Millennials Are Fleeing Movie Theaters...Or Are They?

Still from "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"
Still from "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"
Credit: Lucasfilm

Amid rampant speculation pieces about the decline in revenue of sequels and remakes, a new report has posited that the drop in box office receipts, which some reports claim will be funtionally lower than any year since the 1920s, can be attributed to a much larger problem - the idea that millennials (people in the coveted 18-35 age range) are seeing less movies.

The Atlantic's Derek Thompson postulates that this decline is due to the aforementioned proliferation of sequels by studios aiming to ape the "Marvel model," but that the effect of that sequel boom is an alienation of young people who instead turn to Netflix and other on-demand services to consume content. The result is a climate in which non-sequels and remakes flounder at the box office, while those same sequels and remakes are caught in a cycle of diminishing returns.

On the flipside. a report from the National Organization of Theater Owners (via Deadline) says that the numbers The Atlantic's report cites are skewed, because they only report numbers gathered by surveys conducted over landline phones - which young people rarely use. NATO's report states that their millennial audience is actually growing - a fact it partially attributes to Star Wars: The Force Awakens bringing many long absent theater-goers back into the fold, and introduced a new generation to movie theaters.

NATO VP Patrick Corcoran also says that the organization's research shows that millennial attendance at movies has been “growing by double digits for the last five years, and into the first quarter of this year,”  and that “the movies they go to are the premium, higher ticket price movies.”

NATO will reportedly continue to focus its efforts on premium theater experiences, which it believes attracts viewers seeking an experience they can't get from watching a movie at home.

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