Atom Tickets Survey Shows Increased Desire to Return to Cinemas


Atom Tickets announced the results of a new “Return to Moviegoing” survey as a follow up to the company’s May 2020 survey of the same name. Atom’s second survey, issued August 17, logged 16,000 U.S. digital moviegoer responses. 74 percent of respondents indicated that they are return to theaters within one month, and 40 percent said they are ready to return to theaters immediately, up from 59 percent and 25 percent respectively. On the flipside, only 0.8 percent said they never plan to return to theaters, and 15 percent said they would wait until there is a vaccine for the coronavirus. That number is down from 21 percent in May’s survey.

When asked to identify the most important safety measure to make them feel confident about going back to a movie theater, having spaced seating in the theater auditorium remains the most critical safety feature, with 34 percent saying this was a key condition. The next most critical safety measure noted by moviegoers (at 30%) is staff and guests wearing masks, more than doubling the 14% of people who voted for that option in May’s survey. 13 percent of respondents voted for heightened theater cleaning procedures, down from 21 percent in May. 85% of August moviegoers surveyed said that they plan on wearing a mask even if it is not required by the theater or local government.

The contactless trend that’s surging in the food and retail industries continues to be top-of-mind for moviegoers. 87 percent of moviegoers surveyed in August said that purchasing digital tickets from their own device and eliminating the need to interact with a cashier is an important safety measure, relatively flat with May findings (88%). Concessions may also look different in a post-COVID world, with customers leaning into ordering ahead and picking up their items instead of waiting in lines and being served directly over the counter. Of those who have never pre-ordered movie theater concessions, 68 percent said they are now likely to try it (up from 61% in May). Amongst those that have previously preordered their movie snacks, 90 percent say they would do it again.

“We’re encouraged by this new survey and believe it’s a good sign for the movie industry. Our data also showed that eagerness to return to the movies has more to do with how often you went to the movies before the pandemic rather than by age or region,” said Matthew Bakal, chairman and co-founder of Atom Tickets. “I’m pleased to see the heightened interest in safety measures including pre-ordering tickets and concessions. We know people want to enjoy the movies together with friends and family and will do so responsibly.”

The survey also revealed new films will get most moviegoers to return to the big screen. 49 percent of those surveyed said they would rather wait for new movies to be released before returning, compared to 35 percent who said they would return to cinemas to see re-releases of classic movies. Also according to the survey, the 2020 films that moviegoers are most excited to see on the big screen are Black WidowWonder Woman 1984, and No Time to Die. For 2021, moviegoers are already eager to see The Eternals from Marvel Studios, The Batman, and Jurassic World: Dominion.

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