Batman Movie Shooting May Harm Movie Theater Attendance

Aurora, Colo., Century 16 movie theater
The Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colo., where 12 were killed and dozens injured on July 20 (Reuters/Rick Wilking)

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Despite some conflicting research, a new study by Front Porch Research shows that the Aurora, Colo., shooting at this summer’s new Batman movie may lead to decreased attendance at movie theaters.

Front Porch Research surveyed 500 adults and 300 “tweens” between the ages of 12 and 15 after the shooting. Their survey reveled that 34 percent of adults and 30 percent of children between 12 and 15 were either “somewhat more” or “a lot more” concerned about violence in movies and TV after the shooting.

The survey also found, “19 percent of tweens and 18 percent of adults claimed that they would see fewer movies at the theater. If 19 percent of the 221 millions moviegoers in 2011 were to watch one less movie, the financial impact would be a $333 million annual reduction in [movie ticket] sales.”

Despite this apparent increase in awareness of violence in the media, the level of violence in movies aimed at teenagers is still alarming.

A week after the movie The Hunger Games was released, Front Porch Research conducted a survey regarding the movie’s kid-on-kid violence.

This survey found, “80 percent of women Hunger Games watchers did not have any concerns about tweens or teenagers reading the book or watching the movie. Eight-four percent of men did not have any concerns.”

Also, 19 percent of the women and 33 percent of the men felt that the violence was “not graphic enough.”

The numbers in both studies should make parents want to teach proper discernment of the media to their children. They should also send a message to Hollywood that, when more people like the Aurora shooter try to replicate the violence they see at the cinema, less people will want to make the trip to their local cinema.

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