Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Cinema visits rise in Melbourne but slump in Sydney

Cinema visits rise in Melbourne but slump in Sydney
April 23, 2015

Melbourne has surpassed Sydney as the film-going capital of Australia with Melburnians making a record 20.66 million visits to the cinema last year, while Sydneysiders went just 18.28 million times - the fewest total visits since 1997.

Newly released data from Roy Morgan Research shows that most Melburnians (53%) went to the movies during an average three months in 2014 - but most Sydneysiders (53%) didn’t. Melburnians averaged 5.6 cinema visits each last year - equivalent to an extra visit per person compared with the mean of 4.6 in Sydney.

Between 1997 and 2014, Roy Morgan Research surveyed over 350,000 people (aged 14+) in Sydney and Melbourne about how often they went to the cinema. Until 2008, the total number of visits followed a similar trend in each city, with Sydney’s larger population responsible for its higher total.

But Melbourne had a boom year in 2009, pipping Sydney for the first time. The two cities were then neck-and-neck until the two diverged last year: in 2014, Melburnians flocked to the cinema and Sydneysiders found other things to do.

Sydney vs Melbourne: Total number of annual cinema visits

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January 2000 to December 2014. Samples: Sydney 14+ average annual n= 10,664, Melbourne 14+ average annual n =8582. Totals do not include those who visited the cinema within the past year but not within the three months prior to interview.

Across all age groups, Melburnians were more likely than Sydneysiders to go the movies in a three-month period—and to go more often. Last year, Melbourne’s 14 to 24 year-olds visited the cinema just over twice on average per three-month period, equivalent to 8.2 visits during the full year compared with 7.0 visits by the average 14 to 24 year-old in Sydney. 

The average frequency of movie-going declines with age in each city. However, an ageing population means that those aged 50 and over actually made more total cinema visits than any other group: 6.6 million in Melbourne and 5.8 million in Sydney. Though they don’t go as often, nearly a third of all cinema visits in either city are now made by people over 50.

Frequencies and Total Visits in Sydney and Melbourne by Age

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January 2014 to December 2014. Samples: Sydney 14+ n = 10,166, Melbourne 14+ n = 8264. Totals do not include those who visited the cinema within the past year but not within the three months prior to interview.

Commenting on the findings, Roy Morgan Research Chief Executive Michele Levine stated "Melbourne has firmly overtaken Sydney as the home of cinema-going in Australia. In 2014, Melburnians made over five million trips to the cinema within an average three month period, or over 20 million visits during the year. 

“Although Australians go to the cinema less often than they did 10 or 15 years ago, these total visitation numbers show that there are still plenty of tickets sold and cinema continues to be an important part of our media landscape.    

“Despite the hype surrounding big-budget animated, action-packed, comic-based or otherwise youth-oriented releases, more Australians today are aged over 50 than under 35. Older people currently go to the movies less often than younger people, but maybe they’d go more often if there were more films they wanted to see.

“Topping the box office for two weeks, The Second Best Marigold Hotel is one of the most-seen movies in Australia so far in 2015, alongside more youth-oriented sequels like Furious 7, Taken 3 and the next Divergent instalment. Perhaps in ten years more movies will be targeted at older audiences and they’ll be going more often to see them all—and the under-25s will be complaining there aren’t enough comic book sequels being made!

“As part of their mandate to develop relevant, successful projects that support and inspire the local film, TV and game industries, funding bodies like Film Victoria, Film NSW and Screen Australia need to understand their potential movie-going, television-viewing and game-playing audiences and in turn help content producers target the right markets.”

To understand how to reach Australians with different cinema preferences and visitation habits, contact Vaishali Nagaratnam of Roy Morgan Research on 03 9224 5309, E:

Main image courtesy of Hoyts.



Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

ProSlide Technology

ProSlide is the global leader in water ride design and manufacturing, supplying high-performance water attractions to new and expanding water parks around the world. For over three decades, ProSlide…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Waterparks



Humanforce is a global provider of workforce management solutions for companies who need flexibility to manage complex workforces. Companies use Humanforce to manage everything from time and…

read more

Hospitality / Retail / Technology / Venues



The Fitness Generation is now part of NovoFit - see

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness



Technogym is the leading company in the Wellness and Fitness field all over the world. With 2,200 employees, 14 branches in Europe, U.S., South America, Asia  and Australia, Technogym exports its…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness


Aussie Strength

We are Aussie Strength. The ultimate supplier for Commercial Gym Equipment that's built to deliver in the toughest environments. From USA-Built hardcore weight training equipment from Arsenal…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness



As of the 1st July 2018, Enta Australasia Pty Ltd/Best Union has been rebranded as Vivaticket Pty Ltd.  Vivaticket is the ideal strategic partner for the organisation and management of your…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Sport / Ticketing / Venues


The Pool Enclosure Company

Now TPEC Pool Enclosures - see

read more

Aquatics / Design / Recreation / Venues


The P.A. People

The P.A. People is a specialist integrator and contractor in sound reinforcement, audio visual systems, performance lighting and production communications. Over its almost 50 year history the company…

read more

Entertainment / Events / Sport / Technology / Venues


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business