Guess What? Women Buy More Movie Tickets Than Men

by Melissa Silverstein on March 11, 2010

in Box Office,Statistics

You know that whole conversation about how women don’t go to the movies and are not a film market?  You know that conversation that we hear over and over as the big reason why we are inundated with crappy boy films week in and week out.

Well thanks to the statistics that we released by the MPAA with barely a blip yesterday, (thanks David Poland for the heads up) the news is that not only do women go to movies, we go more than men.  Yes, folks — women go to the movies more than men do.

This news should rock each and every executive in Hollywood more than the Bigelow Oscar win.  Cause this is something they understand.  This is money and women are delivering the money.  Big time.

So I am officially holding a funeral for the term “women are not a film market.”  I never want to hear it uttered again.  I am going to keep these statistics next to my computer (or maybe make them my screensaver but that would mean removing my picture of Kathryn Bigelow holding two Oscars) because every time someone says that women don’t go to the movies I’m just going to throw the stats in their faces.

I know exactly why the 2009 numbers increased.  If you follow the business it’s not too hard to figure it out.  The reasons are New Moon and The Blind Side with a side of The Proposal (now Sandra Bullock’s Oscar makes even more sense.)  Maybe folks are going to try and say that it is a fluke because there were two female centric successes and we don’t have those frequently.  Friends, that is the whole fucking point.  It’s like that line from Field of Dreams – “if you build it they will come.”  It is only looked at as a fluke because of the shortsightedness of people who won’t believe that women will continue to go to the movies.  There is nothing in any of the data that I have looked at the gives me any indication that women won’t go to the movies in the future.  In fact, I would venture to say that if they continue to make movies that attract women we will continue to be there.

Another line that I want to bury for good is that young men go to the movies more than anyone else.  That’s just bullshit.  Younger men don’t go to the movies more than younger women.  Younger people in general go to the movies more, but based on the MPAA numbers of frequent moviegoers (ones who go more than once a month) in the coveted demographic of 18-24, women make up 3.4 million filmgoers while men make up 3.1 million.  Suck on that Hollywood!

Don’t believe me, check out the numbers from the MPAA:

See the yellow?  That’s the women.

Here are the other stats:

  • In 2009 there were 217 million moviegoers.  The total admissions was 1.4 billion dollars.
  • Women are 113 million of the moviegoers and bought 55% of the tickets.
  • Men are 104 million of the moviegoers and 45% of the tickets.

Here’s the money quote from the MPAA:

“A higher percentage of women than men are moviegoers in all categories of frequency.”

In. All. Categories. of. Frequency.

Women make up 9 million more filmgoers than men.

Bottom line: The future is female.  The upside is great.  The market is there ready to be tapped.  The only issue is who will take advantage of it.


{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist March 11, 2010 at 10:56 AM

this is a very important finding.

Off topic, but women and girls are also bigger consumers of BOOKS than men and boys are.

lizriz March 11, 2010 at 1:20 PM

Pair this with the data that women control most of today’s spending across all sorts of sectors, and you’ve really got something.

SW March 11, 2010 at 4:07 PM

“Maybe folks are going to try and say that it is a fluke because there were two female centric successes and we don’t have those frequently. Friends, that is the whole fucking point. It’s like that line from Field of Dreams – “if you build it they will come.””

…brilliant. I laughed out loud.

@dawnbierschwal March 12, 2010 at 1:09 PM

I’ve always believed that saying men dominated the market (and particularly the 18-24 market)was a self-fulfulling prophecy.

Ask any woman and they’ll tell you that they didn’t go to the movies because there was nothing to see!

The film industry needs to stop looking at hostorical data to predict what people want to see… and start doing what other consumer products companies do and ASK THEM!

Martha Yost March 14, 2010 at 7:03 PM

This is totally accurate in my home and in the homes of most of the women I know. I see 4-5 movies a month (IN THE THEATER and a probably at least 3 more on TV each month) and husband sees much fewer. He sees maybe 3 total. He is more discriminating (won’t go if the review is negative) I am more curious and I’m more interested in my own opinion instead of the opinion of reviewers, so if it’s a subject I’m interested in, I don’t care what the reviews say. I will investigate.

wellywoodwoman March 15, 2010 at 3:47 AM

This is such great news. And we’re here in Wellywood, focusing on women as audiences. Trying to reach potential viewers with our feel-good feature “Development”, which is ‘for women who make movies and for the people who love them’ and which we intend to distribute over the net, for free. Take a look at our website: We’d love you to join our FB page, too:

RKM March 15, 2010 at 11:19 PM

And don’t forget Whip It! Watched it this weekend along with every other movie I’d meant to see this year, and I floved it. (The Hangover, meanwhile, turned out to be overhyped, juvenile, unoriginal dreck.)

Emily March 16, 2010 at 9:12 AM

Loving this – and bringing it up in class tomorrow! In my film course it seems all the female lecturers have clued on to the fact that women are an untapped market (as in, not really tapped anywhere near as much as they should/could be!), but we never talk about making films for a female market. This is definitely something they should be drawing to our attention if we’re supposed to be the future of the industry!

Linda Radfem March 16, 2010 at 4:34 PM

Thanks for this. By far the most useful stats I’ve read about in ages.

Ally March 19, 2010 at 7:10 PM

I cannot wait for this myth to be put to death once and for all. I wrote a huge post about so called “Mary-Sueism” and the bullying of girls, and women,, to learn to write male characters, or,, at least, to write their female characters from a male perspective, with a male audience in mind. If anyone’s interested in reading it, it’s here: If it’s not allowed or not relevant, please feel free to delete this comment. Once again VERY EXCITING that these kind of studies are being done!

Andre April 5, 2010 at 7:16 AM

Hmm looks like they must be doing something right to be getting women into the seats. I guess more tits and explosions are in order!

Kenneth April 25, 2011 at 7:27 AM

Just stumbled upon this very interesting info.

I wonder though how the numbers look for DVD sales and for illegal downloads… could be fun though to see those numbers :)

anne s September 22, 2011 at 10:22 AM

I am not surprised by this. I go to lots of movies and see many women alone and in groups with other women. I go to way more movies than I should (usually at least twice a week) even though I work, have a family and need to be home to help with homework. My justification is that going to the movies is a very cheap form of therapy. Movies are my chief escape from some of the grimness of reality and they provide me with an active fantasy life. I used to be much more of a reader but find that I have become addicted to the sensory bombardment of sound, color, darkness and popcorn. I love going to the movies, and I’m not talking about DVDs on the big screen at home.

pandora uk December 1, 2011 at 2:43 AM

You had some nice points here. I done a research on the topic and got most peoples will agree with you

Rear View Camera December 27, 2011 at 5:44 PM

I am glad to see that the movie industry is being taken over by women.

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Jo the Other December 15, 2013 at 4:50 PM

Well it goes to prove what a lot of men already know; women are more sedentary than men.

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