These polls continue to both amuse and disturb me.
We’re polling people in the middle of a freaking pandemic about whether or not they want to see new movies at a movie theater when theaters aren’t even open? Of course most of those people polled will say they’d rather watch new movies at home!
Hello. Let’s poll people outside in Antarctica and ask them if they feel warmer inside or out? Gee, wonder what the results will be there?
1,000 people. That’s always the magic poll number, it seems. There are theaters with five times that seating capacity and that’s the poll that we’re supposed to believe represents the world at large?
In fairness to the Motley Fool, an investing website, they do say that a poll in May could be perceived as “unfair.”
You think? That should be the headline instead of what’s linked below.
Let that sink in for a celluloid minute: A new movie comes out. The choice comes down to a multiplex or a living room, and AMC’s industry comes in third? Just one in eight survey participants were sure that they would prefer the stadium seating, popcorn tubs, and crowd experience of the multiplex. In short, AMC is doomed.7 Out of 10 People Would Rather Be Home Than at a Multiplex
Look, I’m one of the last people who is going to stick up for AMC. I’ve criticized how they’ve behaved with Universal over Trolls World Tour (see: AMC Titanic May Just Have Struck Studio Iceberg – They Will No Longer Play ANY Universal Movies), for threatening not to show their movies when all of us know that’s an empty threat and for not embracing technology. These polls, however, are BS.
Do I believe they found 700 out of 1,000 people saying in May 2020 that they’d rather watch movies at home? Sure. Does that mean once theaters en masse are open again that 70% of the people who went to movies before will be staying home instead? No way.
I’m no expert on movie attendance, but would put the percentage of people not returning will be more like 30% less for awhile. How long all depends on what movies there are to see, how stir crazy the people locked up at home, etc.
Remember I’ve been out to casinos — multiple ones now — in Washington and Idaho and am here to tell you the crowds are there. If people are going to casinos, they’ll go to movies. Heck, one of the casinos in Washington has a movie theater on their property. No, it’s not reopened yet, but it will be — and I don’t believe 70% of the people who were there before the pandemic will not be returning.
I could be wrong here. Maybe the numbers will be higher. Maybe they’ll be lower than my 30% estimate.
What I know for a fact is while I’ve been out here working the entire time this has gone on, since we’re in an essential business, I’ve seen more people than this time of year normally in the stores.
Movie theaters will definitely be negatively impacted by the pandemic. Absolutely they will, but it won’t be a reduction of 70% or more of their prior business. Not unless they have no new movies to show.
That’s the number one thing that’s going to hurt the movie theaters: not enough new movies that people want to watch on their screens.
The picture at the top of this post shows movies, but none of them are coming soon in June. If theaters do reopen in June, they will probably see even higher than 70% of the people they normally have this time of year not coming back. Once the movies come back, so will customers.
It’s all about what’s playing on the big screen.
The next time you see one of these doomsday polls, realize how, where, when and why the poll was taken. Any polls taken right now are going to be worse than reality. My contention is that once the world opens up more — I mean, seriously, Nevada still hasn’t opened back up casinos yet, but various tribal casinos are opening across the United States.
Do you believe these polls are accurate? Use the comments below and weigh in.