24 and unders abandoned moviegoing in 2013

Variety reports from the convention that used to be called ShowWest that the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) that that 18-24 audience dropped 21% last year.

The main “frequent moviegoer” demo, 39 and under, dropped 16%.

Too many choices? Too little disposable income that they’re aiming at gadgets, games and aps for those gadgets? Probably.

Maybe they’re not dating as much. That age group is also toting around less cash.

The thing is, that’s the audience movies pander to. And if they’re not going, if they’re not developing a lifelong (until they’re 30ish, anyway) habit, Hollywood is making a lot of crappy horror movies, comic book epics and teen-centric supernatural romances. For nothing. “Divergent” could be a last hurrah.

Hispanics are a disproportionally large part of the frequent filmgoer class. More films that have Hispanic inclusion? “Cesar Chavez” won’t make a dime. But if it does, there’s data to tell us why. That same data points to why “Need for Speed” tanked. No “Fast & Furious” diversity for its car-crazy cast.


Hollywood has been trying for decades to get that older audience back into theaters, and it now looks like that audience might be a partial lifeline. In 2015, we’ll see a sequel to “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” So, there’s that. Frequent movie goers only comprise 11% of the overall audience, and growing that group will be a challenge, young or older.

What I predict will happen will be a bigger push toward interactive movie experiences, twitter contests and other things that allow the distracted to distract themselves with gadgets while they should be losing themselves in the world the film they’re watching is supposed to create.

Hopefully, it’s just a downward bump — temporary.

There are hundreds of film schools with thousands and thousands of students who are gambling on the wrong horse, otherwise.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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