AARP Movies for Grownups reports on state of movie business among 50-plus audiences

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Las Vegas—AARP discussed growth trends among 50-plus theatregoers in a panel presentation at CinemaCon 2016. The panel, “Movies for Grownups: Films For An Older, Loyal, and Growing Theater-Going Audience,” was made up of industry leaders from various sides of the movie business, including AARP’s Entertainment Director Meg Grant. It offered insights about the 50-plus demographic, the fastest-growing age group in the U.S., and its impact on movie box-office performance. The panel additionally explored which types of films appeal to this audience and how best to promote new movie releases to the 50-plus consumer.

Grant shared statistics related to AARP’s membership base, which comprises nearly 38 million members of the 50-plus demographic, 59 percent of whom went to a movie theater in the last 12 months. 

“The 50-plus demographic is not only one of the largest population subsets in the country, it is a group of people that loves to go to movies, probably more than any other age demographic,” said Grant. “We want studio and theatre executives to know that there is a tremendous opportunity with this growing demographic to create content that attracts an even bigger portion of this sector. At a time when exhibitors are challenged with filling seats, they should recognize this audience potential by offering incentives, such as weekday matinees and twilight shows.”

Grant and the panel also shared several statistics that show a drastic increase in theater attendance among 50-plus audiences post-opening weekend. According to research cited at the panel, 6.4 million people over 50 prefer to see a new movie in the opening weekend, while 22.2 million attend after opening weekend but within the first 2 weeks, and 24.5 million go after the second week. 

Additionally a study conducted by Movio examined a number of top-grossing movies of 2015 and discovered women 50 and older are consistently underrepresented on opening weekend, and their share of the audience increases over time.

“We have learned that while other age demographics decline in attendance during a release window, the 50-plus group attendance grows by nearly 400 percent,” added Grant “Interest is very high in watching new releases in a movie theater, and the 50-plus theatergoer is highly inclined to attend a movie in the second to fourth week of the theatrical exhibition period. This research by Movio provides evidence that shortening release windows to home entertainment may be leaving money on the table.”

The panel was moderated by Gordon Paddison, CEO of Stradella Road.  Additional panelists included:

•    Russ Collins, Founding Director, Art House Convergence

•    Nikkole Denson-Randolph, VP, Special & Alternative Content, AMC Theatres

•    Andrew Karpen, CEO, Bleecker Street

•    Travis Reid, President of Distribution, Broad Green Pictures