Summer Cinema Ticket Sales Fall to Lowest Since 1997

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Ticket sales at cinemas this summer fell to the lowest since 1997 as prices rose.

Box office ticket sales from the first weekend of May through the Labor Day holiday are expected to slip 2.6% to 552 million, Bloomberg News reported.

"The movies just didn't excite people the way they needed to," Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com Box-Office, told Bloomberg News. "When you raise prices and perceive that quality goes down, you have a major problem."

Still, the ticket sales weren't bad news for everyone. Summer box office revenue actually rose, thanks to the higher price. Revenue is expected to gain 2.4% to $4.35 billion in the U.S. and Canada.

The average ticket price will rise 5.1% to $7.88. That's the biggest gain since 2000.

The advent of 3-D movies has raised average ticket prices, with theaters charging an extra $3 or more to see a 3-D showing of a movie such as "Toy Story 3."

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