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Could movie ticket prices actually be going down?

U.S. Movie Theater Owners Might Cut Ticket Prices

Remember when movie ticket prices were less than $5 a pop? Yeah, me neither. A new report released this week says fewer Americans are going to the movies and ticket prices might be to blame.

The Motion Picture Association of America, or MPAA, said in a report domestic box office sales grew to $10.9 billion in 2013, up from $10.8 billion in 2012.

But according to The Wall Street Journal, that wasn't because of higher attendance. It was because of higher ticket prices.

And as ticket prices grew, the number of tickets sold decreased. Now, the National Association of Theatre Owners says they're going to experiment with discounted ticket prices to boost attendance.

The association's VP John Fithian told journalists at CinemaCon - an annual meeting of movie theater owners - a model is being drafted to implement discounted ticket prices one day a week. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Fithian said, "This is something that has worked for years in Latin America and Canada. Our capacity is so underused on some days, such a Tuesday, so why not bring more people into the cinema? We are looking aggressively at it."

A writer for Mashable notes the one-day discount is a "notable concession" considering theater owners have been steadfast on not providing discounts. He adds, "That's largely because studios are promised a hard cut of each ticket; any discount would slice directly into the theaters' take."

Fithian's proposal to slash ticket prices wasn't the only news, but I think we ought to break for intermission. "Let's all go to the lobby to get ourselves a treat!"

While overall ticket sales decreased, the Los Angeles Times reports tickets sold to children 11 years old and younger was at its highest point since 2009, thanks to movies like "Despicable Me 2" and "Frozen." Tickets sold to baby boomers between 50 and 59 years old was at an all-time high in 2013.

Another takeaway from CinemaCon was China's box office numbers. Businessweek reports China's revenue grew 27 percent last year reaching $3.6 billion. According to the MPAA, surpassing $3 billion is a first for any foreign market.

Fithian added that the slashed movie ticket prices would debut - with the cooperation of theater owners - in an undisclosed state sometime this year.

Join the discussion

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lilspicey March 27 2014 at 2:12 PM

I don't go to movies anymore. The seats are too uncomfortable for me as I am under 5 ft tall, so I can't reach the floor., but that is not the main reason I stopped going. I find that it isn't so much the ticket prices for me, but the concession stand prices. What is a theater movie without the popcorn and drink, but, when they cost so much more than the ticket to see the movie, it makes it a waste of my money to go.
It is the food prices they need to lower.
The one good thing that should have been done years ago is the stadium seating. If I do go, I can finally see the movie. Short people had no chance with the old style seating.

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1 reply
david.konen lilspicey March 27 2014 at 3:04 PM

I can agree with you here. ONLY one time I can remember sitting on the floor of a movie theater, I think because the movie had MORE than enough people who wanted to see it (I think this movie was "Superman").

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donald.lehman March 27 2014 at 1:34 PM

Lower the outrareous prices of popcorn as well as drinks
$6.00 for a small drink. Terrible

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MARTHA & PERRY March 27 2014 at 1:33 PM

wow, I remember when tickets were under a dollar for Saturday matinees. my parents would drop us off (alone) at the theatre give us a buck and we could go in for the afternoon and watch cartoons and a feature film and have money left for some candy. the good old days.

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jeniasilver March 27 2014 at 1:28 PM

if the price of a ticket to see a movie were more reasonable. I believe people would see more movies. Today if somone wants to make date out of going to the movies it can cost them a small fortune. Some movies have to be a cinematic experience, it is not the same on your living room couch. So many of us can remember who we were with, the excitement we felt, even where we sat in the theater when we experienced a particular film. If the price the continues to rise, those memories for today's generation will be few and far between.

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catbell7 March 27 2014 at 1:25 PM

I can wait until on NetFlix and I like having a beer with my real popcorn and real butter on it -- and I do not miss the dirty bathrooms, talking people -- I think movie theaters are going to be disappearing - I mean who the hell can afford a $15 or more 2 hour movie.

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miriamisrael1 March 27 2014 at 1:23 PM

if the ticket prices was the only problem they had it would not be so bad. While I agree that the ticket prices should be lowered ----let's talk about the candies they sell., a bag of m&ms cost too much ($) and they have the nerves to tell people not to bring their own. Whatever

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ajt1025 March 27 2014 at 1:22 PM

Have not been to a Movie in 25 years and don't have any plans on changeing that anytime soon. Sorry to say that I can remember when you went to a movie you got News Reel, Cartoons, a come back next week show and a movie all for 15 cents. Now a days you pay thru the nose to see crap. Wait for a month and you can find the movies of today on store shelves for $5.00. ONly the needy need to be the first to see the NEW MOVIE? Have to have or be the first to have something waste of time and money. Give me back the good old days when people respected themsleves, and their country.

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BOB March 27 2014 at 1:21 PM

Comfort of my own home . Reasonable cost for snacks , and the bathroom being clean . Can Pause movie if needed ..... Whats the benefit to a theater as compared to my home theater ? Rude people over priced items and spread desease in restrooms or from seats . No thanks !

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ashumate3 March 27 2014 at 1:20 PM

Actually that might be a smart move on their part. The more people in the seats the more money they make on concessions. Of course concessions are marked up about 500% anyway.

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Debbie March 27 2014 at 1:16 PM

It's not just the ticket prices, which are too high, but the snack prices are out of sight! How families can afford to go is beyond me. It's just my husband and I and we don't go to the movies like we use to because of their outrageous prices.

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