I know what you’re thinking. It’s March 2017, why are we still talking about 2016? But hear us out. Every year around this time the Motion Picture Association of America releases its annual Theatrical Market Statistics Report, and it gives execs and movie theater owners a chance to take stock about the year before. Unsurprisingly, the report states yet again that Latino (or “Hispanic,” in the survey’s chosen label) moviegoers continue to be one of the steadiest and most loyal demographics in the United States.
Echoing his remarks from previous years, National Association of Theatre Owners president John Fithian told The Washington Post, “Diversity is a great thing for our business, diversity in the movies, diversity in people making the movies, diversity in people attending the movies.” He pointed to the Fast & Furious franchise as a model to emulate. “It was gigantic in part because it was a fantastically fun franchise, but also because the cast of the movie reflected the population of the world,” he added. One hopes Hollywood is listening and starts casting Latino actors in lead roles.
We read through the entire report (so you don’t have to!) and pulled out some key takeaways from this year’s report below. Check them out below.
In U.S. & Canada 246 Million People Went to the Movies in 2016
More than two-thirds (71%) of the U.S./Canada population went to the cinema at least once in 2016. That’s a 2% increase from 2015. Frequent moviegoers, individuals who go to the cinema once a month or more, continue to drive the movie industry. While they’re only 11% of the population in the U.S. and Canada, they account for 48% of all tickets sold. If you want to break down these numbers even further, you learn that there is inexplicably, a third of the population that doesn’t go to the movies—perhaps they’re too happy with their Netflix subscription?
Latinos Are More Likely to Be "Frequent Moviegoers" Than Other Minority Groups in the U.S.
Latinos continue to overrepresent in the population of frequent moviegoers. That is, they proportionally buy up more tickets than their demographic breakdown would suggest. Nevertheless, 2016 saw the number of African American frequent moviegoers increased compared to 2015—no doubt due to the solid number of diverse movies released last year (including the box office hit Hidden Figures). Oh, and yes, you’re reading that graph correctly, the numbers of Caucasian frequent moviegoers are going down.
Latinos Buy More Tickets Than Any Other Minority Group
Now here are the numbers that executives unwilling to greenlight properties that appeal to diverse audiences need to hear over and over again: “Although Caucasians make up the majority of the population (62%) and moviegoers (59%), they represented a smaller share of 2016 ticket sales (51%), similar to previous years.” Look at the graph: Latinos, African-Americans, and other minorities buy more tickets and go see more movies than their white counterparts. Imagine if studios tapped into that market rather than see them as somehow niche properties!
There Is One Latino Moviegoing Metric That's Decreasing
Okay, here’s something that should give pause to those touting these numbers. Per capita attendance for Latinos is at the lowest it’s been since 2012. That means that while the U.S. Latino population continues to buy up tickets and head to the movies more often than, say, white moviegoers, those numbers are going down. Might it be a case of audiences getting tired of not seeing themselves on screen? Might they be more likely to spend their money now on Hulu or Netflix? Are they just finding better entertainment elsewhere?
Disney-Pixar Properties Attract the Most Diverse Audiences
“According to comScore/Screen Engine’s “PostTrak,” among the top grossing films, The Jungle Book drew the most ethnically diverse audience, followed by Finding Dory and Captain America: Civil War.” And yes, we’re as surprised as the next guy about the fact that the Diego Luna-starring Rogue One didn’t fare better along these lines, though you have to admit that between its live action adaptations, its Pixar sequels, and its Marvel and Star Wars properties, the Mouse House clearly knows how to make films that cater to a broad swath of the population.