Commentary

Older Moviegoers Decide To Stay Home Over Covid Concerns, Decision Impacts TV

In recent years, movie studios and theaters have long relied on young moviegoers to put butts in seats.

But what about older posteriors -- especially amid an ongoing pandemic?

A recent YouGov poll for The Hollywood Reporter showed 39% of American respondents aged 45 to 64 were less likely to attend theaters, with 37% neither more nor less likely to visit the multiplex.

In particular, younger audiences make up a major piece of business, especially for many action-adventure/fantasy movies, such as Sony Pictures recent blockbuster edition of the “Spider-Man” franchise.

All this continues to hamper the movie business -- perhaps even before the pandemic put the initial kibosh on out-of-home movie watching. Since the summer with “Black Widow,” there has been a gradual resurgence of the business. That's the good news. But now what?

Younger-aged consumers might still feel invincible when it comes to getting sick with Covid -- at least according to analysis by some health experts. Older Americans are more concerned.

Rising streaming platforms -- coming at the same time as the pandemic -- created a perfect storm. That is, placing many adult-themed, non-fantasy/adventure movies -- originally targeted for exclusive in-theaters runs in non-summer/Holiday periods -- on premium streamers, either simultaneously with theaters or exclusively.

Movie analysts say it could be five or more years before the in-theater movie business recovers, which seems to count on those older adult viewers heading back to theaters.

Recent Christmas movie openings -- Warner Bros. “The Matrix Resurrections” and 20th Century Studios’ “The King’s Man,” two movies coming from respective movie franchises -- may be the start. Both movies under-performed -- $12 million and $6.4 million, respectively. Some insiders speculate the reason, in part, is those films appeal more to adults.

By way of comparison, here are the previous editions of those franchises in U.S. domestic opening box office, per IMDb’s Box Office Mojo: “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” (2017), $39 million; ‘The Matrix Reloaded” (2003), $91.8 million.

In particular, “Matrix” has been hampered -- as well as other Warner Bros. movies, due to the company's decision a year ago to offer its entire 2021 theatrical slate on its HBO Max streamer at the same time.

Now, for 2022, WarnerMedia has pulled back on that blanket proclamation. Read into that what you will. In this marketplace, following the subtle whims of all entertainment consumer segments will be the real mind bender.

1 comment about "Older Moviegoers Decide To Stay Home Over Covid Concerns, Decision Impacts TV".
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  1. Bill Shane from Eastlan Ratings, December 28, 2021 at 1:59 p.m.

    Covid is definitely one of the reasons my wife and I have decided to stay away, but it hasn't been a tough decision.  The movies being released aren't made to attract "baby boomers."  It seems that all the flicks out there are made for those mostly under 30; they're all either Marvel, DC Comics or Animation films.  Some "story" movies would help get older viewers back in the theatres and I hope the movie houses create such films, but hold them back until the pandemic subsides.  Oh, and be sure to re-release the last James Bond movie, "No Time To Die."

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