Nearly a Quarter of Barbie Filmgoers Hadn’t Been to a Theater in Years

“Barbie” brought sporadic moviegoers back to theaters in a big way, a new survey from film tracking service The Quorum found. Quorum surveyed 1,800 “Barbie” ticket buyers in the U.S. over the past three weeks, finding that 11% “couldn’t remember the last film they had seen in a theater.” Another 11% said “Barbie” was the first film they had seen in a theater since the pandemic started in 2020.

That means that 22%, or close to a quarter of moviegoers surveyed, most likely had skipped “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Top Gun: Maverick,” among other popular post-pandemic theatrical releases, but were enticed by buzz and marketing blitz of the pink phenomenon.

The Quorum, which provides surveys on prospective filmgoers’ interest in upcoming films, estimated that 22% of total ticketbuyers would total around 9 million people who set foot in a multiplex for “Barbie,” and “Barbie” only.

Meanwhile, a healthy 46% of respondents said they go to the movies “all the time,” while 32% go “every now and again.”

The experience also reminded filmgoers that they like going to movies, Quorum said. Among the ticketbuyers surveyed, 40% said the experience reminded them how much they love going to the movies, and that they would go more often. However, a larger percentage, at 45%, said they would like to go more often, but cost is an issue. That group said it would take another movie “as exciting as ‘Barbie’ to get them to return to a theater.

Just 15% said “I don’t think seeing ‘Barbie’ means I will start seeing more movies in a theater. This was a one-off experience.”

Unfortunately, Quorum noted, there are few highly-anticipated wide releases coming to theaters in the next few months, despite the seeming hunger among moviegoers.

The only wide studio release in October, for example, is “The Exorcist: Believer,” on Oct. 13, and there are no wide releases at all set for the Oct. 6 weekend.

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