It seems like every single weekend another movie is breaking a box office record. It appears that part of the reason that happens is that the ticket prices are only getting more expensive. The National Association of Theater Owners has released data that the average movie ticket in the third quarter of 2016 was $8.51, which is a three percent increase over the same period last year. This puts the average price for a ticket for 2016 in total at $8.60 which is a significant jump over the $8.34 that prices were averaging a year ago. If this hold the ticket increase would be a record for a single year.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, 2015 ended with an average ticket price of $8.43, which was a record itself, so if the 2016 number holds, it will set a new record. Average ticket prices fluctuate throughout the year because when films are released that draw more viewers to premium showings, like IMAX or 3D, the average price goes up, while it will be lower if most people simply attend standard showings. This, combined with standard ticket price inflation, means that a trip to the movies is only getting more expensive. When you add in the fact that you're rarely only buying one ticket, the price of a couple of hours of entertainment is getting up there.
Of course, depending on where you live, these average numbers may seem ridiculous. I don't remember the last time a movie ticket, even a matinee, cost me less than $9. The bigger a city you live in, the more expensive the movies are and there's not a lot that can be done about it.
Since average ticket prices are impacted by the types of showings that people attend, the question about how prices will finish the year is really a question about what movies people are going to go see, and what types of showings they will attend. A large chunk of the fourth quarter of 2016 will be given over to potential award nominees, as usual. This will mean primarily dramatic films that won't have showings in 3D or other special formats. However, there will still be plenty of 3D and IMAX opportunities for people to check out. Marvel has been making a big deal about the importance of 3D with Doctor Strange and if it comes through as promised that movie could see a major ticket boost via 3D charges. In addition, we have Disney's next animated release, Moana and animation is often a place where viewers spring for 3D glasses. Of course, how much these films move the needle will also depend on how big they are overall, which is still anybody's guess.
What's a movie ticket cost where you live? Is eight and a half dollars about right, or can you only dream to see a movie that cheaply? Let us know in the comments.