4172.0.55.001 - Perspectives on Culture, March 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/03/2011   
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With the advent of DVDs, Blu-Ray technology, home projector theatre systems and the ability to download movies from the internet, does anyone go the cinema anymore?

According to Screen Australia's analysis of Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (MPDAA) data, there were 403 films screened in Australian cinemas in 2010. Collectively these films grossed $1.13 billion, making last year’s box office the highest on record [Screen Australia media release January 2011]. Based on this it is clear that people do still enjoy the cinematic experience.

This is reinforced by data published in Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australia, 2009-10 (cat. no. 4114.0) [ABS]. With 2 out of 3 Australians aged 15 years and over attending a cinema at least once in the 12 months prior to interview, going to the movies was found to be the most popular surveyed cultural activity. Information on attendance relating to other cultural activities i.e. art galleries, museums, zoological parks and aquariums, botanic gardens, libraries, archives and performing arts events, is also available in the above publication.


The cinema had the highest attendance rate of all the venues and events surveyed, with an estimated 11.7 million people (or 67% of those aged 15 years and over) having been to a cinema in the 12 months before interview. Cinema attendance rates increased from 65% in 2005-06 to 67% in 2009-10.

Going to the movies was an activity that most people (90%) enjoyed more than once with over half (53%) of all attendees visiting a cinema five times or more during the 12 month period.

Area of residence

The highest attendance rates were recorded by residents in the Australian Capital Territory (76%). Attendance rates at cinemas were higher for residents of the six state capital cities (71%) than for residents in the rest of Australia (61%).

Characteristics of attendees

Whilst going to the movies was a very popular activity for young people, attendance rates declined with age. Most people (93%) aged 15-17 years visited a cinema at least once in the 12 months prior to interview, compared with 71% of those aged 35-44 years and 32% of people aged 75 years and over. Overall, the attendance rate for females (70%) was higher than the rate for males (64%).

ATTENDANCE AT CINEMAS, By age and sex - 2009-10
Graph: ATTENDANCE AT CINEMAS, By age and sex—2009-10

Between 2005-06 and 2009-10, statistically significant increases in attendance were shown for those aged 35-44 years (from 69% to 71%), 45-54 years (from 63% to 67%) and those aged 75 years and over (from 27% to 32%).

Looking at other personal characteristics, the highest attendance rates for cinema were reported by people who:
  • were in households with dependent children; 75% for couples and 78% for one parent families
  • were born in Australia (70%) or born overseas in a main English-speaking country (69%)
  • were employed in a part-time capacity (78%)
  • were in the highest equivalised household income quintile (81%).


Australian Bureau of Statistics Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australia, 2009-10 (cat. no. 4114.0)

Screen Australia 'Australian films at the local box office in 2010' media release 20 January 2011 http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/news_and_events/2011/mr_110120_boxoffice.aspx viewed 21 February 2011