Average Movie Theater Ticket Price Dropped This Year

It might not feel this way to your wallet, but the average movie ticket price dropped ever so slightly from the end of 2013 to the beginning of 2014.

This, according to statistics released by the National Association of Theater Owners, and picked up by THR. The trade reports that the average ticket price for a movie actually tumbled 4.7 percent in the first quarter of 2014 to $7.96. It was $8.35 in the fourth quarter of 2013, but the site attributes that to an increased number of 3D and IMAX titles attracting larger crowds and driving up the average cost of a movie theater ticket.

Case in point: The box-office leader for the last three weekends of 2013, according to BoxOfficeMojo, was Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. And you know the attraction to see Jackson’s latest jaunt through Middle-Earth was seeing those Hobbits --- and especially that dragon – fly off the screen in 3D.

Sherlock reunion!

Prior to The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug luring patrons to the theaters, audiences flocked to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – The IMAX Experience. That sequel banked an enormous $424 million domestically. And before The Hunger Games, there was Marvel’s sequel, Thor: The Dark World. Do you think these movies helped drive up the price of an average ticket?

That doesn’t mean that Hollywood is going to start cutting you deep discounts at the movie theater… particularly with the summer blockbuster season breathing down our necks. In fact, in the same study released by NATO, it was revealed that that average ticket price from year to year had gone up 0.3 perfect – or from $7.94 in first quarter of 2013 to $7.96 in the first quarter of 2014. The average ticket price for all of 2013 ended up being $8.13.

How do you choose to see your movies? From what we can tell, CinemaBlend readers pay very close attention to the quality of a movie’s 3D before shelling out the extra dollars. Our To 3D Or Not To 3D column can be very popular when a new movie is opening in theaters, as most of you don’t want to shell out the extra bucks if 3D was an afterthought by the filmmakers.

However, with recent movies like Gravity or Island of Lemurs: Madagascar, splurging on the IMAX ticket usually makes sense. That seems to be the case for upcoming movies like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Godzilla, when those movies roll into theaters.

While we enjoyed a slight dip at the theaters this past quarter, you know that so long as audiences keep turning out in record numbers, movie theater chains are only going to keep inching up those prices quarter after quarter, and year after year.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.