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The 2016 Stats Are In… So, just who is going to the movies? The facts may surprise you

Hollywood Behind the Scenes

By Stanley Isaacs

In the face of such blockbuster films as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Captain America: Civil Wars,  Deadpool, Suicide Squad and a slew of other male driven action adventures that were released in 2016 –  according to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) -women comprised 52% of all the ticket buyers – which, by the way, is a slight uptick from 2015’s 51%.

That’s right, women, who comprise 51% of the population, continue to make up the majority of moviegoers.

What I find even more noteworthy is that three of the top five grossing films in 2016 were not in the male action genre, but more family friendly films with uplifting  stories that presented a more nurturing message.

Finding Dory drew the largest proportion of females, with 55% of its box office coming from women. The other two films that were dominated by female audiences were The Secret Life of Pets and The Jungle Book.

Jungle Book was a hit with women.

Also, according to the MPAA’s report, in 2016 African-Americans represented 15% of frequent moviegoers, while comprising 12% of the population and Asians accounted 11% of the ticket buyers while being 8% of the population. They also over-represented the most of any group in terms of per capita ticket buying.

A close second, Hispanic’s, accounted for 23% of frequent moviegoers while comprising 18% of the population,  although  their representation dipped on a per capita basis in 2016 – Hispanics frequented the movies 4.6 times on average, down from 2015 when they averaged 5.2 visits.

Asians went to the movies an average of 6.1 times in 2016, up from 4.9 times in 2015. African-Americans went an average of 4.2 times, an increase over the 3.5 times they averaged in 2015.

In 2016, the 18–24’s  was the most overrepresented age group in terms of tickets sold, accounting for 10% of the population and 16% of tickets sold.

The 12–17 and 25–39 age groups are also overrepresented for tickets sold – 13% and 24% – relative to their share of the population  – 8% and 21%.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the number of frequent Caucasian moviegoers in most age groups is on the decline. While Caucasians represent 62% of the population they accounted for only 51% of frequent movie goers.

While 2017’s numbers relating to the percentage of ticket buyers are not in yet we do know  that the top three of the top ten grossing films were driven by female’s in the leading roles: StarWars Ep.VIII: The Last Jedi, Beauty and the Beast and Wonder Woman.

Rounding out the top ten are: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, It, Thor:Ragnarok, Despicable Me 3, Logan and The Fate of the Furious – Many of these films, despite the action and mayhem they reveled in, had storylines touching on family and honor.

In light of all of this research – One question that is dominating the conversation today is – With women and minorities being the most faithful and consistently growing ticket buyers, isn’t it time to start reflecting those statistics not only onscreen, but behind-the-scenes as well.

All the signs in Hollywood seem to pointing in that direction, but the future is yet to be written.

 

 


About the author

Stanley Isaacs

Stanley Isaacs

Stanley Isaacs is an award-winning filmmaker, preservationist and educator. He has written, produced and directed a wide range of film and television projects in a career that spans nearly four decades. He is the founder and CEO of 100% Entertainment, Inc. (www.100percentent.com), an independent production company and The Film History Preservation Project, (www.thefilmhistorypreservationproject.org), a multi-award-winning documentary series, whose Mission Statement is to preserve cinema history by enshrining a legacy of priceless stories and insights from legendary producers that can be studied and appreciated for generations, by film buffs, fans, students, preservationists and historians around the world.

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