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Aussies Need to Buy 6 Movie Tickets Each to Save Cinemas in 2021

Trevor Wheelwright
Aug 13, 2021
Icon Time To Read2 min read

For most people, it’s easier to stream their favorite films than make a trip to the theater. As we keep up with government guidelines for COVID-19, we wondered what it would take to save the cinemas in Australia if we could get everyone back to the movies.

Using data from Screen Australia, we calculated cinemas’ loss in revenue from 2019 to 2020 to find out how many tickets each Aussie would need to buy to get cinemas back to pre-pandemic revenue levels.

Australia has a population of roughly 25.8 million people,1 and the estimated box office loss during the pandemic equals about 2 billion dollars in 2021.2

Australians need to buy a total of 141.2 million movie tickets, or about six tickets each to cover the lost theater revenue from the pandemic.

At about $14.23 per ticket3 and six tickets per person, that’s each person spending approximately $85.38 to save the cinemas. (But you could always find cheap movie tickets to see a few more films for the same fare).

Could we get every Aussie on board with buying six tickets, or would the diehards have to cough up enough cash to keep the cinematic experience coming?

What do Aussies think about going back to cinemas?

According to our recent survey, more than half of Aussies say they’re eager to go back to cinemas.4

Before the pandemic, 21% of Aussies say they went to the cinema to see a new release movie often (once a month or more), and 51% say they went to the cinema to see new releases a few times a year.

Only a third of Aussies say they’ve been to a cinema since the COVID-19 pandemic started in March 2020.

On top of the lost revenue from a lack of customers, cinemas also faced logistical losses:

  • The number of theaters decreased by 41 from 2019 to 2020 (a 7.8% decrease)5
  • The number of films screened decreased by 46.8% from 2019 to 2020, dropping from 754 films screened by 353 films.

With the ongoing changes to restrictions and the threat of the new variants, along with the losses of the theater business, the majority of Aussies may be hesitant (if not unable) to hit the theaters again for the rest of 2021.

You may spend more time streaming movies on Netflix than going out this year. But if you can’t, try to see at least six shows with your friends and family and help keep the thrill of the theater experience alive in Australia!


For our calculations, ‘saving the cinema’ is making up the 2020 loss in revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic in 2021.

We also ran a survey of 1,000 Australians about their cinema habits.


  1. Screen Australia, “1975–present — Historical Admissions.” Accessed August 2, 2021.
  2. Screen Australia, “Number of Australian Cinema Admissions and Gross Box Office, 1976–2020.” Accessed August 2, 2021.
  3. Statista: Australia: Average Cinema Ticket Prices 2020.” February 2021. Accessed August 2, 2021.
  4. Pollfish survey of 1,000 adults age 18 years or older, conducted in May 2021. 
  5. Screen Australia, Total Screens, Seating Capacity, and Theatres in Australia, 1980–2020,” Accessed August 2, 2021.

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