The Movie Theater Visit Recovery is Underway

It might be time to get excited about the potential of movie theaters. 

Even in a period dominated by the strength of streaming services, there is a confluence of trends that just might give this segment a much needed boost.

The Recovery is Happening

A critical starting point is that when looking at visits to AMC Theaters and Regal Cinemas nationwide, there is a clear recovery trend. Looking at a 2022 ravaged by challenges from Omicron in January to inflation and rising gas prices in the Spring, and yet, the Year over Three Year visit gap was still at its lowest in May. AMC and Regal saw visits down 33.0% and 29.3% respectively compared to May 2019, the strongest mark since the start of the year.

And this shift is being driven by a clear boost in traffic. Visits in May were up 39.1% and 42.8% respectively for AMC and Regal locations, and diving deeper into the numbers reveals a very obvious cause.

Big, blockbuster movies are being released and the result is significant visit improvements. The week beginning May 2nd saw visits down just 8.5% and 0.1% for AMC and Regal respectively, because of the wildly successful release of Marvel’s Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Not to be outdone by caped superheroes, the late May release of Top Gun: Maverick sent even higher standards with both chains seeing Yo3Y visit gaps down significantly the week beginning May 30th and actual growth the week beginning June 6th. 

Did these movies have a very positive impact? Yes! Can the success continue? Quite possibly.

To start, there is a run of major blockbusters still scheduled for this summer including major family oriented movies. In addition, movie theaters have traditionally seen boosts during periods of significant economic uncertainty. With gas prices and continued inflation still making their impact felt, the relatively low cost opportunity in movies presents a more value oriented way to get out of the house and disconnect. 

While there are still foundational questions the movie theater space needs to address, there is a real opportunity for an extended period of strength in the coming months. And considering the intensity of ‘demise of the movie theater’ narratives in recent years, the timing could not be better.

Can this unique environment ignite a theatre comeback? Visit Placer.ai to find out.

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