What Does 'Top Gun' Release Say About Older And Younger Moviegoers, Their Behavior?

Perhaps the biggest success for the record-breaking “Top Gun: Maverick” over Memorial Day weekend isn't its $160 million opening -- but who showed up.

It seems the movie -- while pulling in lots of male consumers (almost 60%) as expected -- actually did a decent job of taking in older moviegoers: 55% were 35 years and older; 38% were over 45 and 18% were over 55, according to results obtained by the Hollywood Reporter by way of the movie's studio Paramount Pictures.

But the real news came from Generation Z moviegoers -- those in the 18-24 age bracket. They comprise 21% of “Top Gun” consumers, which turned out to be the biggest age bracket segment.

Why is that important? Well, that young audience group typically steers itself to action-adventure/fantasy/superhero type of movies -- which “Top Gun” is not.



Still, movies like “Top Gun” are similar to the fantasy/superhero movie franchises like “Spider-Man,” “Batman” and the forthcoming “Jurassic Park” in one regard: “Top Gun” is action-packed despite its lack of computer-generated content.

Of course, the good news here was that -- in terms of traditional movie research -- this turned out to be a “four quadrant” movie, appealing across a wide range of audiences. Better still, this meant bringing back older film consumers who had some good memories of the original “Top Gun” movie -- which debuted in 1986.

All this seems to boost movie-theater chain stocks going forward about its business future.

AMC Entertainment, the biggest U.S. theater group, has been up 28% over the past five trading days -- although it dipped back down on Wednesday.

That said, the movie business is still well behind where it was in 2019 -- down some 41% to $2.7 billion in box-office revenues on a year-to-date reading.

The business is still coming out of COVID-19 pandemic-related disruptions as well as dealing with new at-home TV streaming platforms that are increasingly hungry for fresh content -- especially new movies, either coming to their services exclusively (and thus forgoing a theater opening) or arriving earlier to their platforms.

One industry expert believes the key would be to see how more adult-oriented, less CG-generated movies are doing in the future.

That started, according to the executive, with Focus Features' “Downton Abbey” recently. The movie posted a modest, if a bit underwhelming $16 million in its opening weekend.

That may answer the bigger question here, screenwise. “Downton Abbey” on a big or small screen to get your hankering for vintage, early 20th century British drama? Right now, some people may just want to get out of the house.

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