There appears to be a pent-up desire for movie-goers to return to the theater, according to a second wave of research from National CineMedia (NCM)'s proprietary "Behind The Screens" panel of movie fans.
Nine in 10 (91%) missed going to the movie theaters during the first poll in March, and that number jumped an additional 4 percentage points in the follow up wave in April.
While that might seem a logical progression that after being isolated for more than eight weeks from friends and families, Doug Pulick, NCM's SVP, strategic insights and analytics, believes there is now an added layer of anticipation for big “summer blockbusters” like "Tenet," "Wonder Woman 1984," and "Mulan" as the box office creeps closer toward the Memorial Holiday Weekend.
Three in four (75%) now feel there are “lots of moves to catch up on in theaters when they reopen,” compared to 52% who felt this way a month earlier.
And movie fans are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure theaters reopen. Nine in 10 (90%) say limiting auditorium capacity was an acceptable social distancing practice to be enforced in theaters. 87% want hand sanitizers prominently displayed in theater lobbies, and 52% believe face masks should be required for entry into the theater.
Despite NBCUniversal’s “Trolls World Record” breaking digital records as a VOD release, 84% said in both research waves that If they had a choice they would prefer to watch a movie that was just released at a movie theater than at home via a streaming service.
Pulick says that most movie fans consider streaming to be an addition to the theatrical movie going experience, not a permanent replacement. This is especially was true for cinema’s core audience of younger fans aged 18-34, with 89% of this age group preferring to see a major movie in their local theater versus at home.