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1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 152 (132)

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition
1950-51 Theatre Catalog
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 152
Page 152

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 152

faithful are those who attend weekday second performances.

The findings which indicate that 18% of all patrons have television in their homes is evidence both of the rapid development of the popularity of this entertainment medium, and of the considerable degree of immunity which drive-in theatres enjoy in relation to television. There seems little reason to doubt that whatever degree of immunity to television competition drive-ins have is a direct result of the wide and different varieties of entertainment and services Which drive-ins can offer.

Conventional theatre exhibitors, by comparison, are now engaged in a tremendous struggle in their efforts to differentiate their product offerings and services from those available via television. Indeed, such possibilities as tridimensional projection, larger screens, more color film, etc., should be carefully investigated without delay. Fortunately, as far as drive-in theatres go, the possibilities for experimentation and varied services are almost endless.

While the precise drawing power of such things as pony rides, picnic areas, car washing, bingo, laundry service, bottle-warming services, merry-go-rounds, refreshment facilities, vaudeville, or dance doors has not been measured, it is obvious that some of these possibilities, where intelligently used and when considered together with the inherent character and convenience of drive-ins, will permit drive-in exhibitors to offer entertainment patterns which will never be available to either television or to conventional theatres.

Some showmen, perhaps exemplified by veteran theatre executive A. J. Balaban, predict the rapid development of "super" drive-ins, or entertainment centers, which would take the form of the present drive-in theatre, but which would offer television shows, dancing, eating facilities, and possibly four different types of motion picture entertainment: a newsreel theatre; an tiart" or foreign picture theatre; a first-run theatre; and a combination motion picture-vaudeville theatre. Such a possibility helps to illustrate the innovations which drive-ins can marshal in order to compete with commercial television.


Findings 1. 21% (48.6%) of all patrons had

not attended any drive-in theatre previous to 1950.

2. From the standpoint of time of


Time of Perf. Panogzggz 1:923"de Weekday lst Perf. 17.7% Weekday 2nd " 23.1 Weekend lst " 19.8 Weekend 2nd 't 24.5

3. Total average attendance per

month at all types of theatres was 5.21 (4.3) times during the summer, 3.9 (3.1) times during

the winter. 4. From the standpoint of time of performance: Summer Winter Time of Perf. Monthly Monthly Average Average Weekday lst Perf. 5.14 times 4.1 times Weekday 2nd " 5.22 1' 4.1 " Weekend lst " 5.11 " 3.1 " Weekend 2nd " 5.96 " 4.2 "


FIGURE 11. Analysis of average-attendance-permonth at drive-in theatres by the patrons studied during 1950 (open graph) as contrasted to 1949 (shaded graph) and to 1948 (solid graph).

5. Average attendance per month at drive-ins was 3.25 times during 1950, 2.5 times during 1949, and .86 times during 1948.

6. From the standpoint of time of performance:

Time of Pat Average Monthly


Weekday lst Perf. 3.38 times Weekday 2nd " 2.56 " Weekend lst ii 3.29 " Weekend 2nd it 3.12 "



FIGURE 12. Analysis of average-attendance-permonth at motion picture theatres of all kinds by the patrons studied during 1950 (open graph) as contrasted to the preceding 1949 (shaded graph).


1. Comparing total movie attendance during 1950 with that of 1949, 37.2% (32%) of all patrons attend movies more often, 44.5% (45%) attend about as often, and 18.3% (23%) attend less often.

FIGURE 13. Analysis of total movie-qoing habits during 1950 (open graph) and during 1949.



8. From" the standpoint of time of


. More About Less Time of Perf. Often Same Often

Weekday lat Perf. 39% 43.4% 17.6% Weekday 2nd " 37.2 45.7 17.1

Weekend lst " 33.7 47.1 19.2 Weekend 2nd 2 42.6 37.6 19.8 Significance

Within the motion picture industry, the drive-in theatre long ago ceased being considered a novelty. The fact that the drive-in is no longer a novelty in the publicls mind either is indicated by the revelation that only 21% (49%) of all patrons had not attended any drive-in theatre before 1950. The truth of this statement is also borne out by the increased frequency with which all classes of patrons attend drive-ins, the general average being 3.25 times a month during 1950, 2.5 during 1949, and .86 during 1948. Furthermore, all classes of patrons reported other facts which would have sounded strange indeed even two years ago: they attend drive-in theatres more frequently than they do conventional theatres, and they attend movies more frequently during the summer than they do during the winter.

Not only is total movie attendance (5.21 times per month during the summer; 3.9 times per month during the Winter) on the part of the drive-in patron significantly higher than that of the typical conventional theatre patron, it appears to be still increasing. Nearly 40% of all patrons reported that they are now attending movies more frequently than they did in 1949, while less than 20% reported decreased attendance. In terms of audience reaction, the future of the drive-in theatre has never been brighter. Yet no one within the industry should neglect to appreciate the fact that at the same time drive-ins are proving themselves highly acceptable to the public, so also are they proving the entertainment value of movies and developing, or redeveloping, for many, many people the movie-going habit.

Any vehicle for accomplishing the aforementioned desirable goals should be more than welcome to the post-war motion picture industry as a whole. Nor are drive-in exhibitors and producers the only ones to share in these common benefits, for so also do conventional theatre exhibitors. Data already cited indicate that less than 30% of drive-in patrons attend drive-ins exclusively.

Likewise, time of performance data in the findings for this section indicate that, with one exception, all classes of drive-in patrons attend conventional theatres during the winter (in the absence of drive-in theatres) at a rate of over four times a month, Even during the summer, nearly 40% of the average drive-in patronls movies are seen at conventional theatres. When all of these facts are taken into consideration, together with the increased frequency of attendance which drive-ins stimulate, the true status of the drive-in theatre as a full partner in the motion picture industry is difficult to deny.


Findings 1. 38.3% (24%) of all patrons believe that 1950 movies, in com parison with 1949 ones, are better. 2. 51.2% (59%) believe that 1950

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 152