Even as cinemas face restrictions amid rising COVID-19 infection rates, Christmas box office – fueled by young moviegoers – may be safe for Hollywood tents in the face of the wave omicron.
A YouGov survey of around 1,000 Americans on December 20 showed that 53% of respondents aged 18 to 29 were no more or less likely to visit theaters amid the new omicron variant. Another 20 percent of those polled said they were less likely to go to the local multiplex, and only 3 percent said they were more likely to go to the movies.
The YouGov survey designed exclusively for Hollywood journalist found that 23% of people aged 30 to 44 were more likely to visit theaters, 34% were neither more nor less likely to attend, and 27% were less likely to go out to the multiplex.
The omicron variant has become the dominant COVID-19 strain in the United States, accounting for 73% of new coronavirus infections, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on December 20. This rapid spread has caused studios and exhibitors in Hollywood to debate how it is best to release versions of tentpole two years after the start of the pandemic.
At the same time, as the crucial holiday movie season approaches, major studios have seen a reborn box office for tents like No time to die, Dune and especially Tom Holland starrer from Sony Spider-Man: No Path Home, which hit theaters in mid-December.
Older consumers, unlike younger moviegoers, are more likely to stay home to watch movies as audiences grow worried about the faster spreading and heavily mutated omicron variant. The YouGov survey identified that 39% of American respondents aged 45 to 64 were less likely to go to the theater, while 37% of respondents were neither more nor less likely to visit the multiplex.
Of course, Hollywood studios have an international calculation on when and how to release tentpole movies. And a separate YouGov survey of world cinema conducted between November 16 and December 6 – when the Delta variant took hold and before the emergence of the omicron – found that of 2,628 Americans surveyed, 195 said that ‘they were more likely to visit theaters, another 767 said they were no more or less likely to attend and 640 respondents said they were less likely to visit theaters.
Another 813 US respondents said they did not come out in theaters in the middle of the Delta variant. Of the 2,026 UK consumers surveyed by YouGov in the previous period, 76 said they were more likely to visit theaters, 807 insisted they were not more or less likely to visit theaters. to attend, 543 respondents said they were less likely to go out at the multiplex and 487 Brits said they did not visit indoor theaters.