Since the early days of the pandemic, the market research firm Morning Consult has polled consumers to gauge interest in taking part in out-of-home entertainment activities such as going to the movies, attending a concert or visiting a museum or amusement park. Because their polling has been conducted regularly over time, it has established clear trendlines in the evolution of consumer attitudes.
In the most recent poll from 9/25, 45% of U.S. adults indicated that they feel comfortable returning to movies. This figure peaked at 55% in the survey from 7/4. Despite this recent decline, actual box office results have risen throughout the summer, with Gen Z and Millennial audiences showing the most interest in the summer slate. Even before the pandemic, only a portion of the general public were regular moviegoers, so the first order of business for the industry was to get those reliable customers to come back to the theatre.
The key to the summer box office recovery has been Hollywood releasing a steady stream of movies with wide commercial appeal, beginning on Memorial Day weekend with “A Quiet Place Part II” (5/28) and continuing through the summer with “F9” (6/25), “Black Widow” (7/9), “Jungle Cruise” (7/30), “Free Guy” (8/13), “Candyman” (8/27) and the record-breaking Labor Day opening of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (9/3).