Survey: Games trump movie theaters

Ticket sales up, but many U.S. consumers are staying in

The boxoffice is booming. Nevertheless, Americans seem to prefer spending time with video games over a night out at the movies.

In the past six months, 53% of U.S. consumers have gone to the movies, but 63% have played a video game, according to research firm NPD Group.

This despite record revenue being collected at American movie theaters. Through Sunday, 498 million movie tickets have been sold this year, 10% more than in the same frame last year, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners.

NPD surveyed 11,000 people who have spent money on at least one of three categories: video games, movies and music. The results are part of its "Entertainment Trends in America" report.

Of course the movie industry might argue that video games -- once owned -- don't cost anything, so comparisons between paying to see a movie and playing video games for free is unfair.

Plus, there's more than one way to see a film, and when NPD adds home video into the mix, it indicates that film beats video games, and music, too.

In the past three months, NPD says 40% of the average consumer's entertainment budget is spent on movies -- including tickets and DVD rentals and purchases -- compared with 33% on video games and 27% on music. The latter category includes recorded music and live concerts.