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Report on Let's Go to the Movies!

Smart girls decide for themselves™.

Movie Madness
The thrill of seeing a movie on the big screen, handfuls of buttery popcorn, those cute little ticket stubs...seeing a show in the theater is certainly an experience. In this survey, we asked you to come along with us as we explored the world of movie-seeing and uncovered a list of your movie favorites, your movie routines and your movie-going secrets. Read on to find out what they are!
Who Are These Movie-Goers?
Many of you decided to fill out this survey and give us your opinions - 828 of you to be exact. 796 of you are girls and 15 are boys, and you range in age from 6 to older than 22. The majority of you were between the ages of 12 and 14 when you took this survey. More oldest children responded to this survey than anyone else, and middle children had the least number of representatives. Besides these facts, you also come from many different places around the world. Most of you told us you live in a suburb or a town, and we had some of you respond from places as far away as Uganda, Belarus, Eritrea, and New Zealand. The make-up of racial/ethnic backgrounds looked like this:
  • African: 72 people
  • Asian: 55 people
  • European: 305 people
  • Latin American: 41 people
  • Middle Eastern: 19 people
  • Native American: 27 people
  • Oceania/Pacific Islander: 11 people
  • Multiracial: 86 people
  • No answer: 212 people

    With such a diverse group of people, we got a diverse group of opinions, and that's awesome!
  • Let's Go to the Show!
    We all know people who absolutely love going to a theater to see a movie. Whether they go for the popcorn or the huge screen, they adore going out to see a show. Others would rather wait until the big flicks come out on DVD so they can pop them in and relax at home. In order to determine your style, as asked, "On average, how often do you go to the movie theater?"
  • 2% of you never go to the theater to see a movie.
  • 37% of you hit the theater once or twice a year.
  • 23% of you enjoy going to the theater once a month.
  • 16% of you view a show at the theater twice a month.
  • 10% of you make it to the theater three times a month.
  • 5% of you go to the show four times a month.
  • 6% of you attend a show at the theater at least five or more times a month. That's a lot of movies!

  • Cha-Ching, Cha-Ching
    What types of factors influence your decisions to go see a movie? The price of movies these days? It might be interesting to find out whether the price of movies keeps people from going out to the theater or not. If you ever decide to create a SmartCenter project using this survey, that might be something cool to investigate. Until then, check out the statistics below on how much movie tickets cost and see what you think.
    "A ticket for an evening show at my local theater costs about..."
    Looking at this graph shows us that at most of your local theaters, movie tickets cost between $5 and $8.
    Now that we know how much tickets cost at your local theaters, it's time to consider what you think about that. We asked you to tell us how well you agree with the following statement:

    "I think movie theaters charge too much for tickets."
  • 47 of you disagree with this statement.
  • 60 of you somewhat disagree with this statement.
  • 187 of you are neutral when it comes to this statement.
  • 207 of you somewhat agree with this statement.
  • 305 of you agree with this statement.
  • Motion-Picture Preferences
    When you're hitting the theater, what's your style? Do you like going to the show with your friends or by yourself? Are you an early bird or are you the one strolling into the theater five minutes in? We asked a series of questions to figure out your silver screen style. Check out what you told us:
    "When you go see a movie, who do you usually go with?"
    Family and friends it is! It looks like most of you would rather hit the show with family and friends in tow than with a date or by yourself.
    "What time of day do you prefer to go see movies?"
    Almost half of you prefer a midday show to a first showing, an after dinner show or a late show.
    What time do you usually get to a movie?

  • 30% of you told us you get to a show approximately 15 to 20 minutes before the show begins.
  • 55% of you usually get to the theater 5 to 10 minutes before the movie starts.
  • 12% of you roll in right on time.
  • 3% of you usually stroll (or run) in after the movie as started.
  • "Where do you usually sit in the movie theater?"
    It looks like the middle of the theater is the most popular place to camp out for a show.
    We asked you when you prefer to see movies, and you told us...
  • As soon as it's released (184 of you)
  • A while after release, when there's less of a crowd (224 of you)
  • When it's moved to the cheap second-run theatre (17 of you)
  • When it's released on video (38 of you)
  • It depends on the movie (240 of you)
  • I don't have a preference (125 of you)
  • Don't Forget the Munchies!!
    Take a deep breath and smell that nice, buttery popcorn smell that hits you right as you walk into the theater. It's a good reminder, since for some people, half of going to the movies is about getting movie snacks. These days, it seems as though you can get just about anything to eat at some theaters - from popcorn, to candy, and even pizza and hot dogs. But movie theater food tends to be more than pricey, and sometimes people will sneak in food they've bought somewhere else. We wondered if you do that, so we asked:

    "Do you ever bring snacks you've gotten from somewhere other than the theater with you to the movies?"
  • 11% of you always bring outside snacks into the movies with you.
  • 20% of you bring your own snacks most of the time.
  • 26% of you sneak in snacks some of the time.
  • 24% of you rarely bring in your own snacks.
  • 20% of you never bring in outside snacks.
  • Are You Sneaky?
    It's one thing to sneak snacks into a movie, it's another to sneak *yourself* in.
    "Have you ever sneaked into a movie that you didn't pay for?"
  • 13 of you told us you sneak into movies all the time.
  • 13 of you told us you sneak into movies most of the time.
  • 43 of you told us you sneak into movies sometimes.
  • 106 of you told us you sneak into movies once in awhile.
  • 637 of you told us you never sneak into movies.
  • The Rating Game
    The next few questions ask about movie ratings. Because there are so many rating systems around the world, we couldn't ask questions about every rating system. Instead, we asked you to think of your rating system and equate it with the rating system used in the U.S., where G is the lowest rated movie and NC-17 is the highest.
    What is the highest rating that your parent(s)/guardian gives you permission to watch?
    A rating race! 319 people told us their parents will let them watch up to R rated movies, and 310 informed us their parents will let them watch up to PG-13s.
    We had a sneaky suspicion that even though some of your parents don't allow you to see movies of a certain rating level, that maybe (just maybe) you might see them anyway. We asked...

    "What is the highest rated movie you have ever seen?"
  • 172 people told us they have seen an NC-17 rated movie.
  • 431 indicated they have seen R rated movies.
  • 157 replied that they have seen PG-13 rated movies.
  • 14 told us they have seen up to PG rated movies.
  • 54 let us know that the highest rated movie they have seen is a G rated movie.

    Now, maybe it's just us, but it looks like some of you are seeing movies rated higher than your parents allow you to see. Let's take a more in-depth look at the stats for NC-17 rated movies:
  • 103 indicated that their parents allow them to see NC-17 rated movies, but 172 told us that they've seen NC-17 rated movies.

  • Rate the Ratings
    Above, we determined that some of you watch movies with higher ratings than your parents would prefer you to see. Does this mean that you don't believe what you watch should be decided by a rating system? We asked how useful you think movie ratings are, and the graph below shows what you had to say.
    "How useful do you think movie ratings are?"
    The majority of you believe ratings to be somewhat useful or mostly useful.
    Speaking of Parents...
    While we're on the topic of ratings and what your parents would like you to see and what they wouldn't, we thought it would be a good time to ask what happens if your parents find out you've seen a movie that you weren't supposed to. "Have you ever been grounded for going to see a movie that you weren't supposed to see?"
  • 3 of you have been grounded lots of times for seeing movies your parents didn't want you to.
  • Only 1 person told us she/he has been grounded quite a few times for seeing movies her/his parents didn't approve of.
  • 21 of you indicated that you've been grounded for this once or twice.
  • 773 of you have never been grounded for seeing a movie your parents didn't want you to see.
  • "Want to see a movie?"
    With all the movies out there, it can be hard to know about all of them and decide which ones you want to go see. Where to you learn about the different movies that are playing?

    Most of you (376) told us you learn about movies mainly from ads. Others of you learn about new movies from previews (185) or from your friends (120). Smaller numbers of you learn about movies online (67), from watching TV (41), from your family members (25) or from magazines (14).

    Some people, once they hear about a movie that sounds interesting to them, won't go see it unless they read a good review of it. Are SmartGirls like that? We asked if you generally read reviews before seeing a movie.
  • 267 of you do not read reviews because you don't want them to affect your opinion of the movie.
  • 199 of you do not read reviews, saying that you don't agree with them most of the time anyway.
  • 176 of you will read a review of a movie if you've never heard of the movie before.
  • 162 of you usually read reviews, saying you wouldn't want to waste money on a movie that's not worth your time.
  • Some of you learn about movies from ads - some of you from reviews. But what influences you the most when you're trying to figure out whether or not to see a film?
    "What's the most important factor in your decision to watch a movie?"
    Family or friends want to see it 22427.05
    The trailer looks good 35843.24
    The stars in the movie 17120.65
    The director of the movie 111.33
    The reviews of the movie 647.73
    More of you say the movie trailer is the most important factor in your decision to watch a movie than anything else.
    Movie Peer Pressure?
    224 of you let us know that you consider which movies your family and friends want to see an important factor in your own decision to see a movie. Does that mean that you'll always go see a movie if your friends want to see it, even if you don't want to? That might be something else to investigate in a SmartCenter project. For now, check out the pie graph below that shows how many of you total would see a movie if your friends wanted to see it, even if you didn't want to see it - and how many of you would flat-out say no.
    "If you don't want to see a movie but your friends do, will you go see it anyway?"
    The majority of you told us that you might consider going to see a movie that you don't really want to see if your friends want to see it.
    "I'm Not Going to Watch This Movie."
    Maybe you've told someone that before, or maybe you've heard it spoken - but either way, sometimes we really don't want to see specific movies. Often it may be because we think it's going to be boring or it's about a subject that doesn't interest us. But other times, it may be because of movie content. Different movies contain different things, and it would be hard to please everyone, so sometimes, movies have content that we don't approve of. How does this content affect your decision to see a movie? Check out the graph below.
    "Have you ever refused to see a movie because it had content you didn't approve of?"
    It looks like half of you have refused to see a movie you didn't approve of at least once and the other half have never refused to see a movie because of content.
    It's one thing to not see a movie because of its content. It's another to get up in the middle of the movie and leave the theater. We wanted to know if you've ever left a film and for what reason. Here's what you had to say:
  • 93 of you have walked out of a movie because you found it boring.
  • 27 of you have walked out of a movie because you found it offensive.
  • 47 of you have walked out of a movie because you found it stupid.
  • 42 of you have walked out of a movie because you found it scary.
  • 19 of you have walked out of a movie because of noise or disturbance in the theater.
  • 578 of you have never walked out of a movie.
  • Flick Favorites
    Now that we know your tendencies for avoiding movies, let's talk about what makes you want to see specific films. We wanted to know what types of movies you like, which young actors and actresses you especially like and which chick flicks are your favorites, so we came up with the following four questions. Read on to find out what your film favorites are...
    What's your favorite type of movie?
    Who's laughing now? Comedy movies beat out all other types of movies to be your favorite kind to watch.
    Who's your favorite young actress?
    Amanda Bynes 384.65
    Hilary Duff 13816.87
    Kirsten Dunst 435.26
    America Ferrera 161.96
    Anne Hathaway 627.58
    Keira Knightley 809.78
    Zoe Saldana 101.22
    Lindsay Lohan 14818.09
    Natalie Portman 455.5
    Amber Tamblyn 222.69
    Emma Watson 9411.49
    None of the above 12214.91
    Lindsay Lohan just barely beat out Hilary Duff to be ranked as your favorite actress.
    Who's your favorite young actor?
    Orlando Bloom 14017.14
    Nick Cannon 779.42
    Hayden Christensen 344.16
    Leonardo DiCaprio 576.98
    Jake Gyllenhaal 283.43
    Ashton Kutcher 9411.51
    Tobey Maguire 202.45
    Chad Michael Murray 15318.73
    Daniel Radcliffe 9311.38
    Elijah Wood 161.96
    None of the above 10512.85
    Chad Michael Murray knocked out Orlando Bloom to be named your favorite young actor.
    The next question asks about chick flicks. There are a few different definitions of the term "chick flick." Here, we mean a movie that focuses on at least 2 women and their relationship with one another.
    "What's your favorite 'chick flick?'"
    Beaches 202.5
    Bend it Like Beckham 15018.73
    Ya-Ya Sisterhood 182.25
    Enchanted April 20.25
    Fried Green Tomatoes 162
    The Joy Luck Club 20.25
    A League of Their Own 232.87
    Little Women 404.99
    Mermaids 91.12
    Mona Lisa Smile 313.87
    Now and Then 404.99
    Practical Magic 162
    Romy and Michele's H.S. Reunion 496.12
    Sisterhood of the Traveling Pnts 18122.6
    Steel Magnolias 162
    Stepmom 506.24
    The Truth About Cats & Dogs 70.87
    Waiting to Exhale 192.37
    I don't like "chick flicks" 11213.98
    The Summer Screen Scene
    This past summer, tons of new movies hit the theater, and many of them received fantastic reviews. Which ones were you eager to see?
    "Which of the following movies have you been most looking forward to seeing this summer?"
    summer flicks
    Advent. of Shark Boy & Lava Girl 871.93
    The Bad News Bears 1282.83
    Batman Begins 1182.61
    The Brothers Grimm 601.33
    Charlie & the Chocolate Factory 50411.16
    The Dukes of Hazzard 2154.76
    Fantastic Four 2054.54
    Herbie: Fully Loaded 2565.67
    Howl's Moving Castle 210.47
    The Island 1012.24
    The Longest Yard 1763.9
    Madagascar 3177.02
    Mr. & Mrs. Smith 2996.62
    The Perfect Man 2816.22
    Rebound 841.86
    Sisterhood of the Traveling Pnts 4299.5
    Star Wars: Episode III 1613.57
    Valiant 400.89
    War of the Worlds 2335.16
    The Wedding Crashers 2796.18
    None of the above 200.44
    Bewitched 3207.09
    The Honeymooners 711.57
    Other 1112.46
    Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants look like they were top on your list of movies to see this past summer.
    On the Screen or Behind the Scenes?
    Enough talk of going to the movies, let's talk about being in the movie business! Would you like to be a glamorous actress or would you prefer to be an acclaimed choreographer, director or something else? We asked which movie biz careers you're considering. Here's the rundown:
  • 414 of you are considering careers as an actress/actor.
  • 242 of you might like being a makeup artist.
  • 152 of you like the idea of being a costume designer.
  • 141 of you are entertaining the idea of being a choreographer.
  • 124 of you are considering being directors.
  • 114 of you are interested in being set designers.
  • 109 of you like the idea of being movie critics.
  • 104 of you are fond of the idea of being scriptwriters.
  • 73 of you might like to be producers.
  • 73 others of you might like to be editors.
  • 72 of you are considering careers as stunt performers.
  • 67 of you like the idea of working with special effects.
  • 61 of you might enjoy being sound artists.
  • 59 of you would like to be animators.
  • 44 of you would like to work with music and compose movie scores.
  • 176 of you indicated that you aren't interested in a career in the movie business.
  • Design Your Own Theater
    We asked, "If you were asked to design and run a movie theater and had the freedom to do whatever you wanted, what would it be like?"

    Here are some of your very creative answers!

    "Food would be sold in the actual place the movie would take place in so people wouldn?t have to walk so far to get food and miss a big part of the movie. The seats would be placed as if on a hill so nobody's head could get in someone else's way."

    "It would be pretty big and show only the movies I?ve been to the premiere and enjoyed. It would be pretty $5 for adults, kids 5 and under free and children $1, because the price will attract more customers, so I will get just as much money as the higher priced theatres. Food and drinks will be $2 or less! It would be an awesome theatre!"

    "I would make the prices as low as I could. I would make the seats recline-able chairs. There would be an arcade and free refills on everything. I would have the front be all purple with old fashioned designs on the inside."

    "It would have a big clean up crew so the theater was never messy. It would have a lot of games, a big snack place, tables, and the theater would have cup holders and reclining and couple seats."

    "Hmm...I would have a swimming pool in the aisles. :) So if you got too hot or bored you could go for a swim :) hehe."

    "Tickets would be $3, popcorn would be 25 cents, it would have a huge game room with laser tag. We'd have "premiere" parties on the opening night of the movie, and Switchfoot music would be playing before the movie starts so that people won't get bored!!"

    "It would have rooms specially made for horror/action/comedy/romance/chick flick etc. The rooms would match the type of movies showed - e.g the room showing horror movies would be dark, black and spooky!
    There would be a room for 3D movies and a room for 4D movies."

    "It would have incredibly big theaters so that you would have a good chance to get the seat you want, a large concession stand with many employees to avoid long lines, an arcade and lounge so that people could just relax before a movie, and a cafe and coffee shop so that people could discuss movies afterward. I'd use lots of reds, golds, and silvers. There will also be plenty of restrooms for easy access."

    "I would make a system where if there was a group of 4 or more people, they could pay a reduced price. That way, they would be rewarded for bringing their friends!"

    "I would make a rollercoaster to get to the different screens and I would make it more cozy, adding cushions and sofas. I would offer a more varied choice of snacks and make the theatre cleaner. I would also show all movies- my local cinema don't listen to what the public want, e.g. they didn't show Legally Blonde II because the owner didn't like that type of movie. I would also make adverts shorter."

    "You would have your own little room, like a box seat, with a couch, and a mini fridge, so it's very private, and you don?t have to think about other people or be disturbed by them."

    "I would sell delicious snacks, like ice cream and popcorn, but not expensive, because I can't afford that anyway. It would have hot pink curtains on the screen to move back when the movie starts. I would always have nice employees and let them in free. I would even ask stars like Hilary Duff and Anne Hathaway make special appearances at the movies that they star in! The tickets wouldn't be too expensive either, unless you got to meet a star."

    "It would be a dome theater, with interactive effects. Ex: If there is an earthquake, the seats start shaking, if there is a splash, the seats in front of them squirt water, if they are somewhere cold, the seats in front of them have fans the turn on, if they are somewhere hot, the seats in front have heaters the turn on. And the seats would have springs in them so that if they are falling, flying, accelerating, turning, jumping, etc, the audience would also do so."

    "My idea of a new hip movie theatre would be totally retro! I mean super funky! We would be able to order ice cream sodas and watch the movie on a big screen in a caf? the old ice cream shops in the 50s and you could choose whether to sit in a private booth closer to the big screen, and enjoy the movie with your date or sit at the counter watching as u order your fav ice cream soda flavor! My movie theatre would be totally fab!!!"

    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us!

    Please remember that all web-based polls are not scientific because the pollsters cannot randomly select the respondents to participate in the surveys.

    All our surveys are anonymous; check out our privacy policy. All data copyright 1996-2000.


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