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1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 150 (130)

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition
1950-51 Theatre Catalog
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 150
Page 150

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 150


I2 T0 20


4' T0 50 YEARS OLD


FIGURE 5. Analysis of adults' age groups in 1950 (open graph) as contrasted to 1949 (shaded graph).

istic of the typical drive-in and its audience.

As these theatres continue to attract patrons without children, due to a growing appreciation of the appeals listed above and of the improving run and clearance status of drive-ins, they inevitably will attract patrons away from conventional theatreseat least to some degree. For that matter, only 30% of the patrons interviewed in 1949, and 28.5% of the patrons in 1950, reported that they attend drive-ins exclusively during the summer, but, at the same time, the average patron did see 58% of his movies at drive-ins during 1949, and 62.5% during the summer of 1950.

However, just as the drive-in theatre may be expected to gain a share of the conventional theatreis audience, especially during the summer, there is also clear-cut evidence that the drive-in stimulates motion picture attendance among all its patrons, a trend from which the conventional theatre stands to benefit, especially during the winter months. Drive-in patrons reported movie attendance (at all theatres) at the rate of 5.21 times a month during the summer, and 3.9 times a month during the winter. These figures represent a significant increase over those reported in 1949 and over the national average for conventional theatre patrons.

Very little change from 1949 occurred in the case of the percentage of cars containing one, two, three, etc., children. For instance, 51% of all cars contained one, two, or three children during both years. However, the attendance of children at drive-in theatres during both first and second performances on weekdays decreased, but was accounted for by a proportional increase in the attendance of children during both first and second performances on weekends. This is true, it should be noted, even during summer months when school is no problem.

Accordingly, booking policies for pictures of potential or known appeal to children might suggest that if such a picture were run on a weekend, maximum family attendance would be stimulated. On the other hand, the scheduling of such a picture during the week might

help to tibeef up" an ordinarily poor night or nights, especially if it is welladvertised and accompanied by a number of cartoons.

With regard to adult patronage per car, two significant changes took place. First, the number of adults per car increased from approximately two and one-third to two and a half between 1949 and 1950. Second, the average age of the adult patron declined somewhat. The first change, an increase in the average number of adults per car, resulted almost entirely from an increase in the number of cars containing either three or four adults. Of course, the number of adults reaches a maximum (per car) during second or late performances, at the same time that the number of children reaches a minimum. The key to this increase in the average number of adults is indicated

FIGURE 6. Analysis of source of patronage from inside the neighboring city and from the surrounding areas during 1950 (open graph) as contrasted to same neighborhood in 1949 (shaded graph).



by a comparative study of the age groups of adult patrons.

It can be seen that the decreased average age level. resulted almost entirely from the increased number of cars containing Hadults" in the 12 through 20 age group, although the 'bulk of the increase came from those in the upper third of this category. Actually, there is little evidence to indicate that the absolute numbers of patrons in the other age groups decreased; rather, there was an absolute increase in the number of persons in the 17-20 age group. Many of them attend in groups of three or four to a car. >

In this connection, it is interesting to study the time of performance data in finding No. 26 above. There it may be seen that folder" patrons, especially those above age 30, do not attend second or late performances to nearly the extent that they attend early evening or first performances. This is even true of those in the 21v30 age group during the week. Therefore, the rather astonishing 6gure of 41% (of all adult patrons during weekday second performances being in the 12-20 age group) must be considered in its true light.

A relatively small number of persons aged 17 through 20 may bulk large percentage-wise in any group or in any theatre where there are not large numbers of older persons. Lest some hasty critic or moralist still miss the point, let him be assured by any drive-in exhibitor or competent observer that weekday second performances at drive-ins are not attended by howling masses of teenagers (or of any age group, for that matter) who ought to be home in bed.

It is true, however, that drive-in theatres are gaining a larger share of the younger movie-going public, very possibly in direct proportion to their success in obtaining newer pictures. Furthermore, it is probably true that this increased attendance has been attained to some extent at the exepense of the conventional theatre. However, it is also true that the attendance, age, and frequency data indicate that drive-in theatres have stimulated movie attendance in general.


1. 32.5% (27%) of all cars came from outside the corporate citiesi limits.

2. 67.5% (73%) came from within the cities limits.

3. From the standpoint of time of

performance: Cars from Cars from Within Outside Cities' Cities' Time of Perf. Limits Limits Weekday lst Perf. 76% 24% Weekday 2nd 2 77 22 Weekend lst " 64 36 Weekend 2nd " 62 38

4. The average patron drove 8.8 (7.4) miles in order to get to the drive-in theatre where he or she was questioned.

5. From the standpoint of time of


Time of Perf. Distance to Drive-In Weekday lat Perf. 7.5 miles Weekday 2nd " 8.6 " Weekend let i 8.9 " Weekend 2nd ' 9.2 "

6. 28.5% (30%) of all patrons

attended the movies exclusively at drive-ins during the summer.

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 150