It's Oscar time again and leave it to us to come up with answers to the questions everyone is dying to ask. No, we didn't quiz Gwyneth on what she'll be wearing. But we did find out how many moviegoers would like to tell that Roberto Benigni-wannabe sitting in the next row to pipe down already - and other film-fan facts.
According to an exclusive poll conducted for American Demographics by market research firm Audits & Surveys Worldwide, 70 percent of Americans say they go to the movies, and Westerners are at the front of the line: 74 percent say they check out their local multiplex, followed by 70 percent of Northeasterners, and 68 percent of Southerners and Midwesterners.
A majority of cineastes (63 percent) attend with just one other person, while nearly one-third go in a group of three or more; only 6 percent go solo. Pairing off is the most common among those aged 50 to 64 (72 percent) and least for those earning less than $20,000 a year (54 percent). Residents of the Midwest are the most likely to go in a group (34 percent) while Northeasterners are the least likely (27 percent). No wonder. Ever try finding four seats together in a Manhattan theater?
But who's calling the shots on movie night? A full 34 percent of respondents say they pick the movie without any help from others. Women are fonder of this concept than men: 38 percent say make the decision all by themselves, while only 30 percent of men claim the same. The guys are more likely to get their two cents in by going for a group consensus - the method of choice for 40 percent of men. Only 35 percent of women believe in sharing the decision-making responsibility. Nineteen percent of respondents say dates, spouses, and friends make the movie selection, while another 7 percent of adults turn that responsibility over to the kids.
So what can theater owners do to make their clients happier, aside from lowering the price? A whopping 17 percent of moviegoers say they're happy with things just the way they are. But among those with gripes, 12 percent say they could use a more comfortable seat, 8 percent would like a better assortment at the concession stand, and 2 percent want a bigger screen. Younger audience members (those aged 18 to 24) have the biggest problem with seats - 23 percent think they could be more comfy. And while women and men agree equally on the seating arrangements, they're split when it comes to concessions and screen size. On screen size, 99 percent of women say, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." But limit their selection at the candy counter and 10 percent definitely do give a damn. Meanwhile, some guys say that when it comes to the screen, size matters: 3 percent complain about small screens. More care more about their munchies, though: 6 percent of men would like a better ass! ortment of concessions.
People earning more than $75,000 a year complain the most about outspoken audience members: 75 percent say they have no problem telling the loudmouth nearby to zip it. Jabberjaws should also stay out of earshot of younger audience members. Roughly 44 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds say they're very likely to tell talkers to shut up. Women would rather leave the shushing to someone else. Thirty-eight percent of women say they're not at all likely to ask an individual to be quiet, whereas 71 percent of guys will ask them to take it to the lobby.
And finally, the Oscar for quietus goes to the West Coasters - 69 percent of residents there admit to telling someone to be quiet. But what do they know about the movies anyway?