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Cinema audience
attendance patterns

Percentage of people who had been to the cinema in the last 12 months, and average number of visits, 1974–2021

Next update July 2022

The proportion of Australians attending the cinema at least once per year has averaged 67 per cent since 2000, with an average of about seven visits per year per person. 

The drop in both attendance rates and frequency in the mid-1980s is usually attributed to the upsurge in video hire in Australia from 1982. Attendance levels were at their lowest overall in 1986 – the lowest year for the over-50s; other age groups bottomed out in 1984. Frequency of attendance fell sharply in 1984 (in 1982 among the under-25s and in 1984 for all other age groups) but had recovered by 1988. Attendance rates are now on par with, or higher than, rates before the mid-80s slump; however, the frequency of visits is not.

Cinema attendance rates and the frequency of visits dropped to an historical low in 2021 as the exhibition sector continued to feel the effects of rolling cinema closures, state lockdowns and social-distancing regulations that were imposed in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.