox, Gamecube, etc.).

OTX: "The perception among young male moviegoers that there wasn’t much to see this year was a difficult barrier to overcome, regardless of price," said Vincent Bruzzese, Senior Vice President, Entertainment Research of OTX.  "But this demographic, more acutely than any other, is weighing the value of the in-theater movie experience compared to many other lower cost, more immediate and convenient entertainment options. And increasingly, young males are deciding to grab a DVD or video game to watch or play at home."

The study drilled down to identify specific causes for lagging movie attendance, including:

– Rising cost vs. value of movies: While the overall costs of going to the movies (ticket prices, concessions, babysitter, gas prices, etc.) have steadily increased, the quality of movies has remained relatively the same, according to OTX survey respondents. This suggests that the moviegoing experience has to be perceived as offering more for the entertainment dollar than other competitive options.

– Misperception of DVD window: Roughly 40 percent of all moviegoers believe it takes under two months for a movie to go from the theater to DVD, with close to 60 percent believing that less than three months is the average length of time. (Average length of time is actually about 4 months.)  This misperception, combined with concern about the cost of going to the movies, has lead many respondents to claim that it is not worth the money to go to the movies, when they feel it will be out on DVD within a very short period of time (30 percent feel this way).

– Preference for movie-viewing in the home growing: In 2003, 79 percent of people said that they prefer to see a new movie when it is released in theaters, versus only 59 percent in 2005. Those who prefer to wait until the movie is out on DVD/VHS (33 percent) or on TV (5 percent) recorded a 17 percentage point gain from 2003. The primary reason for watching a film on DVD is the convenience of being able to see a movie ‘whenever they want’ (66 percent).

Bottom line: Its not the Revenge of thge Flop; As we mentioned back in July, its the overpriced, mediocre experience that is increasingly keeping movie goers away; males teens in particular are emblematic of this trend.

Will movie theaters become the new radio? (i.e., lose their core audiences to alternative entertainment forms).

I must once again exhort theater owners: Wake up, before its too late!

Sources:
Young Male Audience 24% Lower in Summer 2005 than Summer 2003;
Movies Now Battle Digital Entertainment Options to Attract Critical Demographic
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 10 /PRNewswire
http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY
=/www/story/10-10-2005/0004164440&EDATE=

Hollywood movies misfire with core audience–study
Mon Oct 10, 2005 6:31 PM ET
http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=filmNews&storyID=
2005-10-10T223207Z_01_DIT081053_RTRIDST_0_FILM-MEDIA-MOVIES-DC.XML

Category: Film

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

8 Responses to “Study: Hollywood Movies Misfire with Core Male Teens”

  1. David says:

    I think what’s plaguing movies is the same thing plaguing TV. As content has focused on attracting women, men have seen a decline in targetted content. As a 30 year old who acts like a 20 year old, there just aren’t many good movies or TV shows made with me in mind. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think it’s good that women are getting content targetted at them. But our tastes are different. Even the ads are skewed. Watch an hour worth of ads and determine if they’re targetted at women or men. Given that scenario many have us trended to video games where most content is still focused on men. My TV watching has gone to zero. Haven’t watched a TV show in at least 1 year. I have been to a movie theatre in a year also. I now read and play video games.

  2. Old Killer says:

    the solution is simple…bring down production costs and lower prices. we might even see better, more creative movies.

  3. Chad K says:

    I’ll admit that having kids is likely the primary factor in my lack of interest in going to a movie theater…

    However, I’d say that only accounts for about 50% of the movies I’d normally see. The fact that I rarely, if ever, go to the theater comes from a few other factors.

    1) Very tired of hearing these rich a-holes who live in their paradise attempt to tell me what I should think and feel. I will see movies with stars who I feel have kept their mouths shut on political issues… or at least, haven’t been out there trying to influence people that they’re right.

    2) Amount paid to the stars and amount earned by the studios is outragous. This is also the same reason I do not attend NFL, MLB, NHL or MLS games. I’m fine with very high pay for these poeple, since their careers are likely short-lived, etc, etc… but for almost the entirety of my current life, they’ve been grossly overpaid.

    3) Commercials at the beginning of a movie you PAY to see. Pay-Per-View doesn’t have this. I can click on ‘DVD Menu’ on the remote for my Netflix DVDs.

    Here are some ideas that would get me back to the theater quickly:

    $10-$15/mo for an unlimited movie pass (per person)… I’d even be fine if they limited me to not seeing it on opening weekend… but one or two weeks later.

    $1 hotdogs, $1 drinks. This works great for the baseball teams in town…

    Adults-Only nights

    No commercials. I’m fine with the slideshow commercial stuff they do before the movie starts, but am tired of seeing the ones on the reel.

    Set of previews that doesn’t contain an Ashton Kutcher movie.

    … that’s pretty much it.

  4. Chad K says:

    I’ll admit that having kids is likely the primary factor in my lack of interest in going to a movie theater…

    However, I’d say that only accounts for about 50% of the movies I’d normally see. The fact that I rarely, if ever, go to the theater comes from a few other factors.

    1) Very tired of hearing these rich a-holes who live in their paradise attempt to tell me what I should think and feel. I will see movies with stars who I feel have kept their mouths shut on political issues… or at least, haven’t been out there trying to influence people that they’re right.

    2) Amount paid to the stars and amount earned by the studios is outragous. This is also the same reason I do not attend NFL, MLB, NHL or MLS games. I’m fine with very high pay for these poeple, since their careers are likely short-lived, etc, etc… but for almost the entirety of my current life, they’ve been grossly overpaid.

    3) Commercials at the beginning of a movie you PAY to see. Pay-Per-View doesn’t have this. I can click on ‘DVD Menu’ on the remote for my Netflix DVDs.

    Here are some ideas that would get me back to the theater quickly:

    $10-$15/mo for an unlimited movie pass (per person)… I’d even be fine if they limited me to not seeing it on opening weekend… but one or two weeks later.

    $1 hotdogs, $1 drinks. This works great for the baseball teams in town…

    Adults-Only nights

    No commercials. I’m fine with the slideshow commercial stuff they do before the movie starts, but am tired of seeing the ones on the reel.

    Set of previews that doesn’t contain an Ashton Kutcher movie.

    … that’s pretty much it.

  5. M1EK says:

    Now that my family must find/pay a babysitter, we only go out to the movies every two or three months, and when we do, we’ll only go here:

    http://www.alamodrafthouse.com/

    because you get food, and the pre-show stuff is funny, not stupid ads (and usually much more interesting previews as well).

  6. Jim Rockford says:

    I think there are a number of factors in the decline cited of young males in particular abandoning movies. The poster above citing the feminization of TV is correct, this is also hurting movies that depend on males a lot more than females for the big hits.

    *Lack of appealing characters and stories for males; when something like Spider-Man or LoTR hits it hits big; instead we see stories, characters, and actors aimed at girls/women with the belief that men will follow. Orlando Bloom, Jude Law, Johnny Depp, Leo DiCaprio and Hugh Grant have few male fans for obvious reasons. Even action movies have leads and characters and stories that men and boys have a hard time projecting themselves into (Riddick being a prime example).

    There are damn few MEN as lead actors now; as Bruce Willis and Harrison Ford aged out of their old roles they were replaced by … Ashton Kutcher and Josh Hartnett. Pretty boys will never win male followers for obvious reasons. Only Ewan McGregor, an older Matt Damon play anything close to men in Movies.

    *Peverse incentives for storytellers. Critical acclaim and thus the next job depends on exciting jaded reviewers who see hundreds of movies a year and thus reject formulas where the good guy is a good guy, saves the day, and gets the girl. Hence for example Van Helsing where the guy turns out to be not so good and doesn’t save the day and get the girl. Or Elektra which has a bad girl who fights a lot, without the good guy well, getting her. Formulas work for audiences who see a few movies each month; but not for reviewers who push/champion storytellers who offer “surprises.” The “cheat” I felt at the end of Helsing or Riddick was pretty wide; not surprisingly these movies did not do well.

    Incentives have to change; the next job as well as payment ought to be tied to making the male audience happy (since they are the basis of the hits). Perhaps a bare min for certain box office; sliding incentives based on ticket sales, as well as another project go-ahead or not. Right now a flop like Blade 3 can land the fellow (Goyer just to pick on him) to another big picture (the Flash).

    *Ageism. Proven action directors like McTiernan (Die Hard, 13th Warrior) or Hill (Last Man Standing) or Mann (Collateral) have a hard time getting hired while the hot young guy (director of Go) who made small indie movies gets handed Bourne or Mr and Mrs. Smith. Hire the pros who deliver not the rookies who may whiff.

    However I don’t see this changing and I expect that the future holds something akin to radio. Sigh.

  7. dude says:

    One thing that young males may be referring to when they say that “quality” and “selection” is lower, is that the last few years had two spectacular trilogies that totally enthralled fans: (1) Lord of the Rings, and (2) The Matrix (on a side note, Hugo Weaving was in both trilogies. that guy has got to be a kagillionaire). I believe that you cannot underestimate the effect of The Lord of The Rings on ticket sales because you have an entire huge fan base that is multi-generational and probably doesn’t usually go to the movies. That’s potentially millions of people who bought tickets who probably would not have bought tickets to see King Kong, Batman Begins, Hitch, or The Fantastic Four.

    Narnia has the potential to produce a similar result, but it just doesn’t have the kind of fanatical following that Rings does.

  8. Jim Rockford says:

    That’s true Dude, although the effect of people working in TV (where females rule and male viewers are pretty well discouraged) moving to movies cannot be discounted either.

    I don’t see how the skill set acquired in TV (making your female audience happy) gets male teens excited about plunking down $11 or so.