It appears that the ‘Golden Age of Cinema’ has lost its sheen to the young over the years, as less than a quarter of millennials say they have watched a film from start to finish made back in the 1940s or 50s, and only a third have seen one from the 1960s.
Thirty percent of young people also admit to never having watched a black and white film all the way through - as opposed to 85 percent of those over 50 - with 20 percent branding the films ‘boring,’ according to new research.
A new survey polling 1,000 millennials and 1,000 Americans over the age of 50 conducted by FYE.com, reveals that looking back into the history of cinema isn’t the preference of youth today, with millennials exponentially more likely to have binged on films of the last 15 years than on classics from bygone eras.
Less than half of millennials have seen the likes of Gone with the Wind, The Sound of Music, To Kill a Mockingbird, or even The Shawshank Redemption- rated the greatest film of all time on IMDB.
Only 28 percent have seen Casablanca, 16 percent have watched Once Upon a Time in the West and only a measly 12 percent have seen the Hitchcock classic Rear Window - though the director’s Psycho fares moderately better at a rate of 38 percent.
On the other side of things, some over-50s appear to have the tendency to stick to their old classics and ignore new cinema altogether with one in ten admitting they aren’t sure if they have seen a film newer than 2010 - and eight percent straight up saying no, they have not.
And while millennials believe that movies have only gotten more entertaining over time, 30 percent admit to having felt social pressure to lie that they have seen an old classic in its entirety - compared to just three percent of over-50s.
“There is so much out there in terms of classic cinema that sometimes it can seem overwhelming, but today it is easier than ever to catch up on the classics - or the newest blockbusters - in whatever form you may prefer,” says Bill Miller, VP of DVD/Blu-ray Sales at FYE. His company is focusing on “engaging the fan that’s very loyal.” That can mean looking at niches and franchises with rabid followings and bringing in more products in those areas.
There is even a disparity in genres between the generations, with millennials twice as likely to choose horror as their top favorite and over-50s more than twice as likely to pick westerns.
Millennials are also twice as likely to not be bothered by too much gore or too much nudity than the older group.
But the older generation and the younger one don’t differ on every front, as the research reveals that when it comes to what exactly makes a movie a classic, they are in complete agreement. Both say that the top qualities of a classic film are a great plot, staying relatable over time and containing memorable scenes or quotes.
As for how the different ages enjoy their films, it appears that streaming services are still largely a favorite of the young, with 72 percent of millennials naming it as a common way they watch movies, as opposed to just 30 percent of people over 50.
Younger people are also more likely to enjoy films in the theater, on DVD or Blu-ray, or illegally downloaded online. They were only topped by over-50s when it comes to watching films on cable or TV.
Millennials are also considerably more finicky when it comes to picture quality, as they were found to be twice as likely as over-50s to say that they tend to only watch things in HD.
“We want to offer fans movies they love in any format, DVD, Blu-ray, 3D, and 4K and whatever may come next” Miller said. “We have taken steps to almost reinvent ourselves, tying into a lot of the product categories and franchises that our customers have loved, expanding into consumer products that appeal to millennials… while also going after the fan who has been a customer for a long time and taking them to the next level.”