Two-Thirds of U.S. Adults Say They Go to the Movies Less Often (Study)

3:38 PM PST 01/10/2014 by Hilary Lewis
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A new poll offers additional insights into movie-watching habits, with a majority of people saying they prefer to watch films at home.

According to a new survey, 68 percent of U.S. adults went to the movies at least once last year. But two-thirds of Americans say they're going to the movies less often now than a few years ago, with a majority adding that they prefer watching films at home over going to the theater, according to a Harris poll released Friday.

The survey of 2,311 adults, conducted online from Dec. 11-17 of last year, provides additional insights about what people consider to be the best and worst parts of going to the movies and how they watch films at home.

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On average, Americans went to roughly five movies a year, but only 17 percent of those surveyed went to more than 10 films in 2013. Also, the percentage of adults who went to one movie goes down as the age of the group surveyed goes up. While 83 percent of people from ages 18-36 went to at least one movie in 2013, only 44 percent of people over 68 went to at least one film.

When asked whether they prefer watching movies at home or in the theater, 57 percent said they would rather stay in, with 21 percent saying they'd rather go out. Some were indifferent, though, with 19 percent saying they had no preference and 4 percent of those surveyed saying they don't watch movies.

When questioned about the best and worst things about going to the movies, 58 percent selected the sound and picture quality of a film on the big screen, and 45 percent said it was the experience of having a short escape from everyday life. The worst parts of going to the movies: concession prices (62 percent) and rude moviegoers (56 percent).

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As for 3D movies, 69 percent said they agreed with the statement that they're just an excuse to charge more for tickets.

When it comes to watching movies at home, 60 percent said they watch movies live on TV as opposed to another way.

Beyond that, the top ways of watching movies at home are owned and rented DVDs and Blu-ray discs (47 and 37 percent, respectively); on-demand films provided as part of a cable or satellite subscription (32 percent); through a subscription streaming service like Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu Plus (31 percent); and saved from a TV broadcast on a DVR or other recording device (28 percent).

The full results of the Harris poll are available here.

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