A dark theater, that big screen, the thrill of seeing a story come to life, and the smell of popcorn (and every snack food you can think of). This is the irreplaceable movie theater experience that keeps people coming back for more. 

A recent pulse on consumer sentiment from CivicScience showed 38% of U.S. adults miss the movie theater experience right now. The next best thing for people pining for the thrill of the movies would be an at-home showing, be it drastically subdued, and 40% of those who miss the movie theater experience have pursued that option.

People who miss the movies are unsurprisingly more likely than the Gen Pop to purchase or rent a movie at home, but only by 25%. In addition, intent levels from the Gen Pop are close to those who miss the movies (12% and 15% respectively).


Parents miss the movies more than non-parents and they over-index in their likelihood to have purchased or rented a movie to stream. If they over-index now, before summer vacation hits, imagine what the numbers could look like if pools, summer camps, and playdates aren’t an option when the school year ends.

New Releases

By now, most people are aware of a few new movies (intended for theaters before the pandemic and lockdowns) being available for rental or purchase on demand. CivicScience data show only 14% of U.S. adults have purchased or rented a new release. While some production companies might be understandably hesitant to add their feature to consumers’ on-demand options, the intent to purchase among the Gen Pop is at 19%. In addition, likelihood to have purchased and intent to purchase are high among people who have already rented or purchased a movie to stream and among parents.

These numbers are promising especially when considering extended quarantines (whether mandated or elected) and the potential for many movie seekers to run through much of their digital library.


Going to the movie theater has become a great expense – from the cost of the ticket to the wine or beer some theaters offer. But it doesn’t necessarily discourage people from going. People miss the movie theater no matter what their annual income is and without much difference between under $50K and over $100K earners.

While home streaming could offer a cost break for some people, especially families with kids, the data currently show people making under $50K a year are 67% less likely to have purchased or rented a movie to stream since lockdowns.

The data point to VOD rentals and purchases being a popular entertainment option as we battle the next steps of the coronavirus. With such high interest in the movie theater experience, and those interested people making a lot of on-demand purchases during quarantine, it’s likely movie-theater-lovers will want to go back to the cinema when they feel it is safe. What is difficult to tell at this point is if they will go at the same frequency as they did pre-quarantine.

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