Escape to the movies? 1 in 4 people do: poll

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Are movies your way of escaping the daily grind? You’re not alone, with a Reuters/Ipsos poll finding more than one in four people across the globe go to the cinema often to suspend reality, if only for a few hours.

Cast members Zoe Saldana (L), Sam Worthington (C) and Sigourney Weaver attend the premiere of "Avatar" at the Mann's Grauman Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California December 16, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The survey of more than 24,000 adults in 23 countries was released as the global movie industry prepares to honor its top talent at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards on Sunday.

It showed that of the 42 percent of people most likely to go to the movies as much as they can to escape reality, the majority were from Turkey (67 percent), India (61 percent), South Korea (54 percent) and Australia (52 percent).

“Movies are now celluloid books,” said John Wright, senior vice president of market research company Ipsos.

“What one generation did in curling up and reading an exciting or romantic novel to escape or to dream is now manufactured weekly for the younger generation who are the most avid filmgoers,” he said in a statement.

Not everybody, however, believes in the escapist power of the movies, with the poll showing that the majority -- or 58 percent -- do not consider movies as a diversion from the real world and do not watch as many films as they possibly can.

Countries whose inhabitants are most likely to feel this way are Hungary (76 percent), the Netherlands (74 percent), Mexico (74 percent), Sweden (71 percent) and Germany (70 percent).

There was, however, little difference between men and women, or between various income brackets, but not surprisingly, respondents aged under 35 were more likely to escape to the movies (49 percent) compared to older people aged between 35 and 54 (36 percent).

Wright said this could be explained by the younger generation’s addiction to technology.

“With the explosion of far-reaching and hands-on technology, people don’t just watch movies, they experience them as immersed participants in a multidimensional experience or they can create something themselves and share with it the world by simple upload, no popcorn required,” he said.

The following results table from the survey conducted between November and January begins with the countries where citizens are most likely to agree that “movies and films are my escape from the real world-I watch as many as I can as often as I can.” All figures are percentages.

Movies are an escape from reality

Agree Disagree Turkey 67

33 India 61 39 South Korea 54

46 Australia 52 48 Spain 49

51 China 49 51 United States 49

51 France 48 52 Brazil 47

53 Great Britain 46 54 Argentina 45

55 Japan 41 59 Canada 39 61 Russia 36 64 Poland

36 64 Italy 35 65 Czech Republic 33 67 Belgium 33 67 Germany 30 70 Sweden 29 71 Mexico 26 74 Netherlands 26

74 Hungary 24 76

Writing by Miral Fahmy