Favorite film genres in the U.S. 2018, by gender

Like music, movies can be hard to pin down when it comes to which genre they are most aligned with. Cross-genre or hybrid-genre movies often have a broader appeal than those firmly lodged within a single genre – in fact, the latter types of movies can be quite divisive. A key example of this could be seen in a survey held in late 2018, which examined the most popular movie genres among adults in the United States based on gender, age, ethnicity, income, and more. The study revealed that comedy was the favorite genre among 90 percent of men and 91 percent of women, though drama, adventure, and action were similarly popular.

U.S. movie genre preferences

In the U.S., movie genre preferences varied greatly according to age when it came to stereotypically divisive genres like musicals and romantic films – 64 percent of women cited musicals as their favorite genre, compared to 48 percent of men.

Comedies, thrillers, fantasy and adventure films were considered similarly favorable by each gender, with 84 percent of men saying that they had a very or somewhat favorable impression of thriller or mystery films compared to 83 percent of female respondents.

The movie genre that has generated the most revenue at the North American box office since 1995 is the adventure genre, having brought in 58.84 billion U.S. dollars of revenue since that year. Second on the list is the action genre, which has box office takings of 44.15 billion U.S. dollars. Drama ranked third, and is a genre popular not only with consumers but also with producers – over 5.1 thousand drama movies have been released in the U.S. since the mid 1990s.

Most popular movie genres among adults in the United States as of December 2018, by gender

Comedy 90%91%
Drama 80%89%
Adventure 90%89%
Action 90%86%
Romantic comedy 67%84%
Crime 79%84%
Thriller/mystery 84%83%
Romance 55%77%
Documentary 78%77%
Animated 65%75%
Live-action 77%71%
Fantasy 71%70%
Musicals 48%64%
Sci-fi 76%62%
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Release date

December 2018


United States

Survey time period

November 29 to December 2, 2018

Number of respondents


Age group

18 years and older

Method of interview

Online survey

Supplementary notes

*Total sample size was 2,200. Results given are reflective of respondents who had a very or somewhat favorable impression of the movie type.
Question: Do you have a favorable or unfavorable impression of the following types of movies?

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Statistics on "Film industry in the U.S."

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