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November 23, 2007

Official Inflation vs Actual Experience

by Nicholas Beaudrot of Electoral Math

Via The Poor Man, it appears that this summer blockbuster season was the best-ever for Hollywood. Unsurprising, given the number of good-for-popcorn-movie flicks that came out (I note that Ocean's Thirteen didn't even scratch the top 10). But I was taken aback by the claim that "average ticket prices in 2004 [were] $6.21 versus $6.85 in 2007average ticket prices in 2004 was $6.21 versus $6.85 in 2007"). How can this be? I don't think I've paid $7 for a movie since 2003.

And I remember the good ol' days when Student Matinee tickets at North DeKalb were $3.75. Get off my lawn!

November 23, 2007 | Permalink


maybe they are factoring in online pirated downloads of the movies, and giving each download a $0 ticket price.

Otherwise I got nothing.

Posted by: zAmboni | Nov 23, 2007 6:06:34 PM

Tickets are a lot cheaper in the boondocks than we think?

Posted by: KCinDC | Nov 23, 2007 6:31:41 PM

I probably pay about a buck per movie (cable), but then I watch them on pretty small screens.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Nov 23, 2007 6:41:28 PM

Where I am from you can see the new movies for $9 in the fancy movie theater or three month old movies for $2 in a somewhat less fancy movie theater.

Posted by: Kazumatan | Nov 23, 2007 6:49:35 PM

Movies aren't just a lot cheaper in the boondocks--they're cheaper in cities with lower costs of living too. I work at a theater in Houston--our highest price in town is something like $8.50. What with the large number of seniors and students, our average ticket is exactly $6.85. Really, I swear. The theater by my parents' house charges even less than that, which presumably averages out with the more expensive coastal cities.

Posted by: Katie | Nov 23, 2007 7:10:23 PM

In the Kansas City area, there are a few 2nd run theaters selling tickets for $2 per show still. You might have to wait 3-5 months, but both the tickets and the food are much cheaper.

Posted by: odanu | Nov 23, 2007 7:32:04 PM

In my part of the Midwest, matinees are around $5.75, and nighttime prices are $7-7.50, jumping to $8-$8.50 on weekends. Nighttime prices in the double digits are mostly confined to the coasts and maybe a couple big cities like Chicago.

Posted by: Bat of Moon | Nov 23, 2007 7:45:31 PM

In Iowa we count the proliferation of "cheap theaters" as something we can be thankful for this Thanksgiving season. Our local cheap theatres run movies just out of the "big stadium seating" multiplexes. It's a nice alternative for those movies you aren't quite excited enough to pay the 8 buck weekend price for and yet don't want to settle for waiting for DVD.

...and Nick, you must be a youngster. Regular student ticket prices when I were a young-un were in the nighborhood of 75 cents for matinees and a whole buck and a half for evenings. Ahhh the good old days.

Posted by: Christopher David Peter Wilcox | Nov 23, 2007 7:50:53 PM

You're bringing back memories.

Back when I was a broke college student, we had a 4th run theater that played movies for 77 cents in 1977. In 1978 they raised it by a penny. In '79, another penny. Those were the days...

Nowadays my 4th run theater is my living room TV set, which runs 4-for-$20 used Blockbuster DVDs.

Posted by: Bill Camarda | Nov 23, 2007 7:53:22 PM

"ahh the good old days"

fifty cents in the park movie theater in newark to see
"love is a many splendored thing" with william holden and jennifer jones, and always a cartoon, travelogue or newsreel too.
and from the obsolete candy museum, for a nickel or a dime, you could get pom-poms, goldenberg's chews, clark bars, maryjanes, coffee-ettes or malted milk tablets or jewel-like jujubes (but you could choke to death on them.)

Posted by: jacqueline | Nov 23, 2007 8:08:46 PM

Movie theaters are the living dead (or living on borrowed time). IMax has a visual advantage that will be hard to overcome, but the days of $8 movies must should be numbered. Comcast will get your money, by hook or crook.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Nov 23, 2007 8:48:46 PM

Movies are dying.... blah blah blah. Call me when you got more than "oooh, everything is digital now." I will defend til my dying breath the joy of a darkened hall, a big screen, and a piece of sheer popcorn entertainment. Even at $11 bucks a throw.

I'm not sure this was a great summer; I suspect it was merely okay (haven't looked closely at numbers), and the real hits - Superbad, Knocked Up - were really unexpected and left field, while the tent poles floundered. Which is one reason I think Movie producers may unhook themselves from TV producers to get a settlement of the writer's strike; they need product, and soon.

Posted by: weboy | Nov 23, 2007 9:34:10 PM

Any of the new theaters in Vegas get you for $10. The new ones are being built with the digital projectors though that open up all sorts of posibilities. Live concerts and sports are starting to get shown. I think renting a entire theater and showing a faviorte movie for a birthday would be cool. Not sure what the cost would be but if it wasn't to ridiculus I would open the wallet to play Halo in a theater. I hope some day you can big for theater time like an auction, if you and enough other people want to see some indie film or some classic and your willing to pay the theater can show what ever you want.

Personally I didn't care for this year, I don't think I saw more then a couple movies at the theater.

Posted by: Nate O | Nov 23, 2007 10:35:18 PM

Student prices? Where are these theaters? It's $10.75 in my New York suburb.

Posted by: max | Nov 24, 2007 1:29:21 AM

Back in 2004, Spiderman 2 officially killed the first-run movie experience for me. Like weddings and professional sports, the industry is in dire need of an overhaul.

Posted by: jinbaltimore | Nov 24, 2007 6:04:39 AM

I pay $5.50 or so to go to a matinée at my local movie theater in St. Paul. Also, I wonder about the theaters that show movies that are a few months old and charge a dollar or two for admission. If that is a significant chunk of the movie market, it would take the average down somewhat.

Posted by: Chris O. | Nov 24, 2007 9:48:02 AM

"Average ticket price" factors in all tickets sold - including matinees, student discounts, and special engagements.

Posted by: Mark S | Nov 24, 2007 2:44:33 PM

Obligatory Brit moan: here in London, seven pounds is a cheap ticket.

Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Nov 25, 2007 1:48:34 PM

I believe it's at least $9.75-10.25 to see a movie in a normal theater at the biggest multiplex around, with the price going to $12-12.75 if you want or must see the show in the Director's Hall. If you're not familiar with this concept, it's a gigantic rip off, because even though you get to pick your seats from whatever is still available, there's virtually no other benefit that I can remember. I am pretty sure it's not advertised in the paper what showing is in this hall, so if you show up, you have to pay that much, unless you want to wait or see another movie.

Posted by: Brian | Nov 25, 2007 4:11:46 PM

Over the long Thanksgiving weekend I saw two movies in theaters, something that's about three standard deviations above my normal rate.

One was at a second-run house, the other was an opening-weekend appearance. The first was $2/seat, the second $6 - I think it was a matinée, but couldn't tell for sure. Contrary to odanu's experience in Kansas City, the food prices were almost identical.

This was in the Atlanta metro area near Nicholas' old stomping grounds (Lawrenceville and Stone Mountain).

Posted by: jackd | Nov 26, 2007 5:22:31 PM

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