Coronavirus has most Americans wanting to watch new movies at home

More than half of U.S. consumers would rather watch a new feature film in the comforts of their own home over dedicated movie theaters, according to a recent study conducted by multimedia analytics firms Performance Research and Full Circle Research Co.

The survey, which was shared with Variety, was conducted in mid-May and gathered responses from 1,000 people – 70 percent of whom said they are more likely to watch new movies from their couch. Only 13 percent said they are more likely to watch new movies at a local cinema while the remaining 17 percent said they are not sure.

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In fact, 47 percent of respondents said they would pay $10 to watch a new movie at home while 20 percent said they would pay $20, 6 percent would pay $30, 3 percent would pay $40 and 1 percent would pay $50 or more. Nineteen percent of respondents said they would watch a new film at home if it was free.

“Just as the country begins to open up there has been a swing toward increasing caution, with a majority of Americans clearly saying ‘not yet’ when it comes to attending large public events,” said Jed Pearsall, the president of Performance Research.

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The survey of 1,000 people amid the coronavirus pandemic found that 70% said they are more likely to watch a new movie at home. Roughly 47% said they’re comfortable buying food and beverages from concession stands. (Photo credit: LOIC VENANCE/AFP via

Health-related anxiety over the safety of movie theaters during the coronavirus pandemic spells trouble for the already struggling industry.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they plan on going to movie theaters less often whenever they reopen – which is up from 28 percent of those who said the same in March, according to Variety. Another 10 percent said they may never go to a movie theater again – which is up from 6 percent in March.

U.S. consumers are very much concerned with the cleaning protocols and social distancing procedures that are being implemented in public venues.

Sixty-one percent said they would be willing to step into public venues if there is a mandatory face-covering policy. Only 16 percent said they would likely not attend if such a policy existed. Moreover, a majority of the survey’s respondents said they would find comfort if public venues limited capacity to 60 percent.

Forty-seven percent said they’re comfortable buying food and beverages from concession stands and 46 percent said they’ll use public restrooms.

“Event organizers should take notice,” commented Pearsall. “Fans of all types of events can identify significant milestones and new safety precautions that will get them back. Simply opening the doors will not be enough.”

When asked which movie genre would bring them back to theaters, comedy was the winner at 43 percent. Dramas were a close second at 35 percent while superhero action movies snagged third place at 33 percent and horror movies secured fourth place at 19 percent.

Last but not least, 90 percent of respondents said their movie-watching decisions are dependent on whether a cure for the coronavirus is found.

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