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U.S. Moviegoers Can’t Get Enough Action

2 minute read | February 2013

We won’t know which film wins the Best Picture award at this year’s Oscars until Feb. 24, but Nielsen knows which genre won over the most moviegoers in 2012: action/adventure. According to Nielsen NRG’s 2012 American Moviegoing report, 61 percent of U.S. moviegoers indicated that action/adventure movies are the ones they like to see the most in theaters. After action/adventure, comedy (50%) and sci-fi/fantasy (42%) emerged as the second- and third-favorite movie theater genres.

While the best picture nominees span four different genres, only two fall into the action/adventure category: Life of Pi and Django Unchained. The other Best Picture nominees spanned the drama, romantic comedy and musical genres, which were favored among 32, 31 and 12 percent of moviegoers, respectively.

While some movies are harder to define by genre than others, this year’s Best Picture nominees are:

  • Action/Adventure: Life of Pi, Django Unchained
  • Drama: Argo, Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty
  • Romantic Comedy: Silver Linings Playbook
  • Musical: Les Miserables

The 2012 American Moviegoing report also analyzed fanship by race/ethnicity and found interesting differences among this year’s four Best Picture genres:

  • Action/adventure is the most popular genre across all ethnic groups, especially African-Americans. During 2012, 77 percent of African-American moviegoers named this genre as their favorite, making them 26 percent more likely than the average U.S. moviegoer to like action/adventure flicks.
  • Musicals strike a chord among some Hispanic moviegoers. Nineteen percent of Hispanics indicated that musicals were their favorite type of movie to see in a theater, the largest percent across all segments shown.
  • African Americans are the biggest fans of dramas. Forty-one percent of African Americans identified themselves as fans of dramas, compared with 33 percent of Hispanics, 31 percent of Caucasians and 29 percent of Asian Americans.
  • Hispanics and Asians are feeling the love. Hispanics and Asians were the only groups more likely than the average U.S. moviegoer to name romantic comedies as their favorite to see in a theater (37 percent and 34 percent, respectively). At 25 percent, African Americans were the least likely to name this genre as their favorite to see in a theater.

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