New survey from Marcus Theatres names most anticipated holiday movies and gift-giving trends

Updated 11/26/2021 8:11 PM

Milwaukee, November 23, 2021 … With the holidays quickly approaching, Marcus Theatres surveyed nearly 2,400 of its Magical Movie Rewards loyalty members in 17 states to hear more about movies they are most excited to see this holiday season, gift-giving plans and more. Survey respondents are from Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Georgia, Louisiana, New York, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The list of films creating the most interest feature ghosts, a Marvel superhero, a couple of action icons and a group of animated singing animals. Although the films are quite diverse, one thing is for sure - nearly everyone seems ready to head back to the movies this holiday season.


"The holidays are here and going to the theatre is an annual tradition for so many families," said Rolando Rodriguez, chairman, president and CEO of Marcus Theatres. "In fact, an overwhelming 97% of survey respondents said they intended to visit a movie theatre by January 1. This isn't a surprise, especially this year as reconnecting with one another is incredibly important and movies have a way of bringing us together. Plus, the movie slate is as strong as ever."

So what movies are a must see? The two that topped the list did so in all 17 states. "Spider-Man: No Way Home" ranked highest in 10 states and among males and "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" snagged the top spot in the remaining seven states and was the favorite among females. Overall, here are the top five films folks can't wait to see.

Top-Five Holiday Movies

1. "Spider-Man: No Way Home" (63%)

2. "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" (62%)

3. "The Matrix: Resurrections" (49%)

4. "The King's Man" (45%)

5. "Sing 2" (43%)

In addition to the new releases, survey respondents appreciate a good-ole holiday classic too. The two top-rated holiday classic films were "Elf" and "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." A dozen states selected "Elf" as the favorite holiday classic, but many of these movies resonated with survey respondents. That's why Marcus Theatres and Movie Tavern bring back a collection of favorites each year to see on the big screen. The 2021 line-up of holiday classics starts on Dec. 3 for an admission of $5 per person. For info, visit and check out the top five rated classics from the survey below - all of which are at participating Marcus Theatres and Movie Tavern locations.

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Top 5 Holiday Classics to See on the Big Screen

1. "Elf" (57%)

2. "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" (50%)

3. "A Christmas Story" (46%)

4. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (46%)

5. "It's a Wonderful Life" (42%)

Gift giving

In addition to spending time together, gifting is a big part of the holiday season. Gift cards for experiences (i.e. sporting events, movies, dinner, etc.) was the number one gift survey respondents plan to give (64%) and hope to receive (71%) this year. Rounding out the top three gifts to give are clothing (43%) and electronics (40%). Gifts to receive were slightly different with gift cards for products (47%), followed by clothing (36%).

As it relates to shopping, a significant amount of survey respondents voiced concern over product shortages and shipping delays this holiday season. A total of 54% were either extremely or somewhat concerned. Avoid the hassle and embrace the trend of giving experiences. Check out for deals on movie gift cards.

Participation in Holiday Activities - 2020 vs 2021

According to the survey, there were some key differences in how the holidays were celebrated last year versus plans for this year. Put simply, respondents are more fully participating in the holidays this season. Here's a look at some of the differences:


• Respondents are ready for more movies this holiday season. For Thanksgiving week, 34% saw a movie with family or friends in 2020 versus 54% who plan to do so this year. For Christmas week, 36% saw a movie together in 2020, and 62% plan to do so this year

• A total of 68% plan to get together with the extended family this year versus 47% who did so in 2020

• Travel is up as well with 36% of those responding plan to travel this year instead of the 24% who did last year

Get ready for the holiday season. Visit for Marcus Theatres and Movie Tavern locations, showtimes and tickets to all of this holiday's must-see films.

About Marcus Theatres

Marcus Theatres, a division of The Marcus Corporation, is the fourth largest theatre circuit in the United States and currently owns or operates 1,064 screens at 85 locations in 17 states under the Marcus Theatres, Movie Tavern by Marcus and BistroPlex brands. For more information, please visit and follow the company on Facebook and Twitter (@Marcus_Theatres).


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