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The Evolution of Movie Premieres

September 30, 2021

How Consumers Have Shifted Viewing Experiences for New Movie Premieres

The way that consumers can watch new movie premieres has changed a lot over the past 18 months. With the recent success of movies releasing simultaneously both in theaters and on streaming, we decided to dig a little deeper on the topic to see what consumers think.

Going to the Movies

Overall, it seems that consumers are still a bit hesitant to go to the movies with a little less than half (48%) of US Adults saying that they would be willing to go to the movies in the next week. Younger generations are much more willing to go to the movies compared with older generations.


Ways to Watch New Movie Premieres

63% of consumers said that they would consider paying to stream a movie at home rather than go to a movie theater. Gen Z (72%) and Millennials (71%) said that they were the most willing to pay to stream a new movie release at home rather than going to a theater.


With HBO and Disney both announcing that new movie releases will run exclusively in cinemas for 45 days, before they are available for streaming, we asked consumers what they thought about the different viewing options. The majority of consumers would prefer to wait until movies become available via streaming. Gen Z and Millennials are less willing to wait the 45 days. Notably they are the most willing to go to the movies for the next movie that they are interested in seeing. Those Gen Z and Millennial consumers that were not willing to go to the theater in the next week were also more likely to pay to stream movies at home (25% for Gen Z and 26% for Millennials). Baby Boomers are notably not at all likely to pay to stream premieres at home (4%).

How to Stream New Movie Premieres

Most people can probably relate to the situation where a friend or family member tells us about a new movie that we would like. Then come to find out that it is not available on one of the streaming services that you subscribe to. This is a situation that is only all the more prevalent with new movie premieres. 24% of consumers in this situation would throw in the towel and just not watch the movie. This is especially the case with Gen X (21%) and Baby Boomers (39%). Gen Z on the other hand is much more determined to get the content that they want with 24% responding that they would ‘Find some other way to watch’ and 19% saying they would ‘Use someone else’s login’. The most likely consumers to subscribe to a new platform to get to the movie premieres that they want are Millennials (25%) and Gen X (20%).


What Consumers Want to Watch

Certain types of movies are more likely to bring consumers to the theater. Action (46%) and Comedy (45%) are the two genres most likely to bring consumers out of their homes and into theaters. Animation, on the other hand, is the least likely genre to bring consumers to the movies with only 17%. The numbers seem to suggest that Disney might find more success with Pixar releases straight to streaming and Marvel movies keeping with the major theatrical premieres.

Which types of new movies are you most likely to visit the theater to watch?


Disney+ vs. HBO Max

The two main platforms that have offered movie premieres straight to streaming are Disney+ and HBO Max. More consumers have streamed movie premieres from home through HBO Max (46%) than Disney+ (33%). This is not such a surprise given that HBO Max’s movie premieres were/are free with a subscription whereas Disney+ premiere cost consumers $30.


Among the movies that Disney and HBO have released, The Suicide Squad and Godzilla vs. Kong were the top watched for HBO. Black Widow came in at the top of the list for Disney. Notably, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights did not see the same success as many of the other premieres on HBO Max.


The Theater vs. the Living Room

Overall, consumers said that watching movie premieres at home was cheaper and more comfortable than going to the movie theater. However, the silver lining for the silver screen is that only 20% of respondents said that watching the movie premiere at home was an overall better experience than going to the theater.


One notable generation difference that we saw was consumers who were worried responded “I did not have to worry about safety” when watching a movie premiere at home. Gen X (46%) and Baby Boomers (54%) both responded at a higher rate than the average US Adult (39%).



So, what’s the conclusion of this grand COVID induced movie premiere experiment? The results of our survey point to the fact that Gen Z and Millennials are the most likely to take advantage of streaming options for movie premieres. Cost is also a major driver in the number of people that stream from home. One major example of this is the fact that HBO Max saw more US Adults streaming movie premieres through a $14.99 subscription than Disney which requires both a subscription to Disney+ and an additional $30 per movie premiere. While it is clear from the data that consumers enjoy more (and cheaper) viewing options, I think the most telling data point is that only 20% of consumers would describe their experience streaming from home as better than going to the theater.

Contact Big Village Media Solutions to learn more about opportunities to reach moviegoers and CTV audiences.


This Online CARAVAN® omnibus survey was conducted on September 13-15, 2021. Approximately 1,000 adults selected from opt-in panels were surveyed. The results are also weighted to U.S. Census data to be demographically representative. Written by the CARAVAN team at Big Village Insights. Learn more about our Online CARAVAN® omnibus surveys here. Contact us at for more information.

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