Friday, March 26, 2010

Movie Theater Chains Raise Prices This Weekend

Taking the kids to How to Train Your Dragon this weekend? Heading out with friends to see Hot Tub Time Machine? Well, you might be paying a little more than usual. The Wall Street Journal reports that movie theater chains such as Regal Entertainment Group, Cinemark Holdings Inc. and AMC Entertainment Inc. are jacking up ticket prices starting this weekend in response to last year’s 10 percent rise in domestic box-office sales.

According to a recent survey of 10 U.S. markets conducted by investment firm BTIG, ticket prices for 3D movies are rising 8 percent on average while adult tickets to conventional 2D films are rising 4 percent.

Much like the burgeoning 3D trend in cinema, the price increase is largely due to the commercial success of Avatar, which proved that audiences are willing to pay a premium price for a night at the movies.

“The exhibitors are trying to push the needle on ticket prices and see where it ends up,” said Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros. “So far, charging a $3 or $4 premium has had no effect on consumers whatsoever, so I’m in favor of this experiment to raise prices even more. There may be additional revenue to earn here.”

No effect? How about lighter wallets? Wow. He makes a great argument for a Netflix subscription. Screw this.

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