> > > >

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 153 (133)

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition
1950-51 Theatre Catalog
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 153
Page 153

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 153


FIGURE 14. Divergence of opinion in answer to question "Are movies better than ever?" as learned from patrons during 1950 (open graph) and during the preceding 1949 (shaded graph).

movies are about as good as 1949


3. 10.5% (17%) believe that 1950 movies are not as good as 1949 movies.

4. Comparing the selection of movies available at drive-in theatres with those offered by conventional theatres:

a. 14% (10%) of all patrons believe that movies at drivee ins are better.

b. 54% (31%) believe they are about as good.

c. 32% (59%) believe they are not as good.

5. Regarding drive-in patronsi preferences for specific types of movies:

a. 33% (25%) of all patrons preferred comedies.

b. 23% (23%) preferred dramas.

c. 18% (21%) preferred musicals.

d. 14% (18%) preferred Westerns. .

e. 8% (5%) preferred romances.

f. 4% (8%) had no preferences.

6. From the standpoint of time of performance, the following rankings indicate the orders of preference of various classes of


1st Per-f. 2nd Perf. lst Perf. 2nd Perf. Rank Weekdays Weekdays Weekends Weekends

1 Comedies Dramas Comedies Comedies 2 Dramas Comedies Dramas Dramas 3 Musicals Musicals Musicals Westerns 4 Westerns Romances Westerns Musicals 5 Romances Westerns Romances Romances


All exhibitors are familiar with the slogan, ftMovies Are Better Than Ever," even though some of them have privately expressed doubt on the subject. As such, it. is interesting to note that 38.3% of all patrons believed that the movies they saw in 1950 were better than those they saw the year before. In 1949, only 24% of all patrons felt the same way. Again in 1950, only some 10% of all patrons believed that movies were not as good as the year before, whereas 17% felt that way in 1949.


Aside from the effectiveness of the slogan, per se, in creating this improvement in public opinion, it seems only fair to conclude that some real improvement in picture quality has taken place. Certainly a great deal of skill and money has been spent by producers in their attempts to raise the level of picture quality.

Considerable improvement appears to have taken place as well in the publicls estimation of the quality of movies available at drive-ins, as compared with those available at conventional theatres. Only one-third of all patrons believe that the movies at drive-ins are not as desirable, whereas nearly two-thirds believed so in 1949. Accordingly, approximately 50% (30%) of all patrons believe that movies at drive-ins are about as desirable, and 14% (10%) believe that movies available at drive-ins are better than those available at conventional theatres. Nevertheless, the evidence seems clear that many drive-in exhibitors should seek, and distributors should offer, continued improvements in the availability of films for drive-in exhibition.

As for patron preferenCes for specific types of movies, no change over 1949 occurred in the order of importance, the most desired type being comedies, followed by dramas, musicals, Westerns, and romances. There was some shift of emphasis, however, to indicate that comedies and romances gained some strength, dramas held their own, while musicals and Westerns lost some strength. Second-performance (late evening) patrons indicated preferences somewhat different from the average, especially in the case of the weekday second-performance patrons, who differ also in terms of age and family status.


In a further effort to assist drive-in exhibitors, two additional questions were asked in 1950 for the first time: (1) uWhat one thing do you like most about attending drive-in theatres?", and (2) thhat one thing needs improvement the most?,' No list of possible answers was made available from which the customer might decide, nor were any suggested answers given verbally. Although such a method produces responses which are


FIGURE 15. Opinions relative to the quality of motion pictures offered by drive-ins as compared to those offered in regular roofed theatres as learned from patrons during 1950 (open graph) and during the preceding 1949 (shaded graph).

sometimes difficult to classify, it at least introduces no bias in obtaining the responses. The results, moreover, proved very interesting.

Answers to the first question seemed to fall into three general classes: (1) those advantages which center around the factor of convenience, 9.9., not having to ftdress up," not having to stand up to wait for seats, no parking problems, privacy, separate speakers, etc.; (2) those advantages which center around the task of bringing children to a movie, e.g., problems of discipline, no baby sitters required, gives children more freedom of movement and expression, permits children to go or be put to sleep, keeps them itaway from crowdin gives them playground facilities, etc.; and (3) those advantages which center around the factor of comfort, 6.9., fresh air, can relax, can talk, can smoke, can eat in car, etc. The fact that all three classes of advantages are of almost equal importance was indicated by the final tabulation, which showed that 34.5% of all patrons mentioned an advantage in the first, or ffconvenience" class, 28.4% in the second, or (ichildrenii class, and

FIGURE 16. Preference (or types of entertainment in 1950 (open graph) and during 1949 (shaded graph).


1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 153