Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

No Zero Sum Game Between Streaming Services and Movie Theaters

Shira Petrack
March 14, 2022
No Zero Sum Game Between Streaming Services and Movie Theaters

Some analysts see the world as a set of zero sum games. This view holds that the expansion of e-commerce means the demise of brick and mortar stores; the growth of at-home fitness means that gyms will soon be obsolete; and the rise of streaming services means that the demand for movie theaters will disappear.

These voices grew especially strong over COVID. Many predicted that consumers would become so accustomed to shopping, exercising, and consuming entertainment from the comfort of their homes that they would no longer return to physical stores, fitness centers, and cinemas post-pandemic. 

We haven’t yet arrived to the post-pandemic era, but there are already promising signs that the predictions surrounding the extinction of gyms, stores, and theaters will not be borne out. We’ve covered the return of both fitness centers and physical retail extensively on our blog. Here, we dive into an industry with an even more controversial prognosis – in-theater entertainment. 

The Right Movies Still Draw Crowds

Movie theaters in general, and AMC in particular, may very well make a surprise rebound in 2022. As detailed in our latest report, AMC launched several innovative initiatives that are aligning the brand with current consumer trends. But there is also a more old-fashioned reason for optimism – people go to movie theaters to watch movies, and certain movies still have the potential to draw big crowds.  

COVID restrictions and concerns over health risks were not the only contributors to low movie theater attendance over the pandemic. Many release dates were deferred, and the lack of new movies – whether due to filming and editing delays or to an executive’s decision to wait for more favorable circumstances – kept people away. But that is changing in 2022 as numerous highly anticipated feature films, including a slew of DC and Marvel movies, are scheduled to come out this year.

The release of Spider-Man: No Way Home reveals the powerful draw the right movie has on audiences. The movie came out on December 16th, 2021, just as the Omicron surge was gaining momentum, but still managed to gross $260 million in North America on opening weekend. 

Foot traffic data confirms that AMC visits spiked as soon as the movie opened, peaking at a 1331.5% increase in visits on Sunday, December 18th when compared to a November 1st baseline. And visits were not just high over the opening weekend, the new Spiderman movie led a three-week surge in AMC foot traffic that impacted both weekend and weekday visits, despite the COVID wave that was sweeping the nation.

Robust Demand for Experiences

The Batman, initially scheduled for June 2021, was released in theaters on March 6th. It is still too early to assess the full impact The Batman will have on AMC visits over the next couple of weeks, but foot traffic for the movie’s opening weekend shows that despite the proliferation of stocked streaming services and fancy home entertainment systems, experiential movies still pull in large numbers. Visits to AMC locations during the movie’s opening weekend surpassed both 2019 and 2020 levels, when comparing foot traffic between the first weekends of March in 2019, 2020, and 2022. 

This is in line with the currently robust demand for experience. Two years into the pandemic, consumers know that they can obtain most services and products from the comfort of their homes, but certain experiences are only available by leaving the house. This is why successful malls are rebranding themselves as experiential, live-work-play hubs rather than as shopping centers. Shopping can be done online, but experiences can only be accessed in specific settings. And this is also the reason that consumers will continue going to theaters – where the big screen, surround sound, audience anticipation and excitement create an experience that is very difficult to recreate at home. 

For more data-driven consumer insights, visit our blog

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
All Eyes on Eyewear
Northwestern U.S. Grocery Dive
Return of the Lunch: Salad Chains Are Thriving
Retail Media Networks – Off the Beaten Track
Bet Your Bottom Dollar: Discount and Dollar Stores Drive Foot Traffic
Ulta & Lululemon: Discretionary Spending On The Up
The Score After Q1: Sporting Goods Chains
Who Uses NYC Airports: Biting Into The Big Apple’s Main Transport Hubs
Off Price: Strength in The Face of Retail Challenges
Visits Improve for Home Improvement
Walmart, Target & Wholesalers in Q1 2023 – The Return of Mission-Driven Shopping?
Department Store Roundup: Q1 2023 Office Index: April 2023 Recap Mall Index, April 2023 – A Rebound on the Horizon?
How Will Bed Bath & Beyond’s Bankruptcy Impact the Retail Space?
Buffet Restaurants: Filling Up on Foot Traffic
Thrift Stores: Vintage Visits Drive New Age in Apparel
The Windy City: A Hub of Post-Pandemic Opportunity
Diving into Dining Traffic - Q1 2023
Bring On The Joe
A Dollar (or more) For Your Thoughts: Five Below and pOpshelf
Dining Out With The Cheesecake Factory
Retail Foot Traffic Recap – March 2023
Digging Into 2023: McDonald’s and Chipotle Update Office Index: March 2023 Recap
How Did Key Retail Categories Perform in Q1 2023?
Northeastern USA Grocery Dive
Movie Theaters Storylines for 2023
Ollie's Bargain Outlet: Discounters are Evolving
Leveraging Brick-and-Mortar Retail in 2023
America’s Evolving Work Patterns: A Deep-Dive into New York and Chicago Mall Index March 2023
Tuning Into Record Stores
Five Franchises To Watch in 2023
What’s Next For Domestic Tourism?
It’s Showtime! Movie Theaters in the Spotlight
5 Limited Time Offers (LTOs) Driving Restaurant Traffic
Department Store Deep-Dive: Belk
Regional Grocery Chains Staying Ahead of the Competition
Five Chains that Rightsized for Success
Unlocking the Potential of Offline Retail Media Networks
Dining Out With Darden
What’s in Store for Self-Storage?
Nike & lululemon Update: Strong Performance Amid Expansion Plans
Many Ways to Win: Midwest Grocery Deep Dive
Retail, Reinvented: The Rise of the Pop-Up Shop
Navigating a New Normal in Business Travel & Commutes Office Index: February 2023 Recap
Retail Categories Staying Strong in Volatile Environment
Ulta Beauty: Poised for Success into 2023 Mall Index February 2023: Reasons for Continued Optimism
Catching Up With DICK’s & Hibbett
The Miami-Dade Arena: An Advertising Slam Dunk
Car Washes Revving Up Visits
Tuesday Morning and Sunrises in Home Furnishing
Dining & Valentine’s Day Recap
2023: The Year of the Discount Store
Aldi’s Success Highlights Growing Demand for Value Groceries
5 Retail & Service Categories Holding onto Pandemic Gains in 2023
Visitor Insights from Super Bowl 2023
2023 First Look: Home Improvement Update
How Are Target, Walmart, and Wholesale Clubs Faring in 2023?
Department Store Deep-Dive: Nordstrom
Off-Price: Taking Off in Uncertain Times
Checking in On Middle-Class Hubs
Who Attends the Super Bowl? Office Index: January 2023 Recap
Focusing On Fitness: Q4 and January Recap Mall Index: January 2023 – Returning Mall Normalcy?
Location Intelligence Insights Into Concert Attendance
Winning Dining Strategies for 2023
In-N-Out Burger: What to Expect as the Brand Moves East
Location Intelligence Breakdown: Coffee Caps-Off 2022
Digitally Native Brands Lean Into Brick & Mortar
Washington, D.C. Population Changes & Migration Trends
A Location Intelligence Perspective on Macy’s Rightsizing
Amazon-Powered Shopping: The Future of Brick-and-Mortar Grocery?
Cold Weather, Hot Visits: Diving into Winter Resorts
Wawa and 7-Eleven: Leaning Into the “Slurpee Effect”
2022 and Beyond: Catching Up With McDonald’s & Chipotle
Let’s Have Some Fun! Going Out Is In’s Q4 2022 Quarterly Index Adds Industry Executives to Leadership Team To Drive Company's Next Phase of Growth
5 Emerging Retail Formats: 2023’s Brick-and-Mortar Evolution
Grocery Update: Zooming in on the Lone Star State
2022 Office Recap: The Year of the TGIF Work Week
What Lies Ahead for Brick-and-Mortar Luxury in 2023 Mall Indexes: December 2022 Recap
Looking Back on 2022’s Holiday Shopping Season
Post-Pandemic Migration Trends in New York
Top Retailers for 2023
The Live Sports Advertising Opportunity
Domestic Migration to the Mountain States: Small Shifts with Big Implications
New Year, New Food: 5 Dining Trends For 2023
This is Why Shop-in-Shops Are Everywhere
Super Saturday 2022 Recap
The San Francisco Shift
Grocery Year-End Update: Publix in the Spotlight
Three Ways Retailers Can Think Small to Increase Store Impact