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70% of people would rather rent a new movie than go to a theater

Published May 20th, 2020 8:08PM EDT
Image: ORLIN WAGNER/AP/REX/Shutterstock

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  • A new survey found that 70% of people would rather rent a new movie at home as opposed to going out to a theater.
  • In light of the coronavirus, 10% of people indicated they may not ever go back to a theater again.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

The coronavirus pandemic will likely have a long-lasting impact on a number of previously popular leisure activities. Absent the development of a vaccine, there’s a good chance that activities where people tend to sit in close proximity to one another will be decidedly less appealing. Indeed, this is why sporting events may be held in crowd-less stadiums and why comedy clubs — where patrons are packed tightly together — may not even open up until 2021.

Moviegoing is another activity that will likely be turned on its head because even people eager to return to a sense of normalcy are liable to have serious reservations about returning to packed theaters.

To this end, a new survey commissioned by our sister-site Variety asked 1,000 people if they’d rather rent and watch a new movie at home or go out and see the same movie in a theater. For purposes of the question, respondents were told to assume that the cost would be the same.

When the dust settled, an astounding 70% of respondents indicated that they would rather watch a movie from the comfort of their couch than go to a theater. Just 13% of respondents surveyed indicated a preference towards going to a movie theater. The other 17%, meanwhile, were unsure of what they might prefer. Incidentally, 10% of respondents said they may never go to a movie theater again.

What’s interesting is that the survey, which also included questions about attending other types of public events, found that anxiety about the coronavirus has increased over the last few weeks:

The top-line findings — especially in comparison with a similar Performance Research study conducted in mid-March — are equally stark. Even after the CDC and local governments say it’s safe to do so, 52% of respondents say they will attend fewer large public events, up from 44% in March, just days after the CDC declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic. Even more striking: This month, 60% of respondents say the idea of attending a big public event “will scare me for a long time,” up from 47% in March.

In short, the entertainment world, on the whole, will have to adjust to a post-coronavirus world in ways that remain unclear. On a related note, there has been speculation that concert tickets — once lockdown measures ease up — will skyrocket as touring acts will be forced to downgrade from arenas to much smaller venues. If you thought tickets to a Beyonce concert were expensive before, imagine how much more expensive they’ll be if she’s forced to play at venues with drastically less seating capacity.

At this point, it seems like the only way we can return to a pre-coronavirus lifestyle is if a vaccine is developed. The reality, though, is that developing a vaccine is a matter of if as opposed to when. The good news is that there are a few promising vaccines out there, but many scientists and medical researchers don’t believe one will become available until 2021 at the absolute earliest.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.